One of the things I have realized about owning a Great Dane is that everything is larger. The winter booties, the rain jacket, the food bowl, and the list goes on. The one exception I have found is the list of hotels claiming to be ‘dog-friendly’, while in fact this applies only to those pups weighing 20lbs or less. I am often met with such surprise when I mention that I am looking to book a room with enough space for 175lbs of Fido. It is a common misconception that people with large dogs don’t travel, when in fact it has actually been my experience that it is much easier to travel with my big boy than most of the under 20lbs breeds I’ve known. So why I ask, do so many hotels put such ridiculous restrictions on their ‘dog-friendly’ policies?
Recently I had the opportunity to visit some folks back in Barrie, ON. Having had such limited success in the past with dog-friendly policies, I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to explore how things had or hadn’t changed. After calling a number of places in the area, it was becoming clear that the vast majority of hotels now offer a limited number of ‘dog-friendly’ rooms because they feel they should, not because they want to. Until Super 8 Barrie came along.
Super 8 Barrie is located just off of Hwy 400, approximately 45 minutes north of downtown Toronto (Check out their website). Not only was the location convenient, situated at the South end of Barrie one block away from a giant Petsmart store, the staff was incredibly excited to have Fido come stay with them. As one staff member described it, “it is often the pets who make the best guests of all”. In no way were they dismayed by the fact that I would be bringing such a large guest along with me, and they were more than able to accommodate his size with a larger room. Unlike many hotels, Super 8 Barrie offers the majority of their rooms to be ‘dog-friendly’, with only a limited number that are not. In addition, the only pet-fee was a one-time charge of $15 for the 2 nights stayed – a fee I find totally reasonable in comparison to many others. Although we were offered a room on the first floor (ie. no stairs or elevators), we instead opted for one with a better view on the third. There was no problem fitting both Fido and a number of amazed hotel guests into the large sized elevator, and with huge grassy spaces surrounding both the sides and back of the hotel, Fido had no problem getting outside. Though there were not doggie bag dispensers, there were a number of completely accessible waste bins for those of us that remembered to bring our own. Immediately upon check-in, my cell phone number was taken should there be a Fido emergency, and I was provided with a great description of off-leash parks in the area we might want to visit during our stay. With ongoing support to the local SPCA, Super 8 Barrie takes pride in being a part of the pet community, and offered a truly dog-friendly experience. Without question Fido and I will be making this rest stop a permanent fixture in our Dog Friendly Planet.