Dog in vineyard

Caroline Golon, the human behind popular humor blog Romeo the Cat, shares the stories of pet owners who go the extra mile for their pets in this series, The Things We Do for Love.

American travel writer Paige Donner loved living in Paris with her dog, Idéale. But when Donner realized how much her little pup loved the French countryside, she decided to leave the exciting city life behind to find a better quality of life for her dog.

Trading City Life for Country Life

When Donner first adopted Idéale from the Bardot Foundation seven years ago, she knew Idéale’s small size and friendly demeanor would make her a good city dog. And she was. For a while, Idéale and Donner were happy. “There are a few nice parks in Champs-Élysées. And, as urban as Paris is, it’s pretty dog friendly,” Donner says. “Idéale loves sitting in outdoor cafes with me in the city.”

But over time, Donner realized just how much Idéale loved their weekend excursions to the French countryside and the vineyards there. “As soon as we start walking in the direction of the vineyards, she literally starts pulling me and panting in excitement and pulling against the leash,” Donner says.

Sensing Idéale might be happier with more space to roam, Donner started looking for a permanent residence away from the city’s hustle and bustle. “She loves going off leash,” Donner says of Idéale, “which really isn’t a good idea in Paris."

Dog in Paris

Eventually Donner found a place in the town of Champagne, where she and Idéale have gotten used to a slower pace and plenty of fresh air and time outdoors. Because of her work, Donner still keeps a small place in Paris but only goes into the city when she needs to.

The rest of the time, Donner and Idéale enjoy life in the small town near Idéale’s favorite vineyards, only a 10-minute walk away.

Unexpected Benefits of Country Living

It turns out that Donner’s decision has been good for both of them. Donner feels better leaving Idéale in the country when she’s traveling for work. In the city, she says, pet sitting is more difficult and expensive. In the country, having someone look after Idéale is much easier. “She is well cared for and can even stay in the house if I need to leave for a few days,” Donner says. “She has her yard and familiar terrain. I think it’s better for her."

Plus, living in Champagne has allowed Donner to find a new passion of her own: Champagne, naturally. The wine enthusiast is now working toward a specialization in the sparkling wine.

Donner says she and Idéale couldn’t be more content with their new lifestyle. “It’s just a better quality of life for her. She’s much happier in the countryside."

Read more "The Things We Do for Love" columns here. 

What do you do for love? We’re looking for the funny, sweet and special stories that will make other pet parents smile. Email us at [email protected] to share your story. Please put "The Things We Do for Love" in the subject line.