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Doggie Day Fair 2

Chillin’ at Sonya’s Garden with the doggies!

This post was filed under Dog Ownership, My Dogs, Pet Travel.

I’ve been wanting to post this entry for the past week, but I just didn’t have the time to because of work. I don’t normally like being bugged down by work, but we had quite a relaxing weekend last week so I was pretty much rejuvenated. You see, my husband Marc and I spent the previous weekend at Sonya’s Garden Bed and Breakfast with the two Shih Tzus, Shantee and Kubrick!

Shantee and Kubrick!
Shantee and Kubrick! by kutitots, on Flickr

Our other dogs, especially my two boys Harry and Choknat, hate traveling. They get dizzy even for just a very short ride. Shantee doesn’t get dizzy at all—she’s so used to traveling. Kubrick threw up at least once going and leaving Tagaytay—it’s his first long trip and he got all excited, and you know as well as I do that anybody can get dizzy moving around so much inside the car. Anyway, I’ll talk more about traveling with pets on different post, because this one is not about that.

Marc, Shantee, Kubrick and I would like to extend our warmest and deepest thank you’s to Sonya Garcia and her staff at Sonya’s Garden for their hospitality and kindness. Never before had my dogs felt like VIPs—Very Important Pooches—and we cannot help but feel a bit overwhelmed by the VIP treatment they’ve given us.

Shantee wants to doze off
Shantee wants to doze off by kutitots, on Flickr

Yes, folks, Sonya’s Garden is as dog-friendly as they come. It’s probably one of the most—if not the most—friendliest establishments to dogs we’ve ever gone to. While some are tolerable and designate pets to open areas, at Sonya’s, dogs aren’t just allowed in the gardens—they can go just about anywhere, even sleep in the cottages. You see, Miss Sonya is a dog-lover. She went out of her way to make us feel welcome—she even offered to give my dogs free grooming and assured us that she has dog food in case we run out.

But the best thing we love about Sonya’s is the fact that they treat their furry guests the same way they do human guests. We reserved a cottage and informed the staff we would be bringing the dogs along way ahead of time (about a month before our vacation dates). So you can understand that we would feel on the defensive when this other guest (who obviously hated dogs) complained loudly about how our dogs’ barking “disturbed” them. Their cottage is directly below ours, and this guy angrily yakked to the staff how they’re going to sleep when my dogs start to play and “make noise.”

Kubrick at the huge window of cottage lobby
Kubrick at the huge window of cottage lobby

First of all, my dogs were actually well-behaved and unusually quiet while in the cottage, doing nothing more than but sleep (the place was so relaxing that even the dogs couldn’t help themselves and doze off). This guy only heard Shantee bark when she thought we were leaving them in the cottage to eat at the dinning area. Other than occasional short barks whenever they want water or food, or they get surprised by fruits falling on the roof, that’s it. Their behavior was far from being disruptive, they behaved well for the simple reason that they know they were not in their territory. Unless, of course, if you hated dogs—barking of any kind will irritate you.

I was prepared to argue that my dogs were well-behaved and that I have informed the staff one month before of my pets. I would not easily agree to transfer to another cottage just because that guy apparently didn’t like dogs and failed to inform the staff his preference ahead of time. It explicitly states in the website that Sonya’s Garden is a farm (with free-roaming animals of its own) and that pets are allowed in the cottages. If he preferred not to be near guests with pets, he should have said so ahead of time, right?

My husband and I readied ourselves for a staff to come calling our cottage to negotiate. But none came. As it turned out, Miss Sonya already resolved the issue: she transferred the complaining guests to a different cottage. She seemed apologetic for those guests, and told us that there really are just people who don’t like animals. She kept us company during breakfast, and seemed particularly charmed by friendly Kubrick, much to attention-whore-diva Shantee’s annoyance 🙂

There weren’t that many guests on our second day, and that evening when we had our dinner, we basically had the dining area to our own except for a mom and her kids who adored Kubrick and Shantee. The staff seemed more relaxed, the absence of the aggressive guest evident (he and his companion were scheduled to check out after breakfast). Our server lady chatted with us a bit, and we learned that Miss Sonya prefers dog-lovers, that she had a belief that dog-lovers are more compassionate. We felt flattered, though we felt the same.

Marc and I also have preference for people who can find it in themselves to care for animals. It’s not easy extending love and compassion to a creature, and it takes more effort than usual unlike caring for a fellow human being. They do not communicate the way we do. Reaching out to bridge that gap must come from us, being blessed with a bigger brain, and that takes effort. Not many would bother bridging that gap, and for that, we feel those who do have a little more compassion to spare.

You will see that unselfish love for animals at Sonya’s Garden. Not only humans are welcome guests, but your dogs will be too. For a dog-lover like us, Sonya’s Garden goes beyond its famed “country living” and relaxed atmosphere—it’s a home away from home where even the furry members of your family are graciously welcomed with arms wide open.

For more photos, you can visit my Flickr photo set or watch the slideshow below:


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  • Your dogs are so cute, I love the pics. My family has been to Sonya’s Garden for a couple of times and its really a wonderful place, a real sanctuary. We also want to take our pooches but they are large mixed breed type of dogs, and we really don’t know if they are acceptable to stay in the place.

    Well, Nice post. Hope you can visit my blog sometimes to see them.

    http://www.pawsandbones.blogspot.com

  • Coolness! Do you know if Sonya’s allow big dogs as well?

    • Gail

      @meekerz: I think they do. As long as you can control him/her. They have a female Black Labrador there, and some aspins walking around freely. If your dog is sociable to other dogs and is well-behaved, I don’t think his size will be a problem 🙂

  • So cute! We just took our Yoyow to Prado farm (Pampanga) and she loved it. Just remember to bring bottled water. They get very thirsty. I fed her from my palms and oooh, the brat, she relished it. Let me share with you our Yoyow http://www.youwanttoberich.com/2009/07/01/growing-up-yoyow-a-maltese-tale/

  • Beachcoffee

    Hi! It’s good to know Sonya’s is pet friendly! I take my dog with me everywhere. We’ve been to Batanes and Palawan and most of Luzon together. Would you know of a site that lists pet friendly accomodations and establishments? Thanks!

    And your cutie pies are adorable!

  • well..indeed..your dogs are so cute…it is a good thing that you take them on a trip…i hope i could have a time to bring ny dog on other places…

  • anna

    wow, thanks so much for this info! i’ve been looking for pet friendly vacation spots online for the longest time! 🙂 i do hope my boys (both chihuahuas) enjoy as much us your babies did 🙂

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