Vacation for Dogs: Whistler Edition
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Vacation for Dogs: Whistler Edition

This a first-dog account of a Whistler vacation for dogs.

Hey bestfriend! Yeah bestfriend! It’s time to get up!

He always does this. He smiles, pets my head, says something I don’t understand then rolls over to sleep a little longer. But not today, we’re on vacation. A vacation for dogs!

Today Is a Good Day

Bestfriend groans after I nudge him again and he finally rolls out of bed. I give him my “I’m hungry, feed me first” look and he responds in kind. Man these brown pellets taste so good. I don’t know why he doesn’t eat them too. I’m thirsty. I start drinking from my water bowl and bestfriend comes over and wipes up the mess I made with the splashing. He’s good like that.

Yeah, OUTSIDE! The room we slept in last night was pretty comfortable, but man I love being outside. Some other bestfriends at the entrance of our room tower almost didn’t let me go outside since they couldn’t stop petting me and scratching my butt and belly. I hope they’re still here later. Those scratches felt good.

Whistler vacation for dogs tip #1: Stay in pet-friendly accommodation. Whistler has plenty pet-friendly hotel options including Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel, Nita Lake Lodge, Fairmont Chateau and more. For a full list head to TripAdvisor’s Pet Friendly Hotels in Whistler.

It’s so Mountain Fresh

So many smells. The air seems fresher in this place than at home. Bestfriend even looks like he’s happier here among the mountains. We take a walk down the street to some grass and I have to poo. Bestfriend seems to have no problem picking it up in those bags and placing it in those bins. I guess he thinks its precious and should save it for later. I never really understood that, but I guess he doesn’t want my smelly poos laying around in this beautiful place.

Whistler vacation for dogs tip #2: Tidy up after your dog. Poo bags can be found in most parks and points along the Valley Trail. Please carry them with you at all times and dispose of poo responsibly in appropriate garbage receptacles.

Link, a white Samoyed, enjoys the green grass in Whistler.

Green, clean grass. Keep your dog poo karma in the positive by cleaning up after your dog. Image: Vince Shuley

Waiting Patiently: I’m a Good Boy

Bestfriend takes that slate thing out of his pocket and starts talking into it. I think he’s arranging a meeting with other bestfriends. We start walking back towards the other room towers and stop outside a place that smells really good. I want a second breakfast, but it’s bestfriend’s turn to eat. He ties my lead to a fence post and tells me to stay. He also tells me that I’m a good boy. I am a good boy. I lay down where I can see bestfriend tucking into his food, laughing occasionally with the other bestfriends. Other little and big bestfriends come up to me and pet me while I wait.

Whistler vacation for dogs tip #3: Secure your dog away from the food. Food service venues do not allow dogs on outdoor patios, but dogs can be hitched to posts and barriers at the edge of the patio. The best ones we’ve found are Stonesedge Kitchen and The Brewhouse.

Into the Woods!

We leave the good-smelling place and walk back to the room tower. Bestfriend picks up his mechanical wheeled machine. That means we’re going to the woods! I love the woods. He keeps me on leash while he rides on the hard surface as we pass many other bestfriends out walking on this beautiful day. We stop at the trail and he lets me off my leash. Now I can run super fast! He takes off up the trail on the mechanical wheeled machine and I chase after him. These trails are so much fun! They just keep going, so much longer than the trails at home. We run into other bestfriends and their dogs. Our tails wag and we sniff each others’ butts until we’re satisfied. I hear bestfriend call my name and I run off to chase him again.

Whistler vacation for dogs tip #4: Obey signs of where to keep your dog on-leash. Dogs should be on leash on the Valley Trail network and high traffic walking trails. Dogs are not allowed on some trails – please respect these areas and obey signs at trail heads. Tourism Whistler suggests hiking with canines on the Sea to Sky Trail, Brandywine Falls, Whistler Interpretive Forest, Ancient Cedars Walk and Nairn Falls. Please keep your dog under control at all times.

Splish-Splash: Fun in the Water

I’m hot now. And thirsty. I think bestfriend is looking kind of tired as well. He leads me over to the biggest water dish I’ve ever seen, big enough to swim in. And there’s like six other dogs here! I think this is a special place where dogs can hang out and play as much as they want. I spend the next little while splashing around in the water with my new dog friends to cool off while bestfriend chats with the other bestfriends. It’s time to leave. Bestfriend is calling me but I don’t want to leave. But I love him so I’d better follow.

Whistler vacation for dogs tip #5: Visit dog-specific locations. Dog-specific beaches can be found at Alpha Lake Park, Rainbow Park and Lost Lake, all where dogs can roam off leash. There are fully-enclosed dog parks at Alpha Lake Park and Bayly Park.

Link, a white dog, crosses a low river in Whistler.

Doggy paddle. There’s plenty of dog-friendly opportunities for your dog to get his paws wet in Whistler. Image: Vince Shuley

It’s Busy Around Here

Bestfriend drops of his mechanical wheeled machine back the room tower and we walk past all the other room towers and smell-good places to a big field of grass. There’s so many bestfriends here that I can’t possibly smell them all. Dogs too. They’re all facing the same direction waiting for something. Then I hear it. It’s kind of loud but I don’t mind it. The bestfriends seem to love it, their heads are bobbing up and down and sometimes they clap their hands and wave their arms in the air. I’m good. I’ll just chill here at bestfriend’s feet until it’s time to go.

Whistler vacation for dogs tip #6: Be mindful of others. Dogs are welcome to join their owners on leash at outdoor concerts and some Whistler festivals. Please be mindful of others humans and other dogs.

Good End to a Great Day

We walk to another nice smelling place and I sit outside garnering the affections of more bestfriends. I’m so tired I almost fall asleep, but there’s so much going on around here that I don’t want to miss out on any of it. Bestfriend is enjoying himself with other bestfriends, this time drinking gold-coloured water which I know he loves. After a while he hugs the others and then comes to get me for our walk back to the room tower.

I start to fall asleep on my bed in the unfamiliar room. I can’t wait for tomorrow. Best friend tells me I’m a good boy and gives me a cuddle. I am a good boy.

Whistler vacation for dogs tip #7: Keep your dog safe and identifiable. When visiting Whistler with your dog, please remember to:

  • Ensure your dog is wearing a identification (microchip, collar with tags) as well as a valid licence from your home community.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle in warm weather.
  • Never let your dog out at night as there are predators.
  • Make sure your pet is up to date on its vaccinations.

Vince Shuley

Vince Shuley is a freelance writer and photojournalist based in Whistler. An unabashed beer, ski and bike nerd, his adventures thankfully form the basis of much of his work.