Saturday, September 29, 2012

Charlie Goes Abroad

Last week we took Charlie to Vancouver Island, BC. I carefully researched how to get him into Canada and back into the US (which our vet said was harder) and had his signed rabies certificate and recent health exam records. It turned out to be a total non-event, however. All anyone ever said was "Beautiful dog" and "Woah, don't eat me!!".

Charlie is a good traveler. He loves to ride in a car (or in this case the "Chuckwagon", his RV), loves to walk, and never seems to get out of sorts.

Charlie waiting for the ferry

We took the Blackball Ferry, M.V. Coho, from Port Angeles, WA over to Victoria because dogs are allowed both up on deck and in some of the observation lounges. The WA state and BC ferries, on the other hand, seem to restrict pets to the car deck, where it's noisy, smelly & hard to see anything except cars & trucks. This worked out great! Charlie could walk out on deck and, more importantly, sit inside and troll for passersby who needed a dog fix.

Charlie on deck

Looking at the big lines

Trolling success!

One passenger was really focused on Charlie, but playing it cool. After we'd been sitting in the lounge awhile, I realized a little boy in an orange fleece had been walking by a lot. When I paid attention, I noticed he was watching Charlie as he walked by. After a little while (and quite a few more trips past us), I saw him reach down and just barely touch Charlie's fur as he went by. On subsequent trips, he got bolder and patted Charlie on the head. Finally, on one trip past he reached down, put his face close, and ruffled Charlie's ears with both hands. I had to smile, it was so sweet and funny.

Charlie's friend

After arriving, we spent a little time in Victoria (the capital of BC) and then headed to Nanaimo and then on to Ucluelet, a small rustic community on the opposite side of the island.

At Swan's in Victoria

At Maffeo-Sutton Park in Nanaimo

On the road to Ucluelet

We stayed in Ucluelet for 2 days, hiking and seeing the area.

Wild Pacific trail, Ucluelet

Wild Pacific trail

Wild Pacific trail

Then back across the island and down to Victoria to catch the ferry home. Along the way we stopped at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park and hiked a bit.

Headed to Lower Falls

In Victoria, waiting for the ferry back, we had more time to explore. Charlie saw horses, and puppies, and even met a group of students who attend Victoria University and wanted to have their picture taken with him.



Another puppy?

With VU students

We walked through Chinatown and down Fan Tail Alley...

At the gate to Chinatown

Down Fan Tan Alley

... and everywhere Charlie made new friends.

Getting petted in Chinatown

Invited into a pet store in Dragon Alley

Making friends with the motorcycle crowd

What a great trip -- Charie's first adventure outside the US! Can't wait to do it again.