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|Traveling with the whole family|
|by Jo Giraudo|
|September 22, 2010 10:27|
When Eileen of Decatur travels with her terrier-beagle-spaniel-birddog Doc, they use state-maintained rest stops for their breaks. They offer dedicated pet green spaces. And she never leaves Doc in the car while she stretches and uses the facilities. Eileen confidently walks the leashed Doc in with her, disregarding the “No Dogs Allowed” signs, and they are out before security can do anything about it. South Carolina and Virginia are Eileen’s favorite state-run rest stops.
For air travel, the airline-approved Sherpa Pet Carrier is home away from home for Bella, Denise of Toronto’s Coton de Tulear. Once in the soft sided bag, Bella is not allowed to stick even her head out, according to airline rules. Make your flight reservations over the phone when taking your pet onboard. And ask first if they have available space. Only so many animals are allowed to fly on each plane. Bella travels under the seat in front of Denise, her shot record in one Sherpa pocket and Kong toy in the other. Denise will slip her an ice cube now and then. Bella loves the vibration of the plane and sleeps.
Once you arrive at your hotel, make sure you are on the dedicated pet floor. There is a silent pact most dog owners obey in never complaining about another anxiety plagued, barking pet. Hotels tell you never to leave your dog alone, something that most travelers will say is impossible. If barking anxiety makes you not want to leave, order room service or call one of the nearby restaurants to deliver your dinner. Eileen has gone to the hotel restaurant, ordered a meal and had it delivered to the seating area just outside the dining room.
Remember to hold or restrain your dog when the bellman comes. They have a tendency to become possessive and territorial watching your bags be taken away by a stranger. And if you expect room service to be knocking, leash your dog and be prepared for barking when the stranger enters. But the smell of food should restore calm.
A few of the most pet-friendly hotel chains are Westin, Sheraton, Lowes and Hampton Inn. Ask if they provide dog beds, food bowls, treats or other specials services. Check out Spa Paws Hotel if traveling through Ft. Worth. You will be amazed by their pet pampering. They call it 5 Star accommodations for 4 legged guests. And always remember to ask where the dedicated green space is located.
It takes a little preparation and trip structuring, but traveling with your dog is often easier for some anxious and protective owners than leaving them in a kennel. It is becoming more and more acceptable. There is even one cruise ship, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, that welcomes pets. Be safe and sensible and the whole family can vacation together.
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