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The following post is written by me and brought to you in collaboration with — and there’s a special treat for my canine-loving readers at the end of it! Thanks for helping support Meihoukai in Wanderland.

One of my favorite things about being home for the holidays? Getting to spend time with Tucker, my family’s beloved cocker spaniel. You guys may have heard me mention him before, you know, in basically any and every post that takes place along the East Coast of the United States (Tucker travelers frequently with us between Albany, Philadelphia, and Martha’s Vineyard).

When I’m traveling, I receive frequent updates and photos of Tuck living it up back home. But it does little to cure my puppy lust. So I get by however I can — donating to or volunteering with canine-centric charities, or assaulting street dogs with hugs and snacks. Koh Tao, though, is one of the few places I really get my Fido fix, thanks to the number of friends I have there with pups I can borrow for snuggle sessions. And the thing about the dogs on this island — at least the ones with human companions — is that they always seem to be on holiday.

Like Charlie, who’s never too busy to stop and selfie. (Okay, perhaps technically I was selfie-ing and Charlie was looking confused, but let’s not split hairs.)

Dogs on Koh Tao

Or like Ilo, resident guard dog at Maya Bar on Sairee Beach. She basically only guards against fish, which she patrols tirelessly for during every waking hour. And she gets a lot of nap breaks.

Dogs on Koh Tao

Dogs on Koh Tao

Or like Sadie, the most energetic furball I’ve known in a long time, who loves to lead ambitious hikes all over the island.

Dogs on Koh Tao

Dogs on Koh Tao

And then there’s little Saya, who adores being behind the wheel (though we are trying to teach her about the dangers of drinking and driving, she hasn’t quite caught on yet…).

Dogs on Koh Tao

Dogs on Koh Tao

Dogs on Koh Tao

And speaking of drinking dogs, there’s also Elmo — lovably crusty Elmo is most often found lounging on the bartop at either Maya or Banyan bars, giving the proverbial finger to Health and Safety codes everywhere. Can’t stop the paaaaarty! (And I mean literally, you cannot. Elmo doesn’t move for anyone. You could plop that pup on the bar, walk away for hours, and come back and Elmo would still be there giving side eye to the more lively establishment patrons.)

Dogs on Koh Tao

See what I’m saying? Pups on permanent holiday (and if you want to help dogs on Koh Tao that aren’t as fortunate, it’s easy to do.) Saya and Sadie in particular were a big part of my recent trip back to Thailand, and all these little guys put a smile on my face on a regular basis.

. . . . .

In my house, we like to think Tucker is on vacation basically every day. But what do you, my fellow canine lovers, do with your pups when it’s your turn to take the holiday? Enter my friends at . DogVacay, which has been featured in the , the , and , is an online community connecting dog owners with more than 20,000 vetted and insured pet sitters across North America. If you’re as kennel-phobic as my family, I can’t think of a better option than leaving your beloved buddy in the caring home of a fellow dog lover — and at a fraction of the cost of keeping them caged somewhere.

And all of you dog whisperers saving up for your own next adventure? You can earn a few bucks hosting hounds on DogVacay, too. Just create a free profile, set your rates, pick which pups to take and when to take them.

And now for a very special treat that you don’t even have to sit to get (see what I did there?): has extended a $20 off code as a bonus for Meihoukai in Wanderland readers! Simply enter promo code “WANDERLAND,” valid through 1/31/15 for all first time users of the service. Feel free to call the concierge at 855-DOG-VACAY and let them play matchmaker — the team can recommend the perfect host based on your pup’s needs.

. . . . .

Do you have both pets and a travel addiction? Who takes care of your furballs when you’re on the road?

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35 Comments...
  • becky hutner
    December 19 2014

    Sorry but…
    I am in love with Elmo.
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      Never apologize for that, Becky 😛

  • Leah
    December 19 2014

    That’s the first time I’ve heard a dog described as “crusty” but it’s a pretty fitting adjective for a lot of the dogs in Thailand, I gotta say.
    Leah recently posted..

  • Helca
    December 19 2014

    great photos, i´m “dog lover” so i just can´t get enough of these photos… 🙂
    Helca recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      Clearly, me too 🙂 So glad to hear that, Helca!

  • Justine
    December 20 2014

    Being away from my cat is one of the hardest things about being away from home. I constantly pester my mom for photos of him. And nothing makes me happier than seeing his cute little face 🙂
    Justine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      I do the same to my dad, who Tucker lives with most of the time!

    • Rachael
      December 22 2014

      Hey Justine, we have lots of hosts who will watch kitties too (I actually use it for my cats myself and have someone stop by when I’m out of town). If you want help finding a cat-friendly host, you can call our Concierge (855-DOG-VACAY) and have them play matchmaker for you 🙂

  • Camels & Chocolate
    December 20 2014

    AMAZING IDEA. I love the concept! If we didn’t leave Ella with my parents (and her own blood fur family) every time we traveled, I’d be all over this…
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      Yeah, we are pretty lucky because with my parents separated they rarely travel together anymore so there is always someone to watch Tucker. Plus with one dog it’s pretty easy to have a friend take over. But back in the day when we traveled as a family often and had two pups, we used to drive our dogs HOURS away to this magical place called Pet Estates, all to avoid kennels! It was quite the hike and expensive to boot. I wish DogVacay had been around then!

  • Anna
    December 20 2014

    So cute! It’s like Airbnb for dogs!
    Anna recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      Haha, oh my gosh that is the PERFECT description! They should really put that in their marketing materials…

  • anju
    December 20 2014

    As a Koh Tao resident and Meihoukai companion in the multitude activities that she drags me into when she’s on the island, I back it all up! Those doggies are indeed the happiest chaps on a endless holiday but most of it loved and adored by the regular residents on the island. For them, here it’s not like you have a family, you have multiple!

    Nice post, Meihoukai.

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      You know that saying, “It takes a village!” about raising kids? On Koh Tao, I think it applies to dogs 🙂 Miss you!

  • Sally
    December 21 2014

    Ah I love this. The picture of Ilo is my fav. I hope they have a similar idea in other countries I can sign up too! My mum is chief dog, cat and pony sitter while I am away. She moans a bit but loves it really. I tell her its just like having grandchildren.
    Have you been to the Animal Welfare centre on Koh Lanta ? I have just been. It is amazing !

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      Sally, I’ve been dying to go to Koh Lanta for years in large part because I’d like to visit the Animal Welfare Center! Haven’t made it yet but definitely will someday!

  • Hannah
    December 21 2014

    Ah! I miss Elmo, so so beautiful, I love these dog profiles, beyond cute. Leaving my dog is the hardest part about going away for an extended period of time, it’s heartbreaking. Like you I try to get my canine cuddles in when I can when away. 🙂
    Hannah recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      Yup, saying goodbye to Tucker kills me every time. My little heartbreaker 🙁

  • Dogs make the world a better place! Such cute dogs! When my friend and I were in Belize this May, she ended up adopting a stray and brining her home to Montana. So glad to see so many happy dogs on Koh Tao! 🙂
    Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2014

      Wow, that’s an amazing story! Good for her bringing home a new friend 🙂

  • Caitlin
    December 22 2014

    Thanks so much Meihoukai for introducing me to this website!!! I just brought home the most adorable poodle puppy and I’ve been balking over sending him to a pup hotel (aka kennel).

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2014

      Aw, hopefully you can find him a great friend to play with when you’re traveling — let us know how it goes if you use it 🙂

  • Chalsie
    December 22 2014

    Ohhhh they’re all so adorable!!
    I really want to adopt a dog, but I don’t really have the space at this point. As for travelling often, I’ve got so many lovely friends and family members that would help babysit for me, whether I had a dog, cat or fish. 🙂
    Chalsie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2014

      That is lovely! I’m pretty lucky that with that as well, but I love that this service exists for people who aren’t so fortunate with animal-loving friends 🙂

  • GiselleandCody
    December 24 2014

    Another great post from the beautiful island of Koh Tao.

    The numerous times we stayed on the island we always seem to find ourselves falling in love with a dog (or two or ten)

    We will definitely pass DogVacay along to our travelling friends who have a furl at home.
    GiselleandCody recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2014

      There are SO many pups to love on Koh Tao! Hey, did I ever tell you guys I found your tag on the walls of the abandoned resort in Laem Tien? That was a fun find 🙂

  • Ligeia and Mindy
    December 24 2014

    We recently saw a local news report here in Florida stating that this time of year animal shelter employees go to work every day to find that hundreds of dogs had been tied to their fence overnight. Apparently, some people decide to simply leave their pets (who mostly get killed because of lack of space) instead of dealing with their responsibility of taking care of them. Can you believe that? We were shocked, especially with SO many options out there. Dog Vacay sounds like a great idea and it seems your dog is loved and was well cared for indeed. 🙂
    Ligeia and Mindy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2014

      When I lived in Grand Cayman, the photographer I worked for and I used to take photos of the shelter dogs for the adoption website. The shelter there — on the most economically prosperous island in the Caribbean, mind you — had to build a pen for just that purpose. They were coming in to so many dogs tied up outside in the mornings by people who were too embarrassed to bring them in during the day, they thought a pen would be safer for the pups left overnight. It absolutely broke my heart 🙁

  • Abi
    December 24 2014

    I’ve always thought I travel too much to be able to have pets…maybe not!
    Abi recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 26 2014

      As soon as I am settled-ish someday, a rescue pup will be my first and new best friend 🙂

  • Diana Edelman
    December 28 2014

    What a great idea to take pics and tell the stories of pups on the island. There are SO many dogs in Thailand like this!
    Diana Edelman recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 29 2014

      I LOVE all my pups on Koh Tao. A little time with them can brighten any day! When I was on Gili Trawangan, I really felt the absence of puppy lovin’ in my life!

  • Angie Away
    January 2 2015

    I’m one of those weirdos who smiles at dogs but won’t make eye with people… so I just loved this post! Such cute pups!
    Angie Away recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      January 3 2015

      I know, I miss these little guys as much as some of my human friends on the island. Ha!