Posts Tagged ‘Dog Camp’

Fantasies of Summer Vacation (With Dogs, Of Course!)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Here in New York, we’re looking at the coldest day we’ve seen in in several years — it’s so cold, in fact, the dogs haven’t even asked for walk (which is unheard of around here). We’re comforting ourselves with hot chocolate (me), bully sticks (the dogs), a cozy heating blanket (all of us — and who knew a single heating blanket could fit one human, two dogs, two cats and a giant stuffed hedgehog?) and fantasies of summer vacation.

Of course it will be a dog vacation, because what fun is going on vacation without the dogs? Well, okay, on days like today, I wouldn’t mind a week on some tropical island, relaxing on a lounge chair with oversized sunglasses and a drink with an umbrella in it. But since I haven’t won Lotto yet, I can’t buy my own island with a private dog-friendly beach…nor do I have a private dog-friendly plane to fly there. And anyway, the dogs would just hog the lounge chair.

dog camp, enjoying the pool!

You're not the only one who fantasizes about enjoying vacation poolside in a comfy lounge chair!

Thankfully, I have Canine Camp Getaway, which satisfies my dogs’ need for fun in the sun (and in the shade, and in the pool, bar and pretty much everywhere else), as well as my own need to kick back a bit and relax, without having to worry about work deadlines, what to make for dinner or whether my dogs are safe and happy. Dog camp may not be everyone’s dream vacation, but spending a week with dogs and dog lovers actually suits me quite well — and let’s face it, is there anything better at the end of the day than Yappy Hour with friends (both two-legged and four-legged)?

With Canine Camp Getaway’s June vacation nearly sold out, and September filling up fast, you’d think other hotels would be taking the hint: dog-friendly properties = more customers. Yet not everyone seems to be getting the message.

In a random sampling of “dog friendly” hotels, I found that more than half charge a (sometimes hefty) dog deposit or “cleaning fee” (It costs you a hundred bucks to clean the room after Buffy the miniature poodle stays over for two nights? Really?). Many still regulate the size, weight or breed of dogs they will accept (and my 97-pound dog points out that it’s not only not “friendly” but downright rude to have strangers questioning her about her weight!).

Atlantic City has finally gotten some dog-friendly hotels (presumably someone finally saw that “Dogs Playing Poker” painting and realized there was an opportunity there), though there’s still not a lot to do with your dog once you get there.

Disney, I’m told, has added a doggie daycare center for those who want to bring their pup along for vacation…a step in the right direction, to be sure…but the hotels on site are still not dog-friendly.

California does a better job with dog-friendly hotels, beaches and restaurants…but if you live on the East Coast, you’ve either got a really long drive to contend with, or you have to worry about bringing your dog on a less-than-dog-friendly airplane.

So, what do you do if you’re a dog owner who hates to leave your dog behind, or a dog who’s too big to sneak into Mom or Dad’s suitcase? First off, do your research: when planning your vacation, call several area hotels and ask about pet policies, any hidden charges, available dog amenities and local activities for dog owners. Some hotels will not allow dogs to be left alone in the room — even in a crate — so be sure you know the hotel’s policy on this, and if your dog must be with you at all times, be prepared with a list of dog-friendly restaurant options, or a local doggie daycare center. Don’t count on leaving your dog in the car — even if the temperatures are moderate, an unexpectedly hot day can put your dog’s life in danger.

If sharing time with your pet is an important part of your vacation plans, contact pet stores in your destination cities and ask about dog-friendly events, restaurants of hot spots — sometimes there are “unofficial” hangout spots where dogs and dog lovers gather that only the locals know about. Local dog meetup grounds can also be a great resource for this — contact the group organizer if you’re looking for suggestions for the best hiking spots, dog-friendly parks or other fun events.

Even if you’re spending much of your vacation sight seeing, be sure your dog gets enough exercise and entertainment to minimize stress — a long hike and some playtime each day will leave your dog feeling relaxed and happy. And you’ll not only feel better about heading out with friends if your dog is happily tired out first, but you’ll be glad you got some extra exercise when you’re eating out and enjoying that extra glass of wine, or that rich slice of double chocolate cake.

Of course, if your dream vacation involves seeing your dog have a great time, check out Canine Camp Getaway of NY — designed by dogs, for dogs…and their people, of course!

It may be too cold to do much more than “armchair traveling” right now, but it’s a great time to curl up somewhere warm, relax and dream about your (and your dog’s) next vacation. Happy travels!

Janice Costa is owner and founder of Canine Camp Getaway of NY, the Lake George, NY-based vacation for dogs and dog lovers. When she’s not working, playing or traveling with dogs, she works in the home design field as an author and magazine editor.

What Your Dog REALLY Wants for the Holidays

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

The holidays are a wonderful time for letting your loved ones know how special they are to you — through loving words and warm wishes, music, cards, shared meals and rituals, holiday parties and sometime gift giving.

And if you’re like most of us, your four-legged best friend is on (perhaps even at the top of) your holiday shopping list. But what do you get for that special canine in your life?

In honor of the holidays, Canine Camp Getaway’s ambassadogs share their suggestions below:


Every Christmas, my Mom and I settle under the tree together where she has all these wonderful wrapped packages for me and my sister. We sit together and she tells me how much she loves me and rubs my ears while I sniff them all and tear off the wrapping paper. Mom has exceptional taste (she picked me out, didn’t she?), and there are always so many wonderful presents…Cuz toys just begging to have the feet chewed off, Kongs, braided bully sticks, super soft blankets and once even a stuffed octopus with 12, count ’em 12 squeakers! Good stuff!

But here’s a secret even my Mom doesn’t know: If there were no gifts at all, I would still be perfectly happy just to sit under the tree with her while she talks to me and rubs my ears. Because the best part isn’t the stuff, it’s the two of us, being together…11 years of being best friends. Kisses and long walks and BBQs and cuddles in bed, dog friends and games of ball and agility classes and the time I got hurt and Mom slept on an air mattress on the floor for three weeks so we could be together without me jumping.

So I think — and I’ve talked this over with other dogs and we all agree — if you’re looking for the perfect present for your canine buddy, forget the stores. What your dog really wants, and what your dog will cherish most, is time with YOU.

Now as Senior Ambassadog, I can tell you that Canine Camp Getaway is a GREAT way to give your dog (and you!) some special bonding time. Because honestly, humans are always distracted….we go for a walk together, and you don’t even notice the amazing smells, you’re so intent on getting there, you miss the best parts…and we know you have to work to pay for the kibble, but it would be better if you were throwing a ball for us or rubbing our bellies wholeheartedly instead of doing it with one eye on the computer.

But at Canine Camp Getaway, all of that fades away, and we can both be together, living in the moment, where the moment is all about US. Swimming, doing agility together, hiking those amazing trails, learning flyball, playing games and just hanging out together all day. What could be better than that?

So I think the perfect holiday gift for your dog would be for both of you to sign up for Canine Camp Getaway in 2013.

But what if you can’t make it to camp, what do you get your dogs then? The answer is still — time together. Trust me, I’m not the older, wiser ambassadog by accident; I’ve seen many holidays, and met thousands of dogs, and I can tell you that time is the most precious thing you can give us.

So for the holidays, make a commitment to take us for regular walks…and not just those five-minute walks where you rush us to potty and don’t let us sniff anything. Take us for a walk and walk WITH us, enjoy the walk through our eyes and noses. Let us run part of the way, stop and sniff part of the way, meet the other (friendly) dogs along the route.

Make a commitment to take us to the park to play ball, or Frisbee. Sign us up for an agility class. Play in the snow with us, or when it gets warm, take us to a doggie beach, and come in the water with us!

Get up five minutes early to give us a nice long belly rub one day. Cook us a terrific, healthy meal. Take a class in canine massage so you’ll be able to help us feel better when we get older.

For the holidays this year, give us the best gift ever…YOU. It’s what we’ll remember most when we’re old and gray, and we will always cherish that time together.

(Though if you find that octopus with the 12 squeakers, feel free to pick that up, too!)


I LOVE holidays! And holidays are a great time to get your dog TOYS! I l LOVE toys! Especially toys that are BALLS! Squeaky balls, and tennis balls, and those big, soft rubber balls with the cut outs that you can sink your teeth into…and speaking of things you can sink your teeth into, those soft boots with rubber soles, those are pretty fun too. Also stuffies with squeakers, and if you have two dogs, you should buy extra stuffies for your other dog, because it’s more fun to unstuff their toys first, it makes yours last longer.

And I always tell my Mom a big swimming pool would be great, but she says no swimming in winter. But in summer, you can swim because there’s camp and I especially love swimming at camp because I can play BALL in the WATER with all my FRIENDS!! You can too! So camp is a great gift, especially the swimming part, and the lure coursing part (because you can chase stuff without getting in trouble and no one yells, “Leave the cat, LEAVE the CAT, LEAVETHECATALONE!!!”). And the hikes are pretty awesome, and sometimes there are tennis balls around for flyball and there are so many dogs to play with and…well, all the parts are pretty great, actually. And there are TWO camps this year, one in June and one in September, so you could even go TWICE!

So, as junior ambassadog, I would strongly advise you to bring your dog to Canine Camp Getaway’s June or September session because it’s a great holiday gift. And if you celebrate Christmas, you can put boots under the tree, too, Croc boots are my favorite, but anything soft and squishy is good. And if you celebrate Chanukah, you can buy eight different kinds of balls and give your dog one every day, I like the Cuz ones, and also things with squeakers, though tennis balls are also great. Or just give us the wrapping paper, that’s fun, too!

Even if you don’t get us gifts, that’s okay, because we have YOU, and you’re the BEST GIFT EVER!

Happy holidays to you and your pups, and we hope to see you next year!

P.S. If you’re coming to camp, reserve your spot soon so you’re not shut out — and don’t forget to sign up before our Early Bird Deadline so you can save more money for dog treats! Contact us if you need more info or an application!


Jessie & Lexie Costa

Camp Ambassadogs

Canine Camp Getaway of NY