Small dog along the dock beside a canal in Venice, Italy.

Explore Venice With Your Dog – Part 2 | Dog Travel Italy

As our visit to Venice with our small dog, Tikka, continued into the second day we were reminded of my own advice – coming out of your hotel in Venice there is never a right or a wrong way to go. If you happen to turn the way Google mapped out for you then great, but if instead you made a ‘wrong turn’ and ended up finding a beautiful bridge or a tiny hole in the wall cafe, then joy! This is the wonderful maze of Venice.

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Bridge of Sighs

With a loose plan in mind to see the main sites, we leashed up Tikka and headed out to the canal and wound our way, the long way, to each point of interest. The famous Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) built in 1600 is a beautiful enclosed white bridge connecting the prison with the Doge’s Palace over the Rio di Palazzo. Although very busy, the best vantage point to see this limestone beauty is from the Ponte della Paglia, along the main promenade. Give it a few minutes for a spot to open up and you can pick up your dog while they sigh about yet another photo op in front of a famous Italian landmark.

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Tikka getting ready to meet the pigeons of St. Mark’s Square


Just a few minutes on from this spot brought us to St. Marks Square where a pigeon adventure awaited us. We had grandiose ideas of having Tikka run through the pigeons with joyful abandon under the flourish of wings and a breathtaking backdrop of Italian architecture. Instead, we had a husband covered in birdseed and a little dog puzzled that pigeons were not afraid of her. In a just a few moments, Tikka went from, ‘Yay!Pigeons! This square is the best thing ever!’ to ”What the !*?! , Get me away from these crazy ass birds!”.  This is one of our favourite memories, laughed about over a few glasses of wine. Don’t worry it’s not all Hitchcock birds in your face if you go there with your dog, just avoid the people trying to force birdseed in your hand and on your head.

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Tikka meets the pigeons in St. Mark’s Square

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Tikka hides from the pigeons at St. Mark’s Square

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Tikka decides pigeons are no longer her thing at St. Mark’s Square


After settling down, Tikka was right at home walking around the outside of Doge’s Palace, home of the utmost authority for the Republic of Venice. This amazing building was reconstructed in the typical Venetian gothic style of the 14th century and stands with views facing the canal and St. Mark’s Square. Although it’s not allowed to bring dogs inside, we never missed out as there is so much to look at with all the intricate exterior details and mosaics adorning the building.

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Doge’s Palace with Tikka. This may be our favourite photo from our trip.

For one of the most amazing meals during our stay, we ventured over the wooden ‘Ponte (bridge) Accademia that crosses the Grand Canal to the Dorsoduro area of Venice and explored the artisan shops nestled between all the museums, eventually finding our way to the Giudecca Canal.

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Shopkeeper waiting to greet tourists.



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Tikka at the Grand Canal


Leaving lots of time to explore and ‘get lost’, we arrived just in time for our reservation at Ristorante Riviera. This modern Venetian meal was true indulgence but also cozy at the same time. We ate fancy appetizers that belonged in an art gallery and feasted on pasta dishes heaped with freshly shaved truffles. A few waves to the passing cruise ships with our glasses of wine, we settled into a long lunch while Tikka snoozed at our feet on the warm stone promenade.

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Lunchtime at Ristorante Riveria

Our longest self-guided walking tour was a round trip adventure to the Cannaregio district of Venice that contains the Jewish quarter.  In the early 1500’s the Jewish ghetto was formed and was the oldest in the world. This is a quieter area and some may even find it ‘drab’ compared to the other districts, but what we found was a calm respite from the throngs of tourists and enjoyed the silent and beautiful views of the canals and residences in this area.

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Peeking down one of hundreds of little canals in Venice

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Dockside in the Cannaregio district

Our 3 hour walk (snacks and beverage stops included) took us over the famous Rialto Bridge where we walked through Venice’s oldest market established in 1097, through Cannaregio and back through the San Polo district. We then took Tikka over the Consitution bridge to spend some time in the restored Papadopoli Garden – Hooray, we found some grass!

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Proof that there is grass in Venice. Tikka at the Papadopoli Park.

Wrapping up our glorious stay in the ‘City of Bridges’ and our last night in Italy, Tikka kindly treated us to some gelato and a sunset walk along her favourite promenade. This quieter stretch of Riva degli Schiavoni, heading away from St. Mark’s Square, takes you to the Rimembranze Park at the western tip of Venice.

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Antique store along the Riva degli Schiavoni. How much is that doggy in the mirror?

As our furry traveler visited with the local canines along this popular dog walking promenade we chatted about our wonderful three weeks in Italy and how easy it was to bring Tikka along with us. Italy is one of the most dog friendly countries to visit and traveling with your pet allows you to experience places and local culture in ways you may not think of.  Ciao!

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Do as Tikka does – Always have time to stop and enjoy the many flavours of life 🙂


Thank you for joining us on our epic road trip around Italy with our dog, Tikka. You can catch up on all our stops on our travel page: Dog-Friendly Travel

Pompeii Pup – Visiting the Roman Ruins | Dog Travel Italy

There are a lot of famous sites in Italy and with only a few weeks to explore a country with so much history and culture it’s hard to pick and choose what to spend time exploring and what you have to add to your ‘next time!’ list. When planning our road trip around Italy with our dog we were ecstatic to learn we could take Tikka to Pompeii with us (small dogs only), it quickly became a ‘this time!’ stop.

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View coming over the mountain to Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius looming in the background.

It was an amazing day, starting out early by meeting up with some good friends who joined us from England, then driving over a scenic, windy road taking us over the Amalfi coast mountains from Ravello, to descend on Pompeii as the gates were opening. By getting a jump on the crowds we were able to find parking close by, at the Piazza Immacolata entrance and beat the heat. For only a couple Euros we parked in front of a restaurant, listened for a couple minutes about how wonderful the food is there while we paid for the spot, used the washroom and bought some water and some guides.

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Guidebooks and water in hand – ready to explore Pompeii with our dog, Tikka.

Pompeii was an incredible Roman town of 11,000 inhabitants, locked in time by the destruction caused from a neighboring  volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, around 80AD. The spewing ash that erupted from the crater covered the town and preserved the people, structures and even the culture of the Pompeii citizens. Unlike visiting a museum or a smaller heritage site, you are fully immersed in the day to day life of an ancient time as the area is just so huge.

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Unfortunate citizens of Pompeii caught under the smothering blanket of volcanic ash.

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Our little historian.

Walking through the endless streets, you can pop into houses of all social classes and think back to what everyday life was like. Then stroll up a main street to visit the hub of activity at the forum or imagine the games at the amphitheater. There is even a brothel to walk through with a menu of various services painted on the walls for customers to choose from.

That is an incredibly brief run down of what you’ll discover and describing this town and what you’ll find could easily become a novel. Staying on point, this is about bringing your dog along for the visit. The site is extensive and could be exhausting for people and dogs on a hot, overcrowded day. We gave ourselves a 4 hour limit (including a lunch stop) which only scratched the surface but was enough to get a really good overview. It’s a lot of walking and stopping to check things out so not very strenuous on us or Tikka, but going in the middle of summer could drain your mental batteries pretty quickly.

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One of the strays inside the Pompeii ruins, well fed and taking a siesta.


Tips for taking your dog with you to Pompeii:

  • Bring water and a travel bowl
  • Dogs are allowed in the food court – eat before 12pm to avoid the lineups and to get a seat.
  • According to the website, you are allowed to bring small dogs under 10kg. Big dogs are not allowed within the archaeological area. Animals who are permitted to enter the site need to be held with a leash, and taken in the arms of their owners when entering the buildings. In case visitors run into animals who are alone, please do not approach them. Please review the regulations for information on dogs and assist dogs.
  • Dogs must be carried inside the houses or closed in areas
  • Be diligent in looking out for strays. We saw 4 or 5 strays and just carried Tikka when we saw one to avoid any contact. This is their territory and respected their space.
  • Go early for less crowds
  • Mid June to Mid September has the highest temperatures – if you go during these weeks, go in the morning and make it a shorter visit

The second part of our day in this area deserves it’s own spotlight – we climbed Mt. Vesuvius and stared down into the belly of the beast that caused all this destruction…check it our here!

You can catch up on Tikka’s dog friendly road trip around Italy on the VanDoggo Travel Page.





Snow Day Goes to the Dogs | Dog Photography

Vancouver was hit this year with more snow than usual in the city centre and each time the flakes came down Tikka eagerly awaited going outside to have a good ‘ol romp in the white stuff. Unfortunately being right in the city core, it didn’t build up too much and would turn to slush and then ice faster than she would get her fill.


Dog Friendly winter trails at Mt. Seymour, Vancouver.


It was time to get her up onto one of the local mountains for a proper run in the snow, so we headed up to Mount Seymour on the North Shore for some fun. This area is becoming popular for snowshoers and there is a great little trail system that is dog friendly and very well marked. The paths were well packed down so we skipped the snowshoes this time (but very interested in trying it out soon. Hint.hint…an upcoming post). There were a lot of dogs that had also convinced their owners to take them up the mountain as well, and we were surrounded by pure furry happiness.


On Squirrel Patrol


This mini trip was a bit spur of the moment and we intend to get up there again and spend some more time exploring, take a lunch for the trail and try out those snowshoes. Any tips on snowshoeing with your dog?