Saturday, July 13, 2013

A dog's life can include travel!

Nick enjoys a romp at Harrah's Rincon near San Diego.

Make your journey fun, 

safe and smooth sailing 

when you're traveling

with four-footed pals

 Nora is not certain
she is enthused about a walk

during a break between flights. 

   





whether by plane

or car, these tips

will help you and pup enjoy








STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

Nick and Nora, Cookie and Keller enjoy a  break during Montana travel.

IF YOUR four-footed friend is part of the family, as are our Nick and Nora, you'll want to take them with you when you travel.
Whether you journey by car or plane, these few tricks from a lifetime of traveling with pets, are offered to help make your journey and your pup's more pleasurable.
FIRST, DO your homework.
If you're driving, make a plan for stops based on dog friendly hotels and motels.  There are many nowadays -- not the case 25 years ago when only a few hostelries accepted pets.  Now, pets may stay with you in many places -- even
Nick is at home with his toy, enjoying the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles. 
some fancy B&Bs, and in certain Hyatts, Hiltons, Ritz Carltons, Red Lions, Best Westerns, Ramadas, and so on.
We've taken our Yorkies to the beautiful Omni in Los Angeles, where they were given their own gift bag and special treats.
WE'VE ENJOYED the hospitality of a lovely dog-friendly wing at Harrah's Rincon northeast of San Diego.
First, driving with your pups:
*Once you've determined your route --  based on dog-friendly options -- make your reservations, asking for a room on a floor convenient to exiting.
*Don't plan to do more than 300 or 350 miles a day- that's plenty for both human and canine.
Nick and Nora are pooped but patient after a day on the road. 
*Give pup his own place of honor in the car, on his own comfy pillow or doggie bed.  If it's hot, make sure he has plenty of air from the conditioner, or a crack in the window.
*Take frequent breaks, at least every 100 or 125 miles. Walk a bit, to a creek or river, or in a pleasant park or rest stop.
*Have a couple bottles of ice water in the cooler and make sure you offer pup plenty of water both inside and outside the car. Bring his own water bowl if you've room.
*Minimize treats, offering a couple times a day, as a reward for playing catch with the toys you've taken along or walking with you.
A stroll on Fisherman's Wharf for Nick, Nora, Cookie.
*Have a separate tote bag for doggie stuff -- leashes, treats, enough kibbles for at least three meals. (No need to haul a 15-pound bag into the room each night, so leave the large stash in the car.)
*Be sure you have pup's medical documents safely packed in his tote. Make certain his shots are current.
*Include a favorite blanket or pillow to make him secure in the room. Let him socialize, if you normally do.  He'll make new friends on your walks. So will you.
*Once you're inside, set out his water bowl immediately and put the blanket on a chair or bed where he'll be spending time.  Let him get familiar with the place.
*Always carry a couple doggie pee-pads and put one in the bathroom just in case. Your pup will probably not have an accident, but sometimes travel can distress. Be forgiving.
*KEEP TO his schedule as best you can and don't leave him too long in the room.
Nick takes a snooze on the road in dog-friendly Carmel.
*We always tune in a TV program for Nick and Nora, usually the Discovery Channel, CNN or PBS. Classical music or jazz also seems to keep our pups calm.  Give a treat as you leave the room and thank pup for being such a good traveler.
On a plane, things are a bit more complicated.
*Make sure the airline knows you're "traveling with pet in cabin" and this means an extra charge -- usually $125 or $150 for coming and going.
*Purchase or borrow the regulation carrier provided by pet stores and airline approved.
*Get your vet to give you a prescription for a pet tranquilizer and use it a half-hour before you hit the airport.
Keller, Nick and Nora in Santa Barbara.
*GIVE PET a good walk before you fly, and feed him about an hour before you head for the airport. That way, pup will likely sleep -- with the food digesting and his prescription tranquilizer (we use only half a pill for our 10-pounders and it's plenty).
*Take off his collar before you head for TSA. Makes it easier because you'll have to carry him through x-ray with you (obviously, he must be taken out of his carry-on.)
*Take along an EMPTY water bottle in his sherpa, and fill it as soon as you clear security.
*Don't take him out of the carry-on -- it is forbidden. (I learned the hard way.)
*Talk to him often -- he'll be under the seat in front of you.
*Save your plastic cup. After you drink your cranberry juice or soda, use it to offer a drink to pup.
*Tuck the leash in your purse or pup's carry-on.
*Offer a treat once or twice during the flight and if it's a long day of travel, you may need to "re-up" the tranquilizer.
In Downey, Calif., at the home of friends, the Yorkies are part of the family.
*Tell your seat-mate that you have a doggie under the seat in case he yelps or causes a disturbance -- which may happen, but usually doesn't.
*Take advantage of airport "doggie stations" if you're traveling more than one or two legs and have long lay-overs. You have to go back out of security, then in again, but your pet will thank you.  Some cities such as Davis, Calif., Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle have cute little dog-walk parks right on airport grounds.
*Travel safely and with patience and humor!
AT LEAST one airline -- Alaska -- is considering giving mileage points for pet travel.  They should. It's expensive and we do all the work when the pet's in the cabin with us!

 Torrey Pines Glider Port attracts tourists, locals, at sunset.
COMING SOON:  A look at the magnificent Bair Museum in Martinsdale, a little treasure tucked away in the Crazy Mountains.  And summer fun with music, a world class glider port in San Diego, photography pointers and reveling in the natural world.
Explore, learn and live Wednesdays and Saturdays at:
www.whereiscookie.com

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