Much as we’d love to, unless it’s a quick road trip, it’s difficult to take your four-legged friend on vacation with you. But there are lots of places you can go and make new furry friends, help them find forever homes and maybe even bring them home with you. Here are a few of our favorite programs.
The Kauai Humane Society allows visitors to “check out” dogs for day trips to dog-friendly beaches and hiking trails. You get a companion for the day, the dog gets a nice time out of the shelter and wears a vest labeled “adopt me” so local passers-by know he or she is in need of a permanent home. Even if they don’t get adopted that day, the dogs still get a chance to socialize, making them more prepared for a family. If you really make a strong connection, you can your new friend home. The society helps with the process and adopts an average of four dogs a month to visitors.
Turks and Caicos
Located in the popular Grace Bay area of Providenciales, Potcake Place strives to reduce the number of homeless dogs on the island. As there is no animal shelter in Turks and Caicos, volunteers keep the dogs in their own homes, but allow visitors to take pups on beach trips. If there’s a good match, Potcake Place helps with the process of adoption and transporting the dogs to their new homes. The volunteers work with veterinarians to make sure the dogs have their vaccinations, and if necessary even accompany them on the trip to meet their families.
Territorio de Zaguates, “Land of the Strays,” is a shelter in the mountains near Heredia, about an hour outside San Jose. The shelter organizes walks of about 2 miles with its canine residents where visitors can get to know the dogs and help them get used to people and possibly even meet their new owners. The walks typically take place two weekends a month, though they are temporarily suspended and no schedule has been released for 2018, so make sure to check with Territorio de Zaguates before showing up.
This Virtuoso-preferred resort in Walland, Tenn., is home to several types of farm animals and breeds Lagotto Romagnolo dogs who specialize in truffle hunting. One weekend every February (this year it’s Feb. 2-4), guests are invited to bring their own Lagottos or enjoy time with the farm’s as they do what they love best, hunt for truffles. The celebration culminates in a feast showcasing the flavorful fungi in a variety of tasty dishes.
Inn by the Sea
A Virtuoso-preferred resort in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Inn by the Sea has invited guests to bring their pets for a long time. Now, it’s connecting dogs and families who didn’t arrive together but end up going home together. The inn fosters dogs from the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland and has helped dozens of dogs find their forever families. When you check in, you’ll be greeted by a pup manning the front desk, and if the fit is right, you might just end up with a great souvenir.