Then – Vacation plans? Primary thought – Choose a resort in that place where the boys have an open area to play in, a place which has indoor and outdoor games to engage themselves in and have loads of fun.

Now – Vacation plans? Primary thought – Not a long one all the time please.. Let’s look for a short one? Oh, and let it be a pet friendly one? And not a long drive, eh. Mr. D (our 15-month old puppy) would find it difficult to be cooped up in the car for that long a drive!!

Let’s stay in the now, now!!! So we looked and looked for a pet friendly resort not too far from Bangalore.. and we zeroed in one one – The Hideaway.. and it was really one!! Tucked away quite inside enough – away from the humdrum of traffic and working grind of city life.

Once we drove into the gate and inside the property which looked rustic and green, I am not sure who was excited more – Mr. D or we? He certainly looked the same as always when taken out in the car, his eyes darting all over the place and his nostrils up in the air – for sniffing only of course!! :-).. Then I guess we were more excited.

As we parked the car and got down, we were greeted and welcomed enthusiastically by a loud bark. Our Mr. D barked back and pulled the tightly held leash and whoever was holding him, to lunge at Mr. L who was the source of the welcome. As we were to enter the cottage we were to stay in, from the first floor of the cottage, we heard a few shouts and someone saying “Oh my God.” Apparently the 3-year old Indie Mr. L who welcomed us, smelt our Mr. D almost 25 meters away and jumped thru’ the railings on the first floor to give this welcome; and he seems to have had a ‘perfect 10 gymnastic landing’. As Mr. L ran back to the first floor, we heard yet another greeting that had a different bark and this was from Ms. O, another 3-year old Indie who didn’t want to do any personal greeting nor come near our Mr. D. It was a very interesting next 15 hours or so with Mr. L and our Mr. D. Mr. L will come near our Mr. D and let out a few barks. Our Mr. D would sometimes stay quiet or at other times not one to take it lying down, would decide to lunge forward with a louder bark. Mr. L would quickly go behind whoever he was with. So true of that proverb – dogs that bark don’t bite πŸ™‚

The cottage we were in was named ‘Sundance’.. Such a lovely name and true to its name, the sunlight did dance around it – here now and gone the next.. And for the rest of the day and part of next, when Mr. L, Ms. O and our Mr. D were in the same building but confined to their spaces, they whined and growled, making sure they communicated to each other in their own way.

As we walked around the wonderful expanse of ‘The Hideaway’ out came the 3-year old Indie Mr. B, from nowhere. The moment our Mr. D saw him from afar, he went down on all his fours and was like a crouched waiting tiger. Apparently an oft taken posture of his, during his walks when he sees a peer of his. Mr. B ran and came close to our Mr. D and gave a growl and a bark; and then all broke loose.. Out charged our Mr. D, and seeing this Mr. B scuttled away. From then till another many hours of our stay there whenever they would look at each other, they would growl. The few times when they were let off their respective leashes, they charged at each other. Separating them involved a few loud shouts from those raising them, a trick and a treat!! and of course, some huff and puff from all those involved!! There were those few times when a tired and sleepy Mr. B would be lying at the porch of the cottage he was in, and our Mr. D smelling his presence would go growling towards him and give a loud few barks. This would involve yet another few shouts and “Bye, Mr. D” from us, for him to come running towards us. Whew!!

It was a sight to see our Mr. D spotting or rather smelling the 7-month old Golden Retriever Ms. D.J, many meters away. Even more a sight was the way he would be in wait for her to come close. Not a bark from either of them as they came close to each other. Dog or human, attraction to the opposite gender spares no one!! Be it in the outdoor dining area where the delicious meals are served or the lovely ‘open on all sides and covered by a roof’ lounge area, if our Mr. D and Ms. D.J meet each other, they would sniff around each other; and be immediately pulled away by those holding their respective leashes with the thought of “Uh oh, you both are too young to do this now.” Oh, the way Ms. D.J would stand her ground when she didn’t want to move from near our Mr. D and the way they would greet each other was a sight to behold. Truly a real drama!

The last 12 hours or so of our memorable stay at The Hideaway, was with another interesting encounter. Our Mr. D got two new 3-year old neighbours – Shih Tzu Mr. H and Pomeranian Mr. TT. Both were amazing barkers but Mr. TT would bark and climb immediately over the shoulders of the couple who was raising them, if our Mr. D would even look at him. Mr. H was a brave little one. One time, he was on his two hind legs playing with our Mr. D, who just stood looking at Mr. H. A good 45 seconds later, our Mr. D, made his move to get close to Mr. H and there was a sudden growl and a bark and both had to be pulled back; to this moment we are not sure whose it was..

It wasn’t easy to leave the warm ambience of The Hideaway where the thoughtful gestures of the staff there, left no stone unturned to make our stay memorable. Absolutely a pet friendly place..

It certainly was a different vacation and we were ever armed with a poop scooper, a tissue roll, a box of treats, some toys, a half loaf of bread and some buns. To keep us company was a lot of greenery, a clear blue sky, dancing sunlight, lots of paths to walk in, different birds chirping in different sounds early morning and only to stop their chirping when the sun is all out making her heat felt.. well laid out boulders and those quaint looking benches to sit on and stare at space.. not to forget the canines with their growls, whines and barks..

A memorable way to end a chaotic 2020 with quite some of my much loved ‘me and my time’.. time with nature, time to observe myself, time to read and time to walk and walk and walk..

Here’s wishing everyone reading this blog, a memorable, healthy and safe 2021..