When one has non-human companions, travel and holidays have to be well-planned and safe. Impulsive trips, spontaneous plans and carefree time become restrictive. After all pets are like babies who need their food, water, space and comfort. Places that cater to non-human companions are still not popular. Whenever we have to find places which are pet-inclusive, we are left with few choices, and if we are lucky to find them, the prices are steep or the facilities minimal. Today, thankfully the scene is much better than the earlier times when people hardly travelled when they had non-human companions.
Prior to our Feni (Male Rajapalayam – a local breed of Tamil Nadu), we were travelling according to our whims and fancies. But once Feni entered our lives, planning became our way of life. Recently we travelled to a lesser-known beach of the north – Ashvem, which is a hidden treasure among the Anjunas and Bagas. We have been there before and often wonder whether this place is actually in the crowded north! The beach is a calm one frequented by non-Indian tourists especially Russians, who are a permanent fixation in Ashvem.
The resort, Rococco@Ashvem was an ideal place where our non-human companion relaxed and not shunned by fellow resort guests. There were many other pets owned by the people running the resort as well as pets of the guests who were spending their time there. The service staff loved our Feni and were feeding him with juicy chicken pieces and conversing with him, which was a pleasure for us to watch.
The resort has a lovely sea-facing view and one could relax while watching the waves crash and yes, our Feni was also enjoying the salty sea-breeze while also trying to trace and mark his territory.
While the menu is limited, we enjoyed the well prepared dishes and the accompanying friendly banter by the staff that paused to discuss everything from the weather to the food preferences of our con-human companion. I remember one moment when I was a bit preoccupied with some stray thought that passed my mind and hence was not quite present – the guy who was serving was quick to spot that and inquired whether everything was alright. An intrusion to some, but to us this seemed genuine warmth was.
It is wonderful that some lovely people come up with ideas which include non-human companions because finding places where we could travel with our furry loves is a tad difficult. It is important that many resort/hotel/homestay owners come up with spaces that are non-human companion friendly so that pet-owners like us could have many options to choose from while planning a getaway.
Susan is an academician by profession and blogger by passion. She is one of the editors of Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations, the first volume in the area of ecocinema in India; Ecodocumentaries: Critical Essays and Ecocultural Ethics: Critical Essays. Her interests, academic and social lie in food, cinema, gender and ecocriticism. She blogs at susan-deborah.org