Imagine leaving your best friend behind, in an unfamiliar place, with chattering bars behind her. To hear her wine and leave her with an open door up on deck on a big ferry where everybody has the possibility to walk into her.
We left Italy to catch the ferry to both mine and Melvins favorite city. Barcelona! We were excited but also nervous because of Shanty and the restrictions in Spain. Yeah, we thought that she would be taken away from us as soon as we came to Spain. Like the police don’t have anything else to think about…
However, we drove to the ferries and by 7 PM we were allowed to board. We were pretty calm about the ferry-trip, to be honest. We actually checked everything with Grimaldi, the ferry company, before we booked our tickets.
The checklist for shanty:
- Can she be with us in the room? No? Okej
- Where will she be? In a kennel, okay.
- Is it safe and warm? Yes, okay perfect.
- Are we able to go to her whenever we want? Yes, okay.
- And there’s a door there that we can close? Perfect!
So with all the answers to our questions, we finally felt calm enough to take her on board. Which resulted to be a nightmare. A 20 h nightmare. When we came into the ferry everything seemed fine and we checked in at the reception desk and the receptionist showed us which way we were supposed to go to leave Shanty.
We came to the kennel and it was disgusting, filthy and it hadn’t been cleaned in a long time. There was maybe 20 cages with bars and you could really smell the dogs that had been there. The energy in the room was terrible. Shanty got into the room, all happy because it smelled like other dogs in there. But she was alone and when it got to her that she was supposed to sit in that cage she started to resist.
I looked in her eyes and I just saw her think
Don’t leave me here
I even got into the cage to sit there with her so she could feel safe enough to jump in with me. But she didn’t. She just doesn’t want to jump into the cage. And this dog loves to sleep in her cage, but that’s her own. And also, Grimaldi decided that it would be a good idea to have the kennel right beside a club. That’s bright! And you couldn’t even close the door (as they said) to the kennel because if we did, there would be too warm apparently. Anyway, I got more and more nervous and upset and that affected my energy. I couldn’t stand this anymore. And Shanty felt it so we decided that I had to go away from the room and the place so my energy won’t affect her. While I came out, I burst into tears and just felt that I disappointed Shanty and left her unsafe and scared.
Important to notice is that she wasn’t unsafe but now you maybe can imagine why I shouldn’t be in the room with her while being and feeling this way. And the last thing you can do is to force the dog into a place where they don’t feel safe. Therefore you need to take the time the dog needs to actually create an environment that makes your dog feel safe. Anyway, Melvin took care of her and made her feel safe in there so we could go down to our room to leave our bags.
Melvin was actually going back up to Shanty to walk her on the deck. Because that was the only place where you could walk your dog. He walked her until the ferry left the harbor. I stayed down in the room because I couldn’t calm down at all. Melvin met a couple on the deck while she was walking Shanty. Fransisco and Carmen. They were also talking about how crazy it is to not be able to bring the dog into the room. Because you’re allowed to bring a dog into your room if the dog weights under 7-10 kilos. So it can’t be for allergic reasons.Anyway, so the night came and we went up to her every second hour to check if she was okay. So we slept for two hours and then we went to her and that was our night.
At 8 am next morning we woke up and took her on a walk on an incredibly windy deck. Imagine when you get a wind towards your face and you lose your breath. That was the case. And Shanty is a dog that doesn’t like either rain or wind. After we walked her we had almost 10 hours left of the ferry trip. So even though we weren’t allowed to we actually went inside to the hallway right beside the door to deck and snuggled up in a corner, watched a movie and ate breakfast. We really didn’t want to leave her in that cage again because of the trauma. I don’t think Shanty had any trauma what so ever. She is her absolute self in this moment and she also was when we got her the last time from the kennel. So she is fine. But I will never do such a thing again against her. So I really hope that she is able to join us in the room when we’re going back to Italy from Barcelona next time, with another company of course.
We were lucky with the weather and we could actually sit outside in the café/bar/club until we reached Barcelona. And then we started to get nervous about that instead because our next problem was to solve our stay in Spain with a “potentially dangerous dog”.
Rules that should be applied to have kennel on board ferries
I would say that there should be rules for these types of companies to have the ability to bring a dog on board. It’s still a being with emotions. Do you agree on the following?
- Clean the place so the dogs don’t have to sleep with other dogs fur
- Get cages that don’t shatter.
- Fix a room with a lock on the door.
- Fix a room with air-conditioning/heater (so you’re able to close the door).
- Fix so the room has sound canceling.
- Don’t freaking have the kennel right beside a club!!
Five tips how to prepare your dog
Here you have 5 tips that you can think about before you’re going on an airplane or a ferry with your dog.
Long walk or activate
This advice is something I would recommend you to do before every long travel or if you’re going to leave your dog alone for a couple of hours. Often dogs bite couches, shoes or whatever because they haven’t been activated enough. Therefore, take a long walk, take a run, maybe use inlines or a skateboard. Also, you can play with the dog. Activate him or her the way she likes it.
Don’t give the dog carbs. I know I’ve written that before. And it’s important. If you give the dog carbs it turns into sugar. And sugar gives energy. Therefore try to find dog food that has as little carbs as it can or nothing at all.
Try to have a good energy level the whole day. Prepare the dog to be calm and if you get stressed or upset, your dog will too. This is probably the most important step because if the dog feels that you’re calm then the dog will be calm too.
Do not use force
As it says, do not use force! That will only stress the dog even more. For example, if you need to put your dog in a cage. Don’t lift it and force it into the cage, wait it out and let the dog go in by itself. Do you know that your dog is easily stressed, then take your time. Be at the place earlier and do not ever stress these situations if you don’t want to destroy your dog.
Something that makes the dog calm
Leave something that makes your dog calm. Maybe a toy that the dog likes, maybe a sweatshirt from one of the parents of the dog. The last one is amazing because they can smell you and therefore also feel safe.
That was all at this time. Please share your thought of traveling with a dog like this.
You can look forward to a Vegan Guide in BCN in the meantime.
Until next time, spread love!
– Vicky & Melvin