Last week we loaded the GoPetFriendly team and Winnebago aboard the MV Coho ferry in Port Angeles, Washington and crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria, British Columbia. Though we’ve heard of people having gut-wrenching experiences, our trip across the border was a breeze.
On the ferry operator’s advice, we skipped the reservation and got up before the sun to catch the early ferry. We arrived at the terminal just as the gates were opening, so we were first in line and had a great view when the ferry came to pick us up.
Our fare for two adults and an oversized vehicle was just over $100 – and the dogs rode for free. We pulled the RV on to the car deck and headed upstairs for the crossing, which takes about an hour. Sorry, we have no pictures … the morning fog hadn’t burned off yet, so we didn’t get to enjoy the scenery. But, the solarium and the upper deck are both pet friendly, and I’m sure on a clear day the views would be great.
Pulling the Winnebago up to the customs booth is always nerve wracking for me. First of all, we’re obviously conspicuous, and drawing attention to yourself when you’re dealing with a government agency is not something I recommend. Secondly, Buster usually barks when I roll down the window to speak to someone. Trying to convince a customs agent that you’re not a threat to provincial security while your dog is howling bloody murder from the back of your vehicle can be dicey. And then there are the questions … it makes me nervous to be dodgy, but honestly, we don’t know exactly how many days we’ll be staying, where we’ll travel while we’re here, or from what point we’ll exit the country.
The stars must have aligned, because Buster was quiet, the agent was only mildly interested in the graphics on the Winnebago, and I was able to answer all his questions convincingly. He asked to see our passports and the boys’ rabies vaccination certificates, and in less than five minutes we were on our way.
The best part of traveling is the opportunity to meet in person friends we’ve gotten to know on the Internet. Over the weekend we got together with Shauna and Mickey from Fido and Wino, Cate and Martin from BlanketID, and Jim McBean, who is a great tour guide (and makes a darn good case for settling down on this beautiful island).
Victoria is super pet friendly, and we’ll fill you in on the fun we’ve been having in a future post. One thing I have to mention is that not all of Canada’s provinces are as welcoming to dogs as British Columbia. Ontario currently has an ugly breed discrimination law that prohibits “pit bull type” dogs in the province. The law further grants police or animal control officers the right to seize any dog deemed to be a “pit bull type” based on visual inspection. If the dog is, in fact, judged to be a pit bull type, it will be euthanized – though it may not have broken any other laws or hurt anyone or anything. It’s important to note that there are no exceptions for tourists traveling with their pets, so if you travel with any breed that looks like a pit bull, I recommend avoiding Ontario entirely.
If you’ve taken your pet to Canada, please share your experiences crossing the border. I hope we find getting back to the States as easy!
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.