Earlier this summer I traveled more than 3,300 miles in the car with my shih tzu, Jeremiah. We packed a lot of activity into a 10-day excursion, including visiting people I’d not seen in four decades. Despite his start at a puppy mill, Jeremiah is an exceptional traveler! We’ve never put on as many miles on a companion vacation like this, so I wasn’t sure how he would handle the trip. Some dogs don’t do long-distance very well; others love the discovery and newness of such adventures – Jeremiah falls into that category, and I’m grateful.
During our vacation, we visited gravesites of ancestors I never knew as well as those of friends departed much too soon. We met with people I’d not seen since I left my home state of Iowa 41 years ago and those I’ve visited within the past decade. We drove past old homesites, visited camping and picnicking areas I experienced as a child, and met up with people I worked with more than 20 years ago. We spent time at national wildlife refuges and state parks, encountering various wildlife species, and visited historical sites that I’ve wanted to see for years but never had opportunity. All the while, my little four-footed companion either slept soundly in the back seat of the car or spent some time near me in the passenger seat. We stopped for lunches, potty breaks, and walks. Jeremiah was a hit with people wherever he went, helping us to socialize with other travelers as well as with the friends from my past. Even one motel manager struck up several conversations as Jeremiah and I walked in and out of the building.
Pets Help Us Meet New People
Pets bring out the best in many people. They help us connect with one another. Who can resist the cute faces, the sloppy smiles, and the wagging tails or soft purring of such creatures? Whether you travel with a dog or a cat (I encountered one couple doing just that!), animals draw humans to one another – it’s one of their special gifts.
This summer, whether you do a long vacation or a short staycation, consider taking your dog or cat with you. Our animals miss us when we leave them and many, as related above, enjoy the adventure of travel. If your pet is one of those, highly consider taking him/her along. Yes, it’s a bit of work, but you might just make new human connections. And certainly, your adoring pet will enjoy spending that adventurous time with you!
Plan Your Pet-Friendly Vacation
Here are a few things to plan regarding pet travel in the car:
Jeremiah and I had a great time on our summer vacation, and I look forward to many more travels with my buddy!
Read another traveler’s thoughts on vacationing with her pet here:
For more travel tips for vacationing with your pet, visit these websites:
I will soon be embarking upon a summer vacation – how about you?
Summer officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere last Friday (June 21). Along with the longest day of the year comes warmer temperatures, sunshine mixed with rain, and travel, near and far. My dog Jeremiah often goes with me on extended weekends and longer vacations. Whenever he sees suitcases being packed, he knows something is up (so do the cats, but they are homebodies, so even though they like exploring the luggage, they never worry they will be going along for the ride!)
Jeremiah doesn’t worry either – he LOVES car rides! I’m blessed to have a dog who curls up in the back seat and sleeps during road trips. Jeremiah doesn’t mind travel, including long distance trips. Last year it was Oregon, to visit the Pacific Coast and to meet up with family for a reunion. This year it’s Iowa, meeting up with former classmates for a mini high school reunion (not everyone can be there at the same time, but the ones I will share time with, I’ll be grateful to see!)
Many of us plan summer trips, whether those are outdoor outings like camping or visiting large cities and staying in specialty hotels. Some of us want our pets to accompany us on those trips. There are several helpful websites for those traveling with pets, whether that travel takes you by car or in an RV. There are also websites for locating pet-friendly accommodations, restaurants, and activities.
Below you will find a few helpful sites if you’re traveling this summer with your pet:
A Resource Guide for Pet Safety While Riding in a Car:
A Guide to RV’ing With Your Pet:
A Resource Guide to Traveling by Air with Your Pet:
A Website About Chain Restaurants That Allow Dogs:
A Website That Lists Pet-Friendly Accommodations, Restaurants, and Activities:
A Blog/Guide to Road-Tripping with Your Pet:
Check out these resource guides and websites before you embark on your next excursion with your beloved furry companion. And remember to NOT leave your pet in the car during these hotter days!
Last fall my community opened a fenced-in dog park, the first secured setting specifically for dogs and their humans in town. Although the community had a dog park for many years, it was not completely fenced, and therefore, not secure. In fact, the North Platte River runs next to the park and several dogs have drowned there.
Good for Residents and Visitors
Throughout the nation, dog parks are popular not only for community residents (two and four-footed), but also for visitors to those communities. For example, in Wyoming (the state in which I reside) next to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter is the Nancy Mockler Community Dog Park. This dog park provides highway travelers on I-80 or I-25 ability to rest and stretch their legs … and to provide the same for their traveling furry companions. Rock Springs, Wyoming has the Bitter Creek Bark Park off I-80. This fenced-in dog park includes a water feature and small lake, nice amenities on dry, hot days.
With more hotels becoming pet-friendly, having a dog park in the community is an added benefit for enticing travelers to choose to stop in that town. Having a dog park, especially a fenced-in one, is welcoming to travelers with dogs because people like knowing their dogs are safe. An enclosed park keeps dogs from running away and from running onto busy streets. And, if you're a visitor to a community, one of the last things you want to worry about is your dog being lost!
Dog parks also provide socialization opportunities, again for both the dogs and their owners. While walking or playing with one's dog at a park, a person is likely to engage in conversation with other dog owners … and the dogs are apt to play with one another, running through the park or fetching a ball or other toy. Studies show people who have dogs are more outgoing and engage in more socializing because, well, like with our kids, we dog people like to talk about our furry family members!
Having a dog park provides great opportunities for exercise for both canines and their humans. Getting outside with our dogs to walk, to run, to play, provides our dogs with activity they need for a healthier life … and gives us people exercise and better health as well. And, exercising with our dogs helps strengthen the bond we share with them.
Separate Spaces for Different Dogs
It's my hope my city leaders will create more fenced-in dog parks in our town, and I hope the next one will provide a separate area for older, less active, and/or special needs dogs. Billings, Montana, for example, provides two sections within one large dog park (total of eight acres in size!): one area for active and larger dogs, and a smaller area for the older, slower, more shy, and for disabled dogs. I have a 17-year-old, deaf, nearly blind cocker spaniel, and when we are in Billings, we take him to this portion of the park, while our energetic, eight-year-old springer spaniel rushes around the trees and rock formations alongside more agile labs, boxers, and mastiffs. Having these two separate areas works well for our furry family.
Find More Information
For your summer travels, find out where other community dog parks are located by visiting http://www.bringfido.com/attraction/. You can also find pet-friendly hotel listings on this site.
Since we're on the subject of traveling with pets, let's consider visiting national parsk with our pets. Summer visitation at many of America’s national parks is in full swing. People are sometimes unaware of the rules involving pets and pet owners at these national treasures. As I prepare to embark upon a Grand Teton and Yellowstone adventure very soon, and a fall excursion to several Utah parks later this year, now is a great time to review these guidelines.
Pets are welcome in our country’s national parks and can hang out with their humans at picnic areas and campgrounds. However, there are some places they cannot go and there are rules that travelers with pets should be aware of. Those include:
Speaking of accommodations, are there places inside the parks that allow people to stay with their pets other than the campgrounds? In some cases, yes. Hotel accommodations in Yellowstone, for example, are not pet-friendly, but a few of the cabin facilities inside the park do allow pets. Additionally, just outside the national parks’ boundaries are gateway communities in which many hotels can be found, and many of those are pet-friendly. Prepare in advance to review the communities’ lodging options and investigate ahead of time whether or not pets are welcome. Look and book in advance!
Although the parks have similar guidelines because they are federal entities, different parks may have some different pet policies. To learn about the regulations in the park you’d like to visit, log onto the National Park Service’s website at www.nps.gov, find the park you’re interested in, and review that park’s particulars regarding pets.