Spring is in the air! Time to start planning your dog friendly vacation at Maine Summer Dog! Did you know that located in Union is the most dog friendly vacation rental in Midcoast Maine? Maine Summer Dog offers a unique vacation experience for dogs and their owners in a farmhouse apartment with unlimited dog care throughout your stay, giving you the options of going off for the day on adventures with your dogs or leaving them in the capable hands of Judy Gushee and David Eyler for a day filled with playing while you go sightseeing. Recently Maine Summer Dog owner, Judy Gushee, sat down with Living with a Golden to tell us more about this vacation rental for dog families.
Living with a Golden: Please tell us about Maine Summer Dog and your “No Fret Guarantee.”
Judy: If your readers are like us, they understand the anxiety that sets in when you want to go on vacation, but have a dog that is a significant part of your family. You agonize over what relatives, friends, local pet sitter, house sitter or kennel can be entrusted with your family member. Perhaps you discover that dog care may cost as much as your vacation. Maybe you find a vacation place that will accept your pet, but you can’t take advantage of all the opportunities the area provides because your dog isn’t welcome or has no interest in 19th century art. If you stay at Maine Summer Dog all these worries disappear, hence our No Fret Guarantee.
Bring the family dog on vacation and you can still do everything that the Midcoast has to offer when you stay in our fully furnished apartment. We are just minutes from everything. Maine is a very pet-friendly state and there are many places where you can go with your dog, but there are also places where your dog would not be entirely welcome or would be bored to tears. This is not a problem when you stay with us. You can leave your dog in our fenced in cabin area and we will provide them with lots of fun activities perfect for the vacationing dog. You will have the comfort of knowing that your pet will be happily waiting for you when you return from your day’s activities. They will never be alone and get they will get lots of individual attention and play time. So go on your adventure and let us care for fido. It really is a No Fret Guarantee.
LWAG: With our Golden Retrievers we have found that “dog friendly” can be widely interpreted depending on where we go. What makes you different from other dog friendly vacation rentals in Maine?
Judy: In general, “dog friendly” simply means that the facility will allow your dog, but it’s the degree of friendliness that matters. It’s all about the “fine print;” it doesn’t mean the same thing to all accommodations. It may mean that they will allow your pet, but will add an exorbitant fee and seem less than enthusiastic about your pet’s presence as you walk through the facility. Perhaps they are very enthusiastic about your pet, but for the sake of their other customers and facility, can’t allow you to leave your pet alone for any reason. At Maine Summer Dog, you won’t have any of these issues. We provide a wonderful vacation spot for visiting dogs with all sorts of activities and entertainment. We strive to ensure our human visitors have an enjoyable worry-free experience as well. With all the Midcoast has to offer, and our attention to the family dog, it’s what sets us apart; it’s what we emphasize.
If you stay with us in the fully furnished apartment, you have so many dog options. You can take your dog with you on some expedition or leave him with us in our huge play area. We stay in a cabin within this enclosed space and are always there. We can care for your dog all hours of the day. We are the vacationing dog family’s version of “all-inclusive.”
There is one caveat. We can’t guarantee that your dog won’t be sad if you leave for awhile. There have been one or two pets left in our care that reacted as if their family had deserted them. If that’s your dog’s personality, we try harder. There is nothing sadder than a sad dog so we overcompensate.
LWAG: Based on your reviews on your website and Facebook, you and Dave truly do go above and beyond to keep your canine guests entertained. What inspired you to open a vacation rental for dogs, where you provide one on one entertainment for the pups while their owners enjoy other dog-free activities in Maine?
Judy: Several things. Probably the major factor was our dog Simon. We got Simon as an older rescue dog. We didn’t know anything about his previous life but we did know that he was rescued from a high kill shelter and had spent several months in a kennel waiting to be adopted. Once adopted he immediately became a Velcro Dog. We joked that we should have waited to name him after discovering his personality; we would have named him Sticky. We did not go on vacations when Simon was alive. The idea of leaving him anywhere for an extended period of time was unthinkable. We did take him to “dog friendly” hotels but we couldn’t go to breakfast together. He howled when left alone; immediately notifying management that we were violating the “don’t leave your dog alone in the room” rule.
Until we retired, we worked in Maryland with a vacation home fixer-upper in Maine. One of the first projects we undertook in our old farmhouse was remodeling an apartment. We came to Maine every summer and stayed in a cabin on the property while renting out the apartment. We rented it to the same couple for years. When they left, we had to decide whether we wanted to continue to rent the property on a year round basis or seasonally. At about the same time, we both retired and decided to move full time to Maine. The idea of renting the apartment through the summer to dog families that wanted to vacation, but were limited in their options, just evolved naturally.
Oh, there was one other factor. We couldn’t think of a better retirement activity than playing with dogs!
LWAG: Spending your summers playing with pups sounds like the perfect retirement! Do you have any specific rules, such as weight limits, restrictions on the number of dogs, or any other special requests dog owners should be aware of?
Judy: We require that dogs be up to date on their vaccinations and that they be on a flea and tick preventative. Maine has a horrible tick problem. We hate ticks! Other than this, we don’t have any specific restrictions. We have had two Great Danes and two Newfoundlands stay with us and they were easily accommodated. If you have many dogs or more than two very large dogs, talk to us. It will probably be fine.
LWAG: Maine Summer Dog truly is dog friendly! How can someone make a reservation?
Judy: The best way is through our website, Maine Summer Dog. That way, we have a record of your contact and email address. We check our email several times a day so if you don’t hear back from us within a few hours, give us a nudge. You can also reach us by phone at (207)785-2090.
LWAG: Do you offer any special discounts?
Judy: If your dog is a rescue dog, if you volunteer regularly for a rescue organization or donate over $50.00 to a rescue group, we will deduct $50.00 from the price of a week’s stay. If you rent for two weeks or more, we will also deduct $50.00 from the total.
LWAG: What dog friendly activities do you recommend in the Midcoast Maine area?
Judy: There are many trails in the area. Most of them require dogs to be on leash, but there are some that don’t. There are several state parks within 15 miles of our location that allow dogs with some restrictions. There are take-out restaurants where you can eat lobster with your pets too.
LWAG: Hiking and lobster! Now that’s a Maine vacation! When we met you at the NHSPCA Paws Walk we fell in love with your dog Lucy. Could you please tell us about Maine Summer Dog’s ambassador and her cat sibling?
Judy: Our dog, Lucy, is an English Bulldog. Lucy was given to us as a puppy when she proved to be a bit too exuberant for her family. Exuberant she was, but not for us. Her personality and goofy demeanor provided daily laughs and still do. Lucy is now five and not as spirited as she once was, but occasionally she will find her inner puppy. Among her favorite activities at Maine Summer Dog are chipmunking, frogging and mudding (think spring thaw). She can spend hours stalking small critters, but do not fear for our tiny residents, her body type and her bulldog skills weigh heavily against her success at critter hunting. As for mudding, spring muck makes her happy and it washes off.
We also have an older cat named Scooter. Scooter thrives when we all move outdoors to our cabin for the summer months. He spends most of his time outdoors relaxing, sunning himself and reducing the mouse population. Unlike Lucy, he has superior stalking skills. We aren’t as appreciative of his accomplishments as he would like us to be, but that does not deter him from seeking our praise by showing off his successes in the middle of the night!
Aside from Lucy, dogs staying at Maine Summer Dog are the only dogs we have with us on the premises. Occasionally our friends and relatives may ask us to care for their pets at the same time we have other dog guests in the apartment, but that is unusual. Also, we always check with our guests to make sure this won’t be a problem.
Living with a Golden: Thank you for opening your home so dogs families can vacation together! Also thank you, Judy, for taking the time to answer our questions and share with our readers about your unique dog friendly vacation rental at Maine Summer Dog. Dogs are truly members of our family and it is wonderful to know that at Maine Summer Dog families can enjoy vacations together with your No Fret Guarantee!