Searching for a place that matched all our criteria look a little bit of time. We wanted an Airbnb/homestay where Inji could be off-leash and free to roam around. He isn’t a dog that comes on recall, so it needed to be a manageable sized property. We started with the hunt for a villa with a private pool, having had dreams of swimming with the brat, but quickly, on seeing the bank-balance-emptying-prices, downgraded to a small beach-side home, no frills. We wanted something by the beach so that we could maximise on Goa sun and sand sans getting the car filthy.
Azul, an Airbnb property at Velsao Beach, sold itself to us and the positive reviews made me dash them off an enquiry. There was another property we really liked that’s run by an artist couple. It is an old restored Portuguese house but it didn’t have a compound wall. That wouldn’t be fun as we would need to keep Inji on leash the minute he stepped out of the house.
We reached Azul on 5th Sept., Monday, after a 9 hour drive from Pune. Inji sprang out of the car, released from his tiny car-bound cage and took off with great speed. The entire courtyard at Azul is covered with sand. Imagine the great joy that leapt from Inji’s feet. He ran around non-stop, dug holes and just ran, ran and ran. He is quite the runner as those following my Instagram handle or Facebook page already knows. All our photos of him, the ones in which he was not a beige blur, were sheer luck. While A and I were still trying to settle in and figure out which bedroom we would use (There are three here) Inji had sniffed out each corner, checked out the Eco-system behind each bush, scratched at the large coconut palms, and had scouted the entire compound wall for a possible (lucky) break. He had also tried to make friends with Monica, the stray just outside the gate, albeit with little success. She would only growl back with her fur standing up on her back while his tail continued wagging non-stop.
As evening sunk into night, he continued to pace outside. Like an overstimulated child he stayed out, till he had to be brought into the house by his collar and ordered to sleep. Once he crashed, apart from changing position from drawing room to our bedroom, he woke up only the next morning. Tired by the long drive, so did we.
(Pictures will be added once I reach a better internet connection till then check out my Instagram handle or Facebook page (Links above). The Wi-Fi here is dismal and we are in a village, so 3G mobile network is also temperamental.)
Doggie Tips from the airbnb hunt and the few days we have been here:
1. Look for a place with a compound wall, city apartment dogs aren’t used to being loose with a distant compound wall to draw the line! And if they are anything like Inji, exploration is key, and that includes meeting strays who often roam in packs. And there are many strays, here at Velsao we have 3-4 that hover around this bungalow. Not to mention the family of wild pigs, including a tiny piglet.
2. Be very clear what “Pets are welcome” means. Sometimes hotels/homestays/Airbnb properties mean that pets can be kept in your room, but on leash otherwise, which isn’t much fun for you or your pet. I worded my communication with questions so we were clear what was acceptable at the property.
3. Heritage properties or properties that shout house-proud owners best avoidable. One other property we shortlisted said in the description that there were a lot of antiques all over the house. A selling point for us before Inji, but a potential increase of cost post in case he broke something. While he isn’t that destructive he could get extra curious around a new house.
4. If you aren’t traveling with food then a pet shop close by to get your pet’s favourite feed is a dire need. We carried his feed but identified a shop the day we came. So in case we run out we have our backup plan in place.
5. Caretakers who are comfortable with dogs. We left Inji alone and went out less than 24 hours after we got here, and he was fine. Pappu, the caretaker, loves dogs and was most happy to hang out with Inji while we were away.
6. Might sound repetitive, but best to understand what the house rules are when it comes to pets extremely clearly.