Travelling to France with a Dog:  Bella

Travelling to France with a Dog:  Bella – The black and white sheepdog on the website

Many of you have heard the news about our dog Bella and that she died on December 2nd.  In honour of our beautiful dog and for my own therapy, I have decided to dedicate this week’s story to Bella – the beautiful dog on the Learn, Eat & Be Well website.

A lot of people found it strange that we took our dog to France on vacation.  I think many people assume that flying with a dog is difficult or hard on them and my experience says that this is just not true.  In fact, once you get the hang of it, it is easy and very rewarding for both the owners and the dog.  Remember, dogs belong with their pack and cats belong with their home.  So, I say, travel with your dog anytime you can.

Travelling with your dog to France only requires a current rabies vaccine and a health certificate.  You also need CFIA paperwork which, initially looks complicated, but once you cross out all the sections you don’t need to fill out, it is very simple.  Once you have filled in the form you can then take or mail it to your local CFIA agency where they will certify it and return it to you for a small $20.00 fee.  The cost of the dog’s return flight was only $400 with Air France, cheaper than 14 days at your local kennel and better for our dog’s psyche.  Obviously, you need to have an airline approved kennel.  I put a pee pad in the bottom of the kennel and then her usual soft bedding on top (Of course, Bella never toileted in her kennel).  Large dogs go in a temperature and pressure controlled room with lighting in the underside of the plane.  Remember to add a water bowel with frozen water to the kennel so while it melts they can drink during the flight.

French people love their dogs and France makes it easy to have a dog.  Bella was welcomed and adored everywhere; cafes, restaurants, shops, markets, tourist attractions.  Waiters always brought Bella a bowel of water to drink from whenever we stopped for lunch.  Of course, the French table scraps were so delicious, it was very hard to go back to dog food once Bella had a taste of French food.

Bella was in France twice in 2017 and had as good a time as we did.  She was an extremely social dog who loved everyone she met and would always push the underside of your hand to get you to pet her.  Like us, she loved France.  She loved how it smelled and tasted!  For Bella, France was like a smorgasbord of smells and taste.  She sniffed everything; the soil, the grasses, the bushes, other dogs, curious little holes in the ground, and her all time favourite:  donkeys.  Bella was mesmerized by donkeys and she made a particular friend with the male donkey at La Commaderie in Condat sur Vezere.  When Bella would come out of the Inn, the donkey would call out to her and they would run after each other along the fence line barking and braying.  Bella also found her soulmate in France, a boarder collie named Bordeaux.  Although they only got to play together four times, their play dates were full of non-stop energy, wrestling and love bites with long walks along the river and through the walnut groves.

Bella also loved to have her picture taken.  As soon as she saw the camera lens she was happy to sit still and wait to be photographed.  Her eyes were very unusual for a dog and they could melt the ice of the arctic.

We are so thankful that she is now honored on our website, giving it a down to earth look that would never have been possible without her.  More importantly her pictures give us loving memories of a time in France when the three of us were very happy together.   She will be missed.

“Bella brought joy and a special nurturing energy to our family.   She took care of us”