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CANINE CONNECTION: Let your pet be the mascot for day-after joy

I’ve always found myself going through a sort of Christmas withdrawal on Boxing Day.

I’ve always found myself going through a sort of Christmas withdrawal on Boxing Day. 

The weeks preceding Christmas are filled with joyful yet hectic expectation that come to a dramatic stop on Christmas Day, and on Boxing Day I find myself pacing around looking for something to do other than more shopping to keep that yuletide spirit shining bright.

If you also find yourself twiddling your thumbs after Christmas and considering skydiving to increase your levels of serotonin, why not spend some quality time with your dog instead. After all, your dog is the official mascot of joy. 

With most people still in the shopping mood, you may find local trails quiet and free from the intrusion of other people allowing you to unwind from the hectic weeks that preceded Christmas.

If you don’t quite have the energy yet to hike a local trail, why not check out some of these other après Christmas festivities that are dog friendly, such as Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Yes, in case you didn’t know, the Canyon Lights welcomes dogs, but for their safety they must be leashed!  Enjoy the adventure of the gorgeous canyon by day or grab a hot cocoa and be enchanted by the twinkling lights as you walk through the treetops of the rainforest at night. To get the best experience, your dog needs to be comfortable with heights, and yes dogs can be afraid of heights just like humans.

Walking along a cliff at night not your dogs thing? Not to worry, how about something a bit more grounded like a trip to the Bright Nights at Stanley Park. Again, this venue is dog friendly and although Fido is not allowed on the train you can walk your leashed pooch through the grounds and take in the evening festivities and lights.

Need to save a few bucks?  How about making your own thermos of home made hot cocoa, or add some coffee to your Baileys and take a stroll through your own neighbourhood at night and appreciate the lights of your neighbours homes. 

Make sure you and your pup can be seen along the streets by wearing reflective clothing and carrying a flashlight and don’t forget the poop bags.

Had enough of your neighbours for the season? How about taking a day trip off the North Shore and heading down to Crescent Beach in White Rock. The views themselves will certainly ease any lingering holiday angst and there is an off-leash dog park and beach area for your dog to romp around and burn off any pent up holiday energy.

After the walk on the beach you can grab a relaxing bite to eat at one of the number of cafes that line Marine Drive.

Want to try something new? Or maybe you’re looking for a bit more adventure that brings you closer to nature instead of other people. How about snowshoeing on Mt. Seymour? Leashed dogs are welcome on all the trails except the ski/snowboard trails and the public snowshoe tours such as the Chocolate Fondue (that tour is worth checking out even without your dog by the way, yum!). 

Your dog’s poop must be picked up and deposited in a proper waste container so remember your dog poop bags. Check out their website for more information on trails that are open and the difficultly levels.

Not into snowshoeing but you are into playing in the snow with your dog?  Then lace up those winter hiking boots and take your dog for a walk on Dog Mountain! The views on a sunny day are spectacular and very Instagram worthy!

Shopping bug still got you?  Many stores in the shopping district of downtown Vancouver allow dogs and the staff are happy to say hello to your furry best friend. There are also some really funky pet boutique’s where you just might find something unique for you or your canine shopping companion, on sale.

Remember to bring your recyclable shopping bags!

Once the shopping bug has been squashed, how about a hot mocha and a stroll along English Bay?  Don’t forget to ask for a cup of whipped cream for your pup. Most coffee shops will happily oblige and your pup, eagerly waiting for a cup of whipped creamy goodness, will certainly bring a smile to a busy baristas face.

There is still plenty to do to keep the yuletide spirit going after the gifts have been unwrapped and taking your dog along, you can find new ways to appreciate the season of joy. 

But if you are really hung up on skydiving, don’t let me stop you, but don’t expect to see me flying the friendly skies there either!

Joan Klucha has been working with dogs for more than 20 years in obedience, tracking and behavioural rehabilitation.