A cottage getaway for dogs

Dog on dock

Don’t get overexcited, but you’re going to the cottage this weekend. You’ll get to hang out with your friends, sleep wherever you want (even on the bed), and enjoy the best of cottage cuisine—raw steak, or ground beef mixed with kibble. Win! Especially if you’re a dog.

Most of the guests that Brendan Smalley hosts at his family cottage on Christian Island are canine. That’s because Smalley and his fiancée, Judy Furtado, run Dogtown, a Toronto dog-walking and boarding company. The idea of taking customers’ dogs to the cottage, for what Furtado calls “a total doggie getaway,” seemed like an obvious one. “We had some 
clients boarding their dogs with us, and we wanted to go to 
the cottage,” she says. “So we just packed everybody up.”

The dogs—the couple brings four to six at a time—are thrilled to go, says Smalley, who has cottaged on Christian Island for more than 20 years. “They have the same emotional response that I had as a kid: ‘Oh my God, we’re at the cottage!’ ” At the lake, the pooches do what any guests would: Swim, hike, lie in the sun, and relax around the A-frame cottage. “I’ll do anything within my power to make sure they’re having a good time,” says Smalley. Wow! Who’s a good boy?