December 15, 2012

The Dog Paradise

We have now officially found the dog paradise! It's called Yelapa, and it is situated at the South end of Banderas Bay near Puerto Vallarta. Everyone living there has a dog, most likely more than one since I'm almost sure there was more dogs than people in the area. And every dog seems to also have an owner, at first I was pretty certain most of the dogs there would have been more or less stray. But to my surprise they were all in almost perfect condition, extremely friendly and loved. The second thing we found out as soon as we landed our dinghy on the beach, was that no dog was on a leash, in fact, it seemed to cause way less problems to just let ours run around than try to keep them on a leash while all these other dogs were going about their business.

And not just that, but the beach I'm talking about was not just a scroungy, rocky, desolate place but a white, sandy, beautiful beach full of restaurants and people, even some tourist tanning themselves on the beach chairs. In this place the dogs, the Mexicans, the tourist, all seemed to coexist in perfect harmony. There were no roads, in fact, everyone either walked, rode a horse, or if you were really well off, you might have a four-wheeler to get around. To leave the town you had to take a panga or some other type of boat. This not only made it safe for us and our dogs but also made it feel like we just went back in time. The pace of life was all of a sudden much slower and the things that seemed to matter didn't matter. What a wonderful feeling.

Our furry friends were not only allowed to run free on the beach but they were welcomed to hang out with us while we ate in a restaurant, of course surrounded by all the other dogs, including the cutest puppy I've seen literally in years. I cannot believe I did not get a good picture of him. I would have given quite a few items in exchange for this little fellow who followed Vanilla like a shark and Vanilla tried her best to ignore the little creature.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good our dogs behaved. I was expecting way more hazzle considering our dog's energy levels and the amount of things that were going on around them. A few incidences occurred when a couple males tried more or less kindly to persuade Vanilla in some mating games and Vanilla had trouble sending her message of "not interested". Or the time when Gin dug a hole the size of her or when Vanilla decided to dig a whole underneath the umbrella of the table that collapsed. Hole digging aside, they mostly hung out like all the other Mexican dogs going for a little swim now and then.  Vanilla even learned how to jump over the breaking waves and continue on to the deeper waters. Smart little fluffy I say.

Five days in Yelapa was way less than I would have spent there but I'm so happy I got to experience my dog paradise.

December 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Vanilla!

Vanilla turned 6 years at the end of November! I feel so lucky to have you in my life Vanilla! You make every day a better day just by being there! I love you.

Oakmeadow Hollyhock "Vanilla" in October 2012.

Customs and more

Mexico has been cooler, easier and way less scary than I thought. The dogs have loved it and the dog- regulations are almost non-existent. How wonderful and convenient! First, at customs, we only needed to check a box for our temporary import permit (TIP) that we were transporting live animals . . . And that was it! No one asked any details about the type of animals or their paperwork. And I had sweated to get it all together. Oh well, better safe than sorry. And in case anyone asks or the Mexican Navy boards our boat we'll have all the paperwork necessary.

In the end I suppose we got 8 different vaccines (including rabies), heart worm preventative, tick and flea control, got nice new tags on the collars and off we went. The veterinary health certificate should be good for another 5 months (6 months in total) and hopefully we won't need to visit vets or anything between changing countries. I need to double-check that information though. Also, before entering Costa Rica, we need to inform the port 48 hours in advance about having dogs. We'll see how that goes, but so far it seems that everyone is really relaxed about the dog issue. It's so much easier to travel by boat than flying. And so much less stress too.

When we first got to Ensenada, we couldn't check-in for 2 days since the customs office was closed and I wondered if we can get off the boat with dogs and all, but they said straight away that it's not a problem and so we went for a nice long bike-ride around town. After we left Ensenada we basically entered a wilderness area that rivals the Sierra's. It's vast, there is no one there, mountain range after another, beautiful bay after another and just pure silence and peace. I wrote more about our experience on my "human" blog so I'll keep it short here.

While going down the Baja we never used a lease and hardly a command to control the dogs since there was absolutely no one around and not really even wild animals to disturb. In Santa Maria Vanilla found some seabirds on the beach and we also found ourselves surrounded by three dogs instead of two. Some fisherman's dog (or possibly a stray dog) had found us playing at the beach. He was hardly more than 8-9 months old and extremely playful, which we discovered after my initial shock of Gin running towards a fairly large unknown dog in Mexico. I was worried about it being aggressive or maybe carrying some disease or fleas.. who knows. But since there was no way to prevent the interaction we just went with it and let Gin and Vanilla play with him. He had good coat and seemed to be in good health so my worries were soon gone. He stuck with us for almost our whole walk before disappearing into the mangroves. What an odd experience. I wish I had gotten a photo of it, but of course I didn't have the camera with me that time.

What blew me away about Mexico was when we arrived in Cabo San Lucas and anchored right next to the huge beach with all the resorts and dogs were allowed both on the beach and in all the restaurants which were all along the beach. And this was a huge tourist center! Really made me think about all the rules in the U.S. preventing me from taking my dogs on the trails of some state parks, beaches etc. Here everyone seems to just love dogs and welcome them with open arms! 

I'll put a couple photos here from Oceanside and Baja for you to check out. Also if you are interested in reading our other blogs or watching the short videos we've made about our trip you can find them here:

I'll also have this link on the sidebar of my doggie blog.