<![CDATA[Travels With my Dog:  Observations on the Global Scene.  - Global Travels with a Dog]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2016 22:30:23 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Raja's Travel Dog Blog has upgraded!]]>Thu, 13 May 2010 01:53:59 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/rajas-travel-dog-blog-has-upgradedPicture

Raja's web world is growing with new features and more interactive fun.  Please join us at our upgraded site at: www.traveldogbooks.com .  And no worries- all past posts and guest blogger writing is easily and permanently available through an "Archives" link on the main page.

<![CDATA[A Member of the Wedding: Being Best Dog]]>Wed, 12 May 2010 03:42:04 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/a-member-of-the-wedding-being-best-dogPicture
Dear Readers, Have any of you had your dog at your wedding?… Please write in to the comments section and tell us how it went!

A few weeks ago we barked about how Raja was going to be Best Dog at a family wedding and we had all kinds of advice about how to have a dog at a wedding.  Were we wrong?  Were we crazy?  Was it the worst idea ever?

NO!  It was a great idea.  Good things happened.  The celebrant (what we called our official who did the ceremony) said that having Raja at the wedding meant that the couple wanted everyone who was important to them to be together.  Raja got a big cheer from the guests.  (Who gets that?)

Afterwards, everyone said it was the most elegant and relaxed wedding they had ever been to.  Why do I feel Raja was a little part of some of that?

Did we learn anything useful?  Yes…
  • Flowers on dogs either wilt or are eaten.  Maybe not needed beyond the ceremony.
  • A shawl doubles as a cozy nest when puppy needs a nap.  No need to drag in a dog bed.
  • Raja was so excited to be at the party that he didn’t want to walk outside, drink or eat… so no problems there.  If your dog is a ham like him, your dog may make it similarly easy.
  • Toward the end of the night when the ladies all dance together, the dogs also like to dance.  Nobody minds.
  • If you don’t get muddy and shabby spending time with your dog in your jeans, you will similarly stay well turned out when you are all dressed up.
Raja says a big, heartfelt “Thank You” to the new half of his family who were so gracious to him.  

<![CDATA[Spring Flowers from Travel Dog Books]]>Wed, 05 May 2010 15:16:16 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/spring-flowers-from-travel-dog-booksPicture
Sometimes Raja and I like to put down roots for a short while.  It only takes a few minutes to plant a seed and the after effects can be astounding!  Plus, in many cases, a seed that is planted reseeds for years, making a continually beautiful spot for a long time.

In honor of the concept of staying put, Raja and I are offering a free gift to our readers of a few seeds of either Heavenly Blue Morning Glories or Scarlet Runner Beans.  All you have to do is dig, plant, water and wait.  If you have a garden, plant them there.  If you have a balcony or a patio, get a sizable pot, fill it with dirt and plant away.  If you don’t have either, just find a sunny spot that needs beautification, work up a patch of dirt, plant and walk away.  (It would help if your spot has something for the vine to climb up, but a vine can trail along the ground too.) 

If you want some of Raja’s free magic seeds, all you have to do is send your seed request to us with your mailing address.  While we can’t guarantee which you’ll get… Scarlet Runners or Morning Glories… we can pretty much promise that each variety will travel at least 6 feet along, blooming all the way.  Morning Glories are not edible, but the young beans of Scarlet Runner Beans are most certainly edible… and if you let a few pods grow big, you’ll harvest more seeds from the dry pods in fall. (Same thing for the dry pods of the Morning Glories in fall.) 

Send your snail mail address to us at:  helenfazio@traveldogbooks.com.  And no worries, as you can see, Raja and I have nothing to sell and we’re independent spirits, so we don’t have any relationships with commercial mailing lists or merchandise spammers.  We just have two little heaps of seeds we want to share around the world while supplies last.  If you live in another country, we’ll be happy to send you seeds, but we cannot guarantee customs… although our guess is that they’ll arrive.  So let us know while the sun shines on your spring, because our paws are itching to be off again.

<![CDATA[Raja’s visits Tropea, Calabria in Italy’s Deep South]]>Tue, 20 Apr 2010 02:47:04 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/rajas-visits-tropea-calabria-in-italys-deep-southPicture
Go to any travel guide of Italy and look up Calabria.  Bet you $100 the book hardly mentions Italy’s southernmost region.  What you will read is that the South is less developed economically and the Mafia got its start in the South.  How dismissive!  Proves that whoever wrote that never, ever went there, right? You gotta go there, like Raja, to see for yourself! 

Raja took two trains south from Rome: first to Lamezia and then he changed to a small local rail system to arrive in Tropea, a medieval town on a limestone cliff over the absolutely turquoise Tyrrhenian Sea.  On Italian trains, dogs do not need to be in carriers; Raja had his own seat most of the way and he loved looking out the window at glimpses of the sea through a screen of olive and orange trees. 

The antique town itself is set on a cliff far, far above a deep beach with the quietest waves in the world.   The southern beach is separated from the northern beach and its modern marina by a little warren of grottos under a convent perched on an enormous rock.  What an opportunity for Raja to explore and have some doggy fun, and, as you guessed, nobody minds a dog playing on Italy’s beaches!  Two steep, long stairs in the north and south wind up the cliffs linking to the citadel. 

Tropea would be a great place to film Romeo and Juliet.  Its stony, meandering streets are lined with great houses, now apartments, with magnificent doorways and tile roofs.  Piazzas with fountains create community and residents stroll every evening socializing and flirting.  In the summer season, the town comes to life with swimmers and sunbathers, but Raja visited just at the magical monument before the season began.  What a great moment!  A local festival brought vendors, entertainers and shoppers from all over Italy’s southern towns.  Restaurants that had been closed all winter were just opening and the famous local swordfish was in season. 

Speaking of restaurants, you just cannot get a bad meal in Calabria, even if you get down on your knees beg for it!  Raja had a favorite restaurant:  Al Centro Storico on Via P. Vianeo.  He loved the service, the hospitality and the wonderful pasta.  The owners have a beautiful baby and two dogs, so they welcomed Raja enthusiastically.  Dogs can sit in any café in Tropea without anybody getting over excited. 

Please go to this link and read the first hotel review to find out more about a very rustic and cozy place to stay in Tropea: the Porta Del Mare http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g194939-d582171-r59680773-Hotel_La_Porta_Del_Mare-Tropea_Calabria.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

Don’t expect chains, don’t expect fast food, don’t expect machine-made products.  In Tropea, everything is artisenal, local and unselfconsciously good.  You and your dog should go!

Andreea and her family at the Al Centro Storico!
<![CDATA[Never be Afraid to Ask: Raja Visits the Vatican ]]>Thu, 15 Apr 2010 03:58:07 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/never-be-afraid-to-ask-raja-visits-the-vaticanPicture
Raja leaves the Vatican Museum
Raja was just in Rome for a few days and what we wanted to do most was see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museum. Did Raja want to see the Sistine Chapel?  Of course!  He loves art!  

You may be wondering how Raja got in to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum.  The answer is simple -  we asked permission. 

Once inside the daunting doorway through the walls of the Holy City, we told the guards that we would love to see Michelangelo’s ceiling, but we have Raja with us.  We told them he is a certified Therapy Dog who can visit nursing homes and hospitals in the US and that he is tame and gentle.  Raja did his part by looking sleepy but therapeutic. 

Can you imagine, the guards initially thought that we wanted to check him in the baggage room?  They said, “Oh no Signore, we cannot be responsible for keeping him with the coats.”  They were relieved when we explained that we didn’t want to check him, but that we wanted to take him in his travel bag.  Then the guards had a mini conference and they decided that he could go too, “Yes, OK, you will be responsible, please go ahead.  Enjoy yourselves.”  

The Vatican Museum consists of magnificent chambers and halls lined with artwork that lead, after an extremely long shuffle, past many mini-shops of licensed Vatican mementos, to the Sistine Chapel.  If you want to see the Sistine Chapel, any good art book will show you the images better than being in the actual room, which is dim and crowed.  You can't speak and you can't take photos.  BUT, it was an awesome privilege to be under a work of art painted, however much it has been restored, by the 16th century genius Michelangelo.   

This blog post isn’t really about how to take your dog to see the Sistine Chapel.  Honestly, most dogs would lose patience with the long walk to the final chamber.  Our theme is that you should never subvert yourself by giving up without trying.  Don’t be the one to tell yourself that your dreams are impossible.  Give others the chance to hear you and help you.  Every day I have been thinking of those kind and smart guards who concluded that mild mannered, non dangerous, art loving Raja could go through the Vatican Museum. 

Next blog we’ll tell you about Trastevere, one of Rome’s nicest districts, and begin our tales of Raja’s visit to Calabria in Italy’s agrarian south.

<![CDATA[Canine Probiotic Update & the New York Easter Parade]]>Tue, 30 Mar 2010 22:16:02 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/canine-probiotic-update-the-new-york-easter-paradeDo these two have anything in common?  No.  It’s just two topics. 

First, Raja has just returned from Rome and Calabria.  He had an amazing time and we’ll be barking about his dog travel in Rome to the Vatican (really) and his travels in Calabria in the south of Italy in upcoming weeks.  Last post we said he's trying canine probiotics to keep his tummy on track.  Was it the canine probiotics or was it the pasta?  Not sure, but Raja felt great and we’ll continue the probiotics as part of his travel fitness regimen.
Second, Easter in New York!   Please see our video below!
<![CDATA[Probiotics for Pups]]>Wed, 17 Mar 2010 05:12:37 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/probiotics-for-pupsPicture
If an army marches on its stomach… (and who said that anyway: Napoleon or Frederick the Great?)... well, maybe an army marches on its stomach, but travel dogs march on their intestines.  As long as they’re comfortable, they can trot for miles eating foreign foods and drinking foreign (bottled) water. 

Probiotics for people are the new health kick, but evidence suggests that canine probiotics will help dogs go the distance too.  Probiotics naturally live in the large intestine to destroy bad bacteria creating a healthy climate for digestion.  Giving more probiotics is like increasing and strengthening the troops. 

Canine probiotics are a different population from human probiotics, so you can’t just give your dog yogurt.  And, honestly, many of the over the counter probiotic capsule products deliver varying strengths and viability.   

If you feel your dog is challenged by antibiotics, an irregular diet, either good or bad stress, allergies or generally bad health, you may want to ask your vet to prescribe a daily dose of probiotics. 

(Dogs that should not take probiotics include those who have immune system illnesses, a bad case of gastroenteritis, or who will have intestinal surgery.) 

Critics of probiotic treatment say that ingested probiotics are destroyed in the stomach and small intestine and never make it to the large intestine.  That is why your dosage needs to be vet prescribed so that the content is dog specific, the CFU content of each capsule is in very high numbers and the caps are safely within their expiration dates. 

Raja’s off on of his walkabouts this week and he’s trying some canine specific, vet-prescribed probiotics to see how he feels and how it goes.  When on the road, he has to adapt to various cuisines and meal times.  We’ll report back.  And, if anybody can tell me who said that quote in the first paragraph, I’d appreciate it a lot. 

Not telling you exactly where Raja’s going, but here’s a hint… Ciao, baby… be barking with you in 2 weeks.

<![CDATA[Dogs in Wedding Season]]>Wed, 10 Mar 2010 01:50:40 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/dogs-in-wedding-seasonPicture
Raja loved dancing at a recent wedding.
Spring is the largest season for weddings- family events where we hope to share an extraordinary day with the people who have shared all the other ordinary days of our lives. 

How about the dogs?  Should our furry alter egos attend family weddings. Some people might say “no”, BUT Raja and I say “Yes, dogs belong in weddings.”  They’re members of the family.  Getting them ready is easy!  A silk scarf or a floral necklet is all it takes to make an everyday dog look stunning.  (Compare that to what it takes to costume and style the humans!) 

Dogs and wedding etiquette: Do dogs behave well at weddings?  That depends on how they behave normally.  Raucous and rambunctious dogs will follow their own patterns- patterns doubtlessly enforced by family norms and expectations… meaning, you will get exactly what you have allowed yourself to have.  Discreet dogs will be discreet.  People dogs will socialize.  Cuddlers will cuddle.  Biters will bite. (Uh, perhaps this last category can stay home.  Your call.  Make your own decision… you know what you want.) 

If you are bringing your dog to a wedding, do negotiate permission from the venue.  Feed your dog first and give him a generous walk.  Provide water.  Designate a dog walker and minder so nobody wanders.  Forgive paw prints. 

Benefits of dogs at weddings include:  
  • Breaking the ice
  • Occupying the children
  • Attracting singles
  • Keeping it real 

    Raja’s going to be best dog at a wedding next month.  It’s his second wedding.  He invites readers to share their opinions and requests advice for him on the big day.

<![CDATA[Weight Training for Peppy Dogs]]>Wed, 24 Feb 2010 04:24:40 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/weight-training-for-peppy-dogsPicture
Some training advisors for large dogs that need to build up muscle mass (hmmmmm???) advise walking your dog in a weighted vest.  (The dog, not yourself.)  Cesar Milan has allegedly recommended weight training vests or backpacks for high energy dogs whose owners think the dogs need to calm down.  Most authorities suggest the dogs begin with an empty vest and build up to 20% body weight.  Hardly any authorities want dogs to start this activity before 2 years old.     

The possibilities for abuse of the weighted vests are huge.  Only a limited number of dogs compete by pulling weights in canine competitions.  Skijorning and dog sledding are relatively rare and localized.  Obviously, building excessive strength in a large dog that does not compete suggests dubious activities and bloated egos.  But most of the weighted vests are used by dog owners who feel their dog has far too much energy- or at least more energy than the owner is willing to muster for walks and trips to the dog park.  The weighted vests are said to calm dogs down. 

Let me ask you… when you have to carry your brief case, a backpack and two bags of groceries for more than 2 city blocks, how calm does it make you feel?  How much scenery do you see?  Does carrying heavy weights make you want to walk further?  Or do you begin to long for Sherpas?

Since the weights are not recommended for puppies under 2 years old, the weighted vests appear just at the point that most dogs are becoming less frenetic and more stable in energy level and output.   This suggests that the weighted vests may not be so much about helping a dog stop leaping about, as for helping an unwilling owner walk less distance and commit less time to dog walks. 

Considering how much every single dog I have ever met loves to take a walk, the use of the weighted vests to fatigue a healthy and perky young adult dog seems to be the lazy choice that takes away the best part of a dog’s day.  And guess what, the lazy choice takes away one of the best parts of any dog owner’s day… taking a stroll in the fresh air with a pet. 

So what do you think readers?  Maybe the peppy dog and I are wrong… tell us about it. 

<![CDATA[Is Urban Seattle for Dogs?]]>Wed, 10 Feb 2010 22:02:18 GMThttp://traveldog.weebly.com/global-travels-with-a-dog/is-urban-seattle-for-dogsPicture
Probably, but not as much as New York or Paris- the most dog oriented towns in the world.  But never mind… back to Seattle. 

The attitude is dog positive for pets in Seattle, but it’s a dog rugged attitude as well.  Seattle styles itself to be about the great outdoors and every other downtown barista and polar fleece vendor will make it very clear that his or her real life begins on Mt. Rainier, generally around 13,00 ft.  Dogs, however, are trotting about everywhere, especially between 6 and 8 a.m. and 5 and 7 p.m., indicating that every other person in Seattle has a job and a dog… well almost.  And dogs can trot all over Mt. Ranier too, which I suppose Raja will want to do next time he’s out there just to bracket this blog post. (Remember when we were complaining that dogs couldn’t go to Muir Woods in Northern California?  The only stipulation for Mt Ranier is that dogs need to be on a 6 foot lead.  And this may seem restrictive, but not when you think about the native population of wolves, bears and cougars in Washington State’s wild lands.) 

For the downtown tourist, Seattle tourism offers a waterfront esplanade of gift shops, fish markets, and restaurants with evocative views of the Puget Sound- a fascinating coastal resource for the Seattle area.  Stroll your doggy throughout.  A free underground train links much of the downtown area and connects to other train lines to further points.  Seattle’s architecture is pretty cool… notice the walrus bosses on a downtown apartment building.  (Your dog may not care about this either way.)  Raja found a touristical shop he loved- but he’s obsessed with stuffed animals.  The plan of the downtown coastal vendor promenade is to serve both residents and tourists alike, although the recession has the area unraveling a little.  Go there and buy something, OK?  Also visit the International District- which is about Asia in the Pacific Northwest. Remember that the coastal northwest was settled with Asian residents and the cultural expression is very different from that of NYC’s Chinatown. 

One retail place we liked was the EMS flagship store with its own mountain bike trail and mock Himalayan trekking paths to try hiking boots.  What we didn’t like was the restrictive and somewhat prissy “Only Service Animals” sign on the door. C’mon, you’re pitching a wilderness lifestyle here and nobody brings a badly behaved dog shopping.  It just does not happen because it’s not practical.  But…. naturally we ignored the signage and everything went just fine for Raja.

Happy travels, happy trekking, happy Pacific Northwest!