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Spend the Dog Days of Summer in Style

By: Ed Kane

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You stroll through wooded greenery toward a waterfall, the map says it's only a few yards up ahead. You breathe in the warm summer breeze and feel your head clear for the first time all week. Your faithful dog Fido scampers along in front. You throw him a stick to fetch and as he runs off you think, "Gosh, I wish this day wouldn't end." Well, guess what, you can do it all again tomorrow and then some, because you and Fido are staying at the Carmel Valley Lodge, just five minutes away.

Situated on three beautiful acres, just 15 miles inland from the famed golf courses and wineries of the Monterey Peninsula in California, the lodge welcomes both owners and their pets with open arms. For an extra $10 per night, guests can have one dog stay with them. "Your dog may lie outside on the patio or deck with his own hitching post, not be solely cooped up in your hotel room," explains Michael Cawdrey, hotel general manager. "We joke with our guests that 'children and dogs are welcome as long as the kids are on a leash and the dogs are at least 12 years old,' says owner Peter Oakley.

Fido is allowed to curl up with you up by the fireplace in one of the lodge's spacious fireplace cottages or suites and chow down on Love Snax, which are homemade organic heart-shaped dog cookies courtesy of the lodge. There are also chocolate "dog bones" for the owners (remember chocolate is poisonous to dogs).

When you arrive you get a copy of the Berkeley Bark, a magazine for the lodge's guests, and a "PAW-tographed" picture of Lucky, the Carmel Valley mascot who greets you when you arrive. There are 31 guest rooms, suites and cottages and the one and two bedroom cottages have fireplaces and full cooking facilities with outdoor hibachis for barbecuing. You can enjoy yoga, the spa, sauna, and pool too.

Some nearby pet-friendly places are Garland Ranch, a regional park, 3,600 acres of trails and waterfalls, and the town of Carmel has dog-friendly restaurants and shops. You can even bring your dog on the beach.

One memorable story surrounding the lodge was of a Doberman that had been going there lodge with his owners for 15 years. As the dog got on in years he became frail and blind, yet he still made the yearly trek to the lodge where he'd rest his old bones in front of the fireplace. When he eventually died peacefully at home, the couple came to spread his ashes around the property, which they said had been their dog's favorite place in the world. The couple still comes to the lodge, accompanied now by their new Doberman. They say that here they remember the times they shared with their first dog, and it is the only place they can be close to both of their beloved animals at once.

For Carmel Valley Lodge reservations see the web page at www.valleylodge.com or call 800-641-4646.

Photo courtesy of the Carmel Valley Lodge

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