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Shiba meets Canada: the epic vacation

Seiki likes car trips because they most often mean driving to an off-leash park. This trip had very little off-leash time.
Seiki likes car trips because they most often mean driving to an off-leash park. This trip had very little off-leash time.
Susan NC Price

In the 2.5 years the Price family has included Seiki, our 4+ year old shiba inu, in its Warrenville household, she has not gone on any extensive vacation trips. A couple of days in Minneapolis with our son, yes. An overnight at a friend’s in Galena, yes. Two-week car-trip family vacations, no.

Seiki, ready for adventure as we embark on the road trip.
Susan NC Price

The beagle puppy still hasn’t done extended roadtripping. Five adult people in a minivan could deal with one dog who’s good about settling down. We didn’t need a hyperactive puppy stirring things up. And we didn’t need to kennel her because we had a house sitter lined up who could feed and exercise Perdita along with feeding and watering (and cleaning up after) the ferrets.

But to keep her canine glaucoma under control, Seiki now needs 3 different drops in each eye 3 times a day and it seemed a lot to ask of our sitter. I wanted Seiki with me for that. Plus, after enduring the latest batch of foster dogs, Seiki needed a bit of a vacation, too. A short return to being an only dog.

Our drive out to Newfoundland from Illinois had rest days built in: one with my family in New York and one in Nova Scotia, although our drive home has had less extra time to work with. And even our drive days have had a few treats built in: a detour to Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia, and a stop at Newfoundland’s Cheeseman Provincial Park right outside Port aux Basques before boarding the ferry back to Nova Scotia. Walks in lovely places that let the people refresh their minds and hearts as well as stretch their legs along with the dog.

We haven’t taken a dog on an extended not-staying-only-with-family road trip for about a decade. In that time, lots more hotel chains have decided that pet-friendly is an important part of who they are. Hands-down the friendliest place we found was the Comfort Inn in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. This place not only welcomes pets into first-floor rooms with separate doors to the outside at no additional charge, but actually gives you a pet-welcome package when you check in: a sheet you can put down over the upholstered chair for a dog bed, a couple of poo bags, and (the important extra for me) a door hanger that alerts staff not to open the door because your pet is loose in the room.

But we still ended up putting Seiki in a St. John’s, Newfoundland, kennel for about 3 days around the day of the family wedding. Why? The main reason was that we were booked into a hotel in St/ John’s that was NOT pet-friendly but WAS very convenient for the extended family visiting. As it turned out, we were also so busy with the visiting that having the dog cared for elsewhere made sense because it guaranteed that she got her meds on the correct schedule.

This was, to my knowledge, the first time Seiki had been kenneled. I don’t know what she thought about the week away from home before her arrival at the kennel, except that she always enjoys time with her people, but she did not show any enthusiasm about the kennel. She saved her enthusiasm for Sunday morning, when we picked her up again.

Whatever her feelings on the subject, she appeared to have been well cared for, which had been our main concern with our family activities competing for time with her care. If that meant she cherished her togetherness with us even more on the way back home, we could hardly complain. After all, we’d missed our little shiba inu, too.