Going on a retreat is great; but what about your furry friend sitting at home? The following wellness retreats are canine-friendly, so your dog can be a part of it too.
Why go on a retreat?
The word ‘retreat’ can mean different things. It usually refers to going somewhere for an intended purpose; whether that be something educational, for group bonding, self rejuvenation, or some other form of self-improvement. The general idea of ‘self-improvement’ itself is pretty standard among retreats. It’s also pretty standard for them to be away from city centers, and often in lush natural settings.
There’s no rule about long a retreat must last, or how many people can attend. On the first point, a retreat can range from a day trip to a months long endeavor. And on the second point, rather than an organized group retreat, some prefer to do it alone. Each venue or company has its own rules on these matters.
In a group scenario, sometimes people go on a retreat without knowing anyone else. And on the other hand, sometimes they’re organized for a particular group of friends or relatives. Some are family-friendly, while others are adults-only, or cater to a specific age group. Some are pure luxury, while others have you out in a tent and foraging for food. Rules vary per program; like whether you can use electricity, or speak, or bring your dog along.
This last point is an interesting one. Dog is man’s best friend, right? And its sad to think of leaving your best friend behind when going out on trips. To that end, the following list of retreats are group, or individual, retreats, that all have one thing in common; you can bring your dog along with you.
The Resort at Paws Up – Group retreats for you and your dog
Based in Missoula, Montana, the Resort at Paws Up is a hospitality service that provides trip planning, as well as planned events like retreats. These take place at a 37,000 acre cattle ranch in the state, where guests bask in luxury, with an array of planned activities. As per the name, this company is very much dog-oriented, and the retreats it plans, are pet friendly. In it’s FAQ, the company explains:
“The Resort at Paws Up will provide you and your pooch with a complimentary kennel, a Paws Up collar and a bag of homemade treats. In addition, your pet can enjoy a freshly made treat from our pet-friendly room service menu.” A further look into company policy shows that dogs are always welcome via the Pet Policy, which states there’s an extra fee of $50 to bring a pooch along.
Dogs are allowed in the tent accommodations, with the following services available: dog walks and hikes, and daycare. This is complimentary, and available daily between 8:30am-5:00pm, with flexibility for evening hours, upon request.
The Resort at Paws Up offers tons of programs year-round that will allow you to experience the wonders of nature in that region, with activities relevant to different seasons. For example, the upcoming Winterfest, from February 16-19. This three-night stay features tons of feasting, as well as winter-geared adventures, curling and broomball, and live entertainment.
Resort-goers will take part in bonfires (complete with S’mores), go to wine tastings, have all daily meals provided, as well as transportation to and from the airport. Each guest also receives a $400 prepaid resort card for their stay. The total per night, starts at $2,157 for two people.
In spring, there’s Spring Breaktime, Montana Style, from March 25-April 17; Cowgirl Spring Roundup, from April 18-21; and a host more. Each season features several different packages to check out. Whatever package you choose, just remember, you’ve got your best friend coming along.
Barkwells – Vacation stays for you and your pooch
Another great company that wants to make sure your best bud can come on vacation with you, is Barkwells, out of North Carolina. As per the company’s Mission and Vision, “We create happy vacation memories for dogs with people who love them,” and “We provide exceptional vacation accommodations, fun, and freedom for dogs and their families.”
The company has several retreats with vacation housing set up to cater to you and your dog. All locations offer high speed internet, a fully fenced property, and fencing around surrounding meadows. They also offer hammocks, large ponds with different fish, all the wonders of nature, and in the Ashville location, a professional staff onsite. Unfortunately, the company does not post pricing, so you’ll have to contact for info on costs.
The company has cottages in Ashville and Brevard, North Carolina, as well as mountain cottages outside Ashville. All boast amenities like private hot tubs, washer/dryer, central air or heating, screened porches, smart TVs, personal grills, and more. Each accommodation comes with full bathroom amenities, as well as a complete chef’s kitchen with pretty much anything you’d need to make just about anything you want. They also account for dog-related amenities which include: fenced and gated porches, dog doors, beds, bowls, towels, furniture covers, and crates. Whatever you need for your furry friend.
In the Ashville site, retreat-goers can experience paddle boating, picnics and buffets, campfires, a commercial dog wash, gathering areas with gas fire pits, and McDowell creek. There’s also a dog memorial garden; a beautiful space set up specifically for remembering our past friends.
In the Brevard, North Carolina location, participants have access to multi-level waterfalls, Little River, miniature donkeys, a footbridge, and a couple dogs on the property already. This location is 15 minutes from Dupont State Forest and Pisgah National Forests, both great for hiking; as well as 10 minutes from Brevard’s downtown area.
If you’re more of an in-the-mountains type, Barkwells offers Mountain Lodges on Cold Mountain, outside of Ashville. These accommodations are 4,000 feet up in the mountains, with amazing panoramic views. Tons of trails weave around the area, through dense forest, and areas of virtually untouched wilderness. These cottages are perfect for those who truly want to get away from it all.
4 Paws Kingdom – More retreats for human and dog
North Carolina seems to be the place to go for canine friendly retreats. 4 Paws Kingdom is another great company which offers different activities on its campground in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Complete with all the amenities for you and your fuzzy companion to have everything you need. This includes swimming pond, off-leash parks, hiking trails, agility park, and dog grooming services.
Four foot tall fences surround the property so there will be no running off into the wild, and the campground provides wifi, cable TV, and RV hookups. It also has rental RV’s and cabins for those who don’t own an RV. You can come just to chill, or sign up for a retreat event, where there are activities planned for participants.
For those more into the second option, 4 Paws is hosting the Paws-Up Opening Weekend 2024, from March 15-17. This retreat includes a community fire pit, a ‘Drinkapalooza’ with smoothies and frappes, barbecue dinner, Lure Coursing, and live music from Josey Wails Band. And get this, you actually have to have a dog to book the trip. Prices are not posted, so interested participants should contact the company.
4 Paws is also doing an Easter retreat from March 28-31. This has added activities like an Easter egg hunt, and special Easter dinner. This is followed by a Memorial Day retreat from May 24-26 with the Josey Wails Band, which comes complete with a cornhole competition. Then there are also Independence Day, and Labor Day retreats; along with Barktoberfest from October 4-6, which includes a German inspired dinner, along with standard activities. 4 Paws has many more events, and prospective retreat-goers with dogs should definitely investigate further.
Retreats aren’t just for you anymore, but can include your dog too. So if its important to you that your best friend be a part of your retreat experience, check out these canine friendly programs to ensure that your experience of self-improvement, is shared with your fuzzy companion. If dog-friendly isn’t what you’re looking for, check here for info on cannabis retreats, and here for info on psychedelics retreats.
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