CapeMay.com Blog

Following Your Dog

I chose this title because it says more than we may realize, and it really goes along with this month’s Good Read. This month’s Good Read:

Following Atticus by Tom Ryan. A true story, this book is not only a great story about a man, his dog, and their travels, but also a great learning adventure in opening our eyes to what our dogs can teach us – lessons subtle and lessons not so subtle.

When traveling with your dog(s), coming to Cape May, or anywhere; you know that you need to prepare. Check with your vet, letting your vet know where you will be traveling, to insure that you have your dog(s) medically prepared, such as any inoculations, flea/tick medication, necessary first aid supplies, and more. Your dog(s) will be happier and healthier traveling if you take appropriate safeguards in advance of your trip.

When in Cape May there’s a great chance you’ll be taking your dog(s) to the beach. Several are “dog friendly” as long as you keep your dog leashed and pick up after your dog(s). But when at the dog friendly beaches, follow the lead of your dog(s). Some dogs love the water; others don’t mind, but would rather stay in the shallows than swim. Let your dog(s) explore and make the choice! Cheyenne, one of my previous dogs, was a true swimmer (as long as the waves did not get her face wet!). She would jump right in and would have loved to swim to Delaware if she was not on a long lead so I could reel her in. Gretchen, on the other hand, chose not to swim, but loved jumping and biting the waves. Because she swallowed some sea water in the biting, we had to be sure to walk her a little on the way home so she could “rid herself of the sea water.” Guinness and Jameson, the two dogs I have now, are both swimmers, but are both “in and out, in and out” swimmers – their choice.

Cape May dog park

Photo courtesy Debbie J Hudson

Also in Cape May, there are areas for hiking with your dog(s). Again, let your dog(s) lead – not in direction since you don’t want to get lost, but in deciding to go, and in duration. Be aware of the heat and be sure to have plenty of fresh water for you and your dog(s). If you start out on a hike, and your dog(s) show(s) reluctance to go further, return and save more hiking for some other day because there is a reason for that reluctance. Remember, your dog(s) has/have a stronger, more sensitive sense of smell than you and may be aware of some danger ahead that you cannot see. Also, your dog(s) will be more aware of their ability to go on. Listen to the information your dog(s) is/are trying to share with you and you will all have a more enjoyable, rewarding adventure. And, you’ll want to come back for more.

Especially remember “DO NOT LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR” in any heat. Even in the shade with the windows open, the car can reach fatal temperatures quickly. When your dog(s) tell(s) you “that’s enough” or “this isn’t really my thing”, listen and go home to enjoy nap or some relax time or a “yappy hour” before dinner.

When beaching, hiking, or just walking around Cape May with your dog(s), listen and everyone will have a happier, healthier, fun, adventure! Enjoy!