Holidaying with your dog

Want to go and freak out for holidays, but wish to take your dog along. Don’t worry! In this section, we will bring the holiday destinations where you can take your dog along. This time we are featuring Mercury Adventure and nature camp, Shivpuri (Rishikesh). It was in November 2000, that we had Angel (our Neapolitan Mastiff) coming to our home and it was a wonderful time that we had with her growing up in our apartment. But there was always one feeling that both me and my wife dwelled upon – Is she enjoying herself in the apartment, though she went down for her long walks to smell the grass, chase butterflies and play in the garden in the complex?

It was then, we planned that we would go on a holiday and would take Angel along with us, but the most pertinent question was – Where? Where is a place allowing us to bring the dog and let her be free? It was then that I spoke to this friend (Akshay Kumar) who owned a rafting camp in Shivpuri called the “Beach Camp” which we used to frequently visit. Akshay was more than happy to welcome Angel. We commenced on our journey in early September from Delhi. Our plan was to reach Dehradun and stay the night at our Grandma’s place for the night and then reach Shivpuri by the next afternoon. Angel used to love car rides but this being her first long drive, she enjoyed herself thoroughly. She was well rewarded throughout the drive and after we reached Dehradun, she was rewarded with beer for the first time and she wanted the whole bottle for herself. As happens to all of us post beer, she slept peacefully through the night and was up in time for the adventure ahead next morning.

We reached Shivpuri in the afternoon. The Beach camp is the only one to be on the other side of Ganges and one needs to cross the Ganges on the raft to reach the place. This is a beautiful place with tents and the pure perfect white sand beach running from end to end set at the foothills of the forest reserve. The water was cold but the weather was pretty warm with sun blazing in full glory. Angel quickly jumped on the raft alongwith our luggage and us. At first she was a little scared with the raft going through a rapid but then she was enjoying the cold splashes of water while crossing over. We reached the other side, settled in one of the tents right on the beach and I took Angel to play with me. We had taken her tennis ball and one football to play on the beach and while playing I tossed the tennis ball in the water but close enough for Angel to retrieve. Since Angel was used to only hard ground and no water body, she did not realize while running for it that the ball is in water and she charged right into the water. But as she ran into the water, she realized the difference and immediately retreated only to smell and find out that this was a different environment and she should get used to it before she jumps in it again.

Mischievous as she is, she got her confidence back and she went in it again and started swimming to retrieve the ball and enjoyed it thoroughly. It was then she discovered the water body and her skills to swim and enjoy. Once she had discovered these skills, it became the most tiring time for me and my wife as she would want to go back for more and more and believe me, it was a sight. She would not let any of us sit back and bask in the sun for the next two days, but only play in the water and sand.

But it was most satisfying experience for both of us to see that she was careful not to go far into the current but yet be dangerously close as to challenge us and her skills to swim back to the shore and then tease us. She had become the true master of her skills and she was only enjoying it, looking at me panting and not able to match her stamina of play. She loved the Beach Camp, chased all the butterflies, balls, water and the trampoline. She really did get on the trampoline with us and jumped her heart out. She was not scared but only getting more confident with each jump. She was completely bindaas during our stay and was treated well by each member of the camp. The camp members and raft guides were initially scared but during the course of our stay, they became real good friends with Angel and to date they enjoy and have real good fun whenever we go back with her to the camp.

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Today, we have two pets – Angel and her son Chubby, they only create more r
uckus and really tire both of us out whenever they are on the camp and its all thanks to Akshay and his team and that beautiful place that we get to holiday in with our dogs close to nature. We can be completely carefree during our holiday at the Beach Camp as there are no boundaries and rules, but to freak out and have good clean fun. It’s a clean place that has been kept that way by strict adherence to Akshay’s rules of cleanliness. We have been there many times and still haven’t had enough. Don’t miss the opportunity, pack your bags and go for a wonderful holiday with your near and dear ones.

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