My goldie Sam must have been born with the T gene…Travel gene. How else can we explain his love for road trips and his fascination for new places and people?? In fact, in the last 2 years, we would have taken Sam to at least 10 vacations, just to satiate his travel hunger.
Our last trip to Mysuru, Coorg, and Wayanad, was by far Sam’s most exciting!! Sam became hyper the minute he saw us packing. Initially, he may have thought that it was just me and my wife Gowthami who were heading out. But then he noticed that all his favorite travel buddies were also been packed. I am talking about Sam’s cannot-do-without travel accessories – his collapsible water bowl, his food bowl, his harness, the pet-friendly car seat, and all his favorite munchies. Once he realized that he was joining us, his excitement grew manifold! The minute we fixed the pet car seat in our i10, he happily hopped onto it and made himself comfortable.
Our first destination was Mysuru. Since it was an 8 hour drive to Mysuru, we made a few pit stops in-between to help Sam relieve and stretch himself. Whenever we go on long road trips with Sam we make sure we carry enough dry dog food with us. These are practical, non perishable, and something that Sam enjoys a lot on the go. When we reached Mysuru, we checked into this charming, pet-friendly homestay called Aashraya Homestay in Vijayanagar, Mysuru. Affable hosts and comfortable rooms made our night stay here very pleasurable. We even left Sam in the room for a few hours, so we could quickly tour Mysuru city and come back. We had no choice but to leave Sam behind, as the tourist spots in the city are not pet-friendly. But, since the room was spacious and cozy, and because we had left enough water and food for Sam to have, he spent the evening alone at the homestay without any incident. The next day we made sure we took Sam out on a leisurely walk around the homestay, so he could take in the new sights and sounds, and enjoy the Mysuru weather. Then, we headed straight to Coorg.
We had made bookings at the pet-friendly Vanandhaara homestay in Coorg. Even getting to the resort was an adventure. This is because, Vanandhaara is situated close to the Nagarahole tiger reserve. But since the reserve was off-limits for pets, we were allowed entry through another gate. We were both nervous and excited driving through the jungle. But the fresh, cool breeze, and the tingling sound of the waterfalls close by soothed our nerves and washed away our fears. When we reached the homestay, we were thrilled! Nestled in the lap of nature, Vanandhaara gave us breath-taking views of the majestic Brahmagiri hills. Guess who was more thrilled than us? Sam of course! The room was all that Sam dreamed of! Spacious, airy, with a balcony where he could prance around or relax with his darling parents! Once we made sure that Sam was happy and relaxed, we once again set out to explore the tourist spots around the resort. Sam had the room all to himself until our return. But since he had fallen in love with the room already, he wasn’t complaining at all! When we returned, we were drained and hit the bed straight. The long drive and the flurry of activity surrounding it had also done Sam in; so, he slept like a baby too! After a good night’s sleep, this trio woke up to catch the mesmerizing glimpse of the sun rising up the hills, illuminating all around it. It was now time for Sam’s walk. Vanandhaara’s outdoors are perfect for going on long walks with pets. But, remember to keep your pet on leash throughout. This is because, Vanandhaara is located in the midst of a forest filled with many wild animals. Also, Vanandhaara is home to hunter dogs that go rabbit hunting each morning. To make sure your pets do not attract trouble, it is wise to keep them on leash. But, leash or no leash, Sam enjoyed the walk thoroughly! The greenery all around, the fresh air, and the pleasant morning weather was very different for Sam, who was only used to Chennai’s hustle, bustle, and heat. Pet parents should also note that when travelling to places with thick vegetation (eg., forests), it will be good practice to carry creams and medication that can ward off ticks. A first aid kit for your pet may also come in handy.
The long walk was both refreshing and exhausting for Sam, as he returned feeling energized, but hungry! Once he feasted on the food we had packed for him from home, he was ready to be on the move again! We left Vanandhaara quiet reluctantly, but with loads of lovely memories to share.
On our drive back, we also touched Wayanad, which was close to Vanandhaara. After spending some time basking in the beauty and serenity of that nature’s bounty, we continued to drive to Bengaluru.
We had decided to stop in Bengaluru just for Sam. This is because, we heard that for a few hours every Sunday evening, Cubban park here is closed to all visitors, except pets. A dog play date is arranged for pets here, and we wanted Sam to experience that. I am not sure if such ‘pet dates’ are allowed in Cubban park any more. So, it would be a good idea to check before taking your pets there. But during our trip, this event was very much on. As we approached Cubban park, we were welcomed by the barks of thousands of dogs. Since this was a safe zone for pets, we confidently left Sam off-leash! He felt so much at home with kids of his own kind. As pet parents, our hearts brimmed with joy watching Sam play with other pets, as if he has known them forever! By the time Sam was done playing, he was so exhausted that we had to bring him to the parking lot in an auto. And incidentally, that was Sam’s first ever auto ride; another new experience that he will cherish forever! After a good dinner and a stiff night’s sleep at the pet-friendly Ibis hotel in Bengaluru, we headed back to Chennai.
Sam was happy to be back home, no doubt! But then, when he looked up at me questioningly, from the comfort of his couch at home, I instantly understood what he was asking me – ‘Pa, where are we going next?’
For more info on Vanandhaara, visit: https://vanandhaara.com
Written by Raghuraman