Traveling to Naples Florida USA with a Small Dog
Traveling to Naples Florida USA with a small dog is going to one of those places that, as a Canadian Dog – I associate with the term Snow Bird. So, at the tender age of 7 months, it seemed that perhaps this was a slightly premature destination choice for my bipeds and me. But, when Mom’s cousin offered us her place near the Venetian Village for two weeks for free… adding the words “It’s really dog friendly” to her invitation – it was simply too good an offer for us to refuse!
I am so glad we went. Naples is a truly clean, civilized and lovely town, the older part is full of historic charm, and the entire place is really easy to navigate and by North American Standards it really is a “bring Fido” kind of town. They even have outdoor Dog Bars!
Recently, Naples, Florida passed a bylaw allowing restaurants, pubs and other food vendors with patios to decide for themselves if they want their establishment to be dog friendly or not. With only a few exceptions, we found that all the patios’ welcomed me (at the time only 2.38 pounds) with open arms, smiles and a nice cool bowl of water. It was truly a treat to be able to, like in Europe, go out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and drinks in the evenings with yours truly – the four legged tourist.
One restaurant in particular really had the bipeds raving. The Lurcat (Reservations recommended 239/213-3357) does allow dogs on the patio as long as they are really small. Not because they are not “big dog” lovers – but because the space is rather tight and the dog must fit on the lap or under the seat comfortably. The food was excellent – I really enjoyed the Mahi Tuna myself and the lamb was good too. The staff charming, remembering to bring me fresh water and the bipeds really loved the house special dessert. Tiny, made to order donuts. I can’t speak to those … I wasn’t allowed any *pout* something about a “sugar high” not being a good idea.
The stores are equally kind; asking mostly that you either hold your small dog in your arms, in a dog bag, or at the least hold them on a leash. From the doggy boutique on 5th, to the outlet mall, to the art galleries on 3rd; everywhere we went people smiled warmly and in welcome. Everyone from the expected Snow Birds, to the locals and their families made all of us feel truly at home.
The one thing that “didn’t fit” with the dog friendly attitude was the “no dogs on the beach” law. That included all public and private beaches and the spectacular historic pier – Naples heart and soul. I was sneaked onto the pier once and the beach later in the evenings for a sunset or two with the bipeds and some truly high quality sand digging – but this was a huge risk for Mom and Dad since the fine can be relatively hefty. After all breaking the law has consequences.
What is on offer is a dog beach near Bonita Springs; a small strip of white sand surrounded by thick mangroves at the foot of a bridge. Here a lot of really big dogs run, play and cavort. I was seriously alarmed at the rush and amount of slobber present; soon, I was swimming in the ocean, and watching the dolphins in the distance with the bipeds until the sun was almost gone. We drove home in the dark and I slept on mom’s lap, happy and full of sand. Bonita Springs is about a 30 min drive from Old Naples and well worth it if you wish to spend a day on the beach with your dog. It’s free, and it’s self “policed”. Bags are provided for picking up your dogs waste, although brining your own is a good idea since they run out frequently. A special bin is available for disposal.
As our stay came to an end, we visited our friend at the “The Villagio Cafe” one last time. This coffee house in the Venetian Village not only had great java, but the owner was beyond dog friendly, bringing me treats and putting cool fresh water in the bowl daily. The bipeds would often grab a sandwich there, with me at their feet, enjoying the sun overhead, the glimpse of the large pelicans flying by and the water fountains spurting their dance to some pre-Christmas jingle.
Traveling to Naples Florida USA with a small dog was so great, we swore as we left that we would visit again; very soon!