Many of us would do anything to be with our favorite animal, the dog. We would stop passersby on the sidewalk, asking permission to pet their furry companions. Driving past a dog park, we would crane our necks just to catch a glimpse of happy little doggos chasing one another. Our love for dogs is a burning passion.
And yet, despite that passion, some of us don’t have the means or the opportunity to have our own furry little friend. We watch people enviously walk their dogs, wishing we were them. We longingly look at dogs available for adoption on adoption websites. We purchase dog art prints to decorate our homes, a sad attempt to fill the void.
But—oh joy—there’s good news. Airbnb, the San Francisco-based online marketplace and hospitality service, has since expanded its business model, now offering activities for its customers. Some of those activities involve—yes, you guessed it—dogs.
1. Wolf Encounter
Anacortes, United States, $200/person
Wolves may not be the most suitable pets, but they do provide insight into their domesticated counterparts, the household dog. For this event, nestled in the lush woodland of Anacortes, Washington, you’ll meet and learn about the descendants of man’s best friend, from myths to misconceptions to behaviors to habitats.
You will also spend most of your time trekking alongside the wolf pack through the lush green forest, transporting you back to prehistoric times when humans first befriended this wild and majestic creature. Afterward, you will meet the other rescued exotic animals, including marmosets, skunks, armadillos, and cougars.
Warm clothing and walking shoes are a must for this experience. However, leather and clothing with fur, feathers, and dangling jewelry is prohibited.
If, during the event, your stomach grumbles with hunger, you can count on your hosts to provide snacks and beverages.
2. Beach Day with Rescue Dogs
San Diego, United States, $45/person
In this San Diego-based event, you’ll meet with your host, Ryan, at the Shelter Island where you will greet, for the first time, his pack of friendly, tongue-lolling dogs of different sizes, breeds, and personalities. With Ryan and his pack, you’ll play, socialize, take Instagrammable pictures, and jog alongside the glimmering azure ocean.
This is a social impact event, where 100 percent of the profit goes to Free Animal Doctor, a non-profit organization that raises funds for the care of animals. Free Animal Doctor has been featured in CBSLA.com, and the beach day event has been positively reviewed by travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet.
It’s hard to say no to an experience of such great renown. The beach, a good cause, and dogs—who could conceive of a better way to spend your day?
3. Runyon Canyon Hike with Rescue Dogs
Los Angeles, United States, $45/person
Los Angelinos will be thrilled to hear that the aforementioned non-profit, Free Animal Doctor, also hosts events in the Los Angeles area. Rather than a stroll by the beach, however, this event takes place in famed Runyon Canyon, which winds around the Santa Monica Mountains, providing sweeping views of Studio City and Hollywood below.
During your hike, you’ll see the alabaster-white Hollywood sign, perched on top of Mount Lee in Hollywood Hills, and Griffith Observatory. You’ll hear tales about the organization and the dogs for whom it cares for.
Sunscreen, water, hats, sunglasses, and comfortable clothing is a must for this event. However, should you forget your Evian on your countertop, you can rely on your host to provide water.
4. Training Sessions with Stray Dogs
Mexico City, Mexico, $66/person
Stray dogs that have lived most of their lives alone need care, shelter, and affection. In this event, you will aid in the socialization and training of dogs rescued from the streets.
You will begin the day at Sanborn’s for brunch, with fellow dog lovers and your host, Deborah. Over delicious Mexican food, you will be briefed about the day’s activities and your role in training and rehabilitating your dogs.
After brunch, you will embark on a 15-minute drive to the site where you will have a training session with your dog, under the watchful gaze of an animal behaviorist. During this session, you will walk your dog, teach your dog basic commands, such as sitting and hand shaking, and participate in apapacho , or “caress the soul in” Nahuatl, an activity that involves giving your dog the affection it needs.
The dogs you work with were carefully selected by the organization’s animal behaviorists who determined the dogs’ temperament to be suitable for these activities.
5. Walk Rescue Dogs on the National Mall
Washington, United States, $30/person
Travelers visiting DC likely Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Hill, and the White House in mind. However, if you’re a lover of both historical monuments and dogs, well, there’s an event crafted for people just like you.
In this event hosted by Lucky Dog, a non-profit organization that rescues stray, homeless, and abandoned puppers, you will see some of the grand attractions DC has to offer with a pack of jovial rescue dogs and one of the organization’s trusty volunteers. Because this event requires a lot of walking, it is recommended that you wear comfortable clothing and sensible shoes.
All of the proceeds go to Lucky Dog’s efforts in finding and rescuing homeless dogs.
6. Sledding with Dogs
Tylldalen, Norway, $1,295/person
If you love the feeling of your heart pounding in your ears, the brisk winter wind stinging your cheeks, tousling your hair, then you’ll love sledding with dogs. Located in the snowy village of Tylldalen, Norway, this 3-day event is for thrill seekers only. Your itinerary includes meeting a pack of 40 sled dogs, driving your sled, enjoying a sled dog tour, and relaxing outdoors or in a sauna, and visiting great mountain lakes.
The Switzerland-born host, Olivia, will provide 2-night accommodations, food, equipment, and transportation.
Dogs and humans have shared a unique bond for years. No other animal has such a special place in our hearts. Many of us our lucky to have our own dogs, a lifetime companion, a friend, a furry member of the family. However, some of us have yet to experience the joys of being a dog parent, resorting only to vicarious experiences through passersby, friends and family. But, those seeking a
life-changing experience can simply look online to find events that can bring them closer to their favorite animal, the dog.