Guest blogger Renee and her husband have bought a whole huge RV and a whole huge SUV to make sure their three Shih Tzu dogs travel in a home-like environment as they navigate the roads of the American West. When Raja travels it’s only one doggy and a little Sherpa tote, but, when Molly, Gracie and Bella take to the road, it’s spacious elbow room all the way. For those of you with multiple dogs who want to move about the country, please take note of all the useful equipment Renee has selected to make sure her three pups don’t go off in three different directions. Over to you now Renee…..
We recently drove our RV to Colorado, to enjoy the cooler, September climate & fresh air, with mountain views. Because we don't like to leave home without them, this mode of travel makes perfect sense for us and our dogs. Traveling in the motorhome ensures that our Girls, three Shih Tzu, are always welcomed. That said, we also like finding alternative accommodations that allow us, as well as the Girls, to feel just as welcomed. We enjoy that kind of experience at the Jerome Hotel in Aspen. The staff is polite, professional & downright friendly! This year we enjoyed dining al fresco at Mustang's, where the wait staff was as attentive and helpful to the Girls, as they were to us, even offering to take our picture.
Because of all the room available to us in the RV, I bring everything that I believe will make the Girls' hotel stay a good experience for them, the staff and other guests. Leaving our RV behind in Breckenridge at the Tiger Run RV Resort, we load up the SUV and drive to Aspen. I feed the girls an early lunch and after a quick walk, they sleep together in their travel crate, most of the way to Aspen. We stop about 20-30 minutes before we reach Aspen, to walk the dogs and give them a drink, to make arrival at the hotel more comfortable for all of us. It's too time consuming to help the bellman organize our belongings, check in at the front desk and go to our room, before the girls, Molly, Gracie & Bella are taken back outside, for a walk. As we pull up to the hotel,(& stop ;) I take them out of their travel crate and put them into their stroller and zip them in. As I go about the check in process, I know they are safely with me & out of everyone else's way, while I attend to business. (If I had only one dog, I would simply hold the furbaby.) I point out, at check in, that most of the time the Girls will be with us, but to please call my cell phone, if they need us for any reason. They are also supplied with an emergency contact, for the Girls.
Upon entering the room, I set up their playpen and Xpen to fashion a sleep & play area for them, in the room, which they can be left in, while we're out. They have plenty of toys and their water bottle inside the area, and it is left open while we are in the room with them. I put the do not disturb sign on the door, but if I ever failed to do so and staff entered our room, our girls are safe, unable to escape, because they are confined to their special area in the pens and they have more room than being in a crate. I work with them before we leave home to help them remain quiet, as we leave the room & return, as it's an excitable time for them, and do not go to them until they are quiet. Since they aren't yappy dogs, this is a fairly easy task. Although it is not necessary, I bring linens to cover the bedspread. A king size duvet cover from home, folds flat and packs easily, for this purpose. Because we require canned prescription dog food, we bring a rolling ice chest and replenish ice, as needed.
Inside my purse, I carry a written explanation of our travel, with emergency contacts, in case anything happened to my husband & myself, to notify for the girls. I update my note when necessary, to say what RV park, space #, or hotel & rm. #, etc. to let someone know of their location. Located with their food, meds and supplements are detailed instructions, because of health issues. I also travel with grooming aids and health notebooks for each girl, which contain their Veterinary records. As we go out for dinner, I usually stop by the front desk with my name, cell phone #, and room number written down, to give to the clerk du jour. This step is strictly for my peace of mind. This year we met a Maltese, named Jack, staying just down the hall from us. Jack was vocal, when left alone. This encouraged our otherwise quiet trio to be on alert, and one of them to find her voice. Positioning their confined area between the television and the radio and turning on both, before we left was sufficient to stop her from "answering" him. We can now relax and enjoy our vacation!
Aspen is extremely dog friendly. We met big dogs, as well as small ones, at our hotel. Our hotel keeps water bowls for furry friends at their entrance, and you'll find this practice in front of many shops. We walk, picnic, shop & enjoy the outdoors, with the Girls comfortably ensconced in their pet stroller, wearing their harnesses. They are allowed everywhere without a problem. I always ask, before I bring them into a shop. Because there are three of them, I believe the fact they are fully enclosed, mesh zipped on their stroller, helps make them welcome in shops & outdoor cafe's. I bring the pet water bottle with us, as well as their leashes, & they are frequently taken out for plenty of exercise.
I once read to carry pictures of your pet, and this poses no problem for me, as they are in my wallet along with other family photos. These, along with their health records can help prove ownership. Once your checklist is compiled and routine established, preparing becomes a snap! It is no coincidence that you'll be welcomed back. Just a few thoughtful precautions can guarantee their comfort and safety and your peace of mind.
Raja and I want to bark a big thank-you to Renee for her second post with us about her adventures with Molly, Gracie and Bella. We love the way she shares all her special tips for being a good guest with a veritable menagerie. Renee’s stories confirm the glorious, nomadic, portable, adaptability of dogs who call home wherever their pack roams.
HAPPY TRAVELS NEAR AND FAR!
Barbara encourages Bailey to run down the ramp.
The notion of canine performance of feats of agility began in the UK in the 1970’s and spread to the US and around the world through the 1980’s. Dog agility events permit non pure breed dogs- as well as pure breed dogs, of course- to show what they’ve got. Plus they offer a venue through which dogs of all sorts can bark up against the idea that dog shows are for dogs to prance around in whilst only looking beautiful (um… what’s wrong with that, actually?). On the back side of agility trials, behind the scenes, are hours of fun and exercise playing with your dog as you train her to be a performance star. Or, from the canine side, hours and hours of running around making your human smile and getting lots of attention and praise. This week, Raja’s Travel Dog Blog features several agility stars, plus one up and coming blue ribbon winner. See them on Your Tube!The attached You Tube video shows Scamp, Cy and CT zooming through a flexible tunnel and dodging in and out of poles. Not only do Cy and CT do agility, but also they are therapy dogs and pet fashion models. Like the top human athletes, canine athletes donate valuable time to charity work and model their own clothing lines. (Check them out in retail at http://carolynsoriginals.weebly.com ) Raja insists I bark up that it should now be obvious to all doubters that Shih Tzus are not just for laps! (But they like laps too.) Scamp, Cy and CT compete on weekends at various trials, racing against their own records and staying fit and healthy. Meet me in the St. Louis Olympics!The 13th Annual Spirit of St. Louis Canine Games, open to all dogs and benefiting Samoyed Rescue, is happening Sunday September 27. There’s still time to sign up- and it’s all about fun, so no experience necessary. Is that cool or what?! http://www.stlsamoyed.com/uploads/2009_Entry_Form.pdfRaja’s friend, Bailey the American Eskimo Dog is going, but Bailey has had considerable experience. She, along with pup pals Jackson, Duffy, Georgie, Gilbert and Buster (all 6 have met through Dogster.com and the Games are an opportunity to meet nose to nose!) has been working at agility for quite a while. Bailey has never stayed in a hotel before, so this trip is the beginning of Bailey’s own Travel Dog adventures on the road! Bailey learns agility in her doggy daycare. She loves the A Frame, the Teeter, the Dog Walk and the Tunnels. See her pictures practicing at her daycare giver’s farm. Meet a rising star puppy athlete and her mentor!Little Cara the Shih Tzu puppy is just starting out following in her older canine sister Chloe’s paw prints in agility and therapy work. Cara’s finding walking on a ramp and running through the tunnel challenging and we can see her thinking about it watching her earnest little back She’ll likely pick all her skills up fast since she can follow Chloe who loves agility. Look at those flying, fluffy Bichon ears! Chloe and Cara’s human has an agility set up in her house so the girls can work out their routines on rainy days and off hours, keeping their svelte figures. Chloe also does charity work as a therapy dog. Now with Cara teaming up, maybe there’s a clothing label in their future.The motto of the St. Louis Canine Games is:Tap your dog’s talents and strengthen the bond of friendship while having fun! And that’s basically the motivation for engaging in agility activities with your dog. You, your dog, a sunny day and a bar to jump over. Go ahead! Find out about agility clubs: http://www.agilityevents.net/Buy equipment for your backyard or rec room: http://www.pet-super-store.com/pet-supplies/dog-agility-equipment/To find local events, google “canine agility” along with the name of your city, or ask about training and events at your vet’s office and local pet supplies store.
Here comes Cara!
Jill Cahr, a pet oriented writer and Billy Rafferty, a famous dog groomer, have teamed up to put together one of the most comprehensive dog care books ever: Happy Dog Caring for Your Dog’s Body, Mind and Spirit. Billy is a Certified Master Groomer and grooming show judge. Jill has been involved with animals in shelters and has enabled her personable young son, Ian, to raise thousands of dollars with his friends for pet charities. Billy and Jill’s joint project is 380 pages of very good advice written with cheer and energy. It would make a very good gift for a new or potential pet owner. Grooming is the way pet owners show their respect and love for their pets. The human touch values, maintains and communicates love and health. A vet once told me that most dog owners only touch the heads of their animals, so physical problems like tender spots, sensitive areas, skin conditions, or emerging lumps do not get detected. Billy and Jill advocate using grooming as an opportunity for careful daily inspection. A comprehensive chart showing which breeds or types have which kind of hair (39-41) leads toward another chart called “Hairstyles of the Furry and Famous” (44-45). The authors believe that each breed or type depends upon its natural coat to maintain insulation, warmth, and protection of the skin from sun. The authors do not advocate short summer hairdos for long-haired breeds because short cuts can expose the skin to sun burn and skin cancer and create an irregular grow out (46-47). Since Raja’s coat flows all year long, personally I felt vindicated against all the advice to cool him off by buzzing him down. (Thanks, pals.) And Billy and Jill ban those cold, shocking baths all the TV commercials love to depict as “just so much fun” with the dog, a tub and a hose outside (319). Bravo! While grooming is the gateway to a tactile, caring engagement with your dog, the authors also thoroughly and compassionately address dog nutrition, dog medical emergencies, dog safety at home and on the road, dog first aid, choosing a doggy daycare or kennel, fun activities with dogs and- Raja’s and my favorite topic- dog travel in cars, boats and planes. The authors have definite views on all topics and the book is unwaveringly clear about best practices, but they always advocate a level headed, analytical approach to the commitments of dog care: “A healthy dose of skepticism and common sense helps when wading through all the marketing puffery, vague claims and fancy packaging [for commercial dog food]. Look past the … vague endorsements and self certifications.” (79) Meaning, be self-referential and maintain your sovereignty over how you process product information. I especially appreciate Billy and Jill’s advice about yard care and want to share it with you here since flea season is upon us right now: The authors say: “Treat Your Yard” (and I thought, “Oh no, here come the chemicals.”) But no, they say … “Fleas like to hide out in the long grass and moist shady spots. Mow your lawn; remove weeds; clean up grass clippings, old leaves and other yard waste and remove all standing water. “ (193) Same for ticks. (And for those living in apartments, seek groomed areas for dog walks in flea season.) Also, as a first defense against fleas indoors, they want you to vacuum all the time. OK, well that works better than anything. Happy Dog: Caring for your Dog’s Body, Mind and Spirit is a labor of love for the authors. They value our commitment to our furry family members deeply and offer this meticulous guide to help us all, combs and brushes in hand, along the path to fun with our happy dogs. While Raja says, sorry Billy, he will never really be super happy about baths, he appreciates all Jill and Billy’s nurturing thoughts about pets and water and will do his best to see his frequent baths in a scrupulously clean (319) and rubber mated kitchen sink as my attempt to help him toward self actualization and comfort. Check it out: Happy Dog: Caring for Your Dog’s Body, Mind and Spirit $12.00 US, $20.00 CAN. And don’t forget Ian and his hard working friends. Read about them at: http://www.iansbeadcompany.com/
Some dogs have it all- and we’re not talking about Paris Hilton’s dogs, each of whom may own a trust fund and command a staff. We’re talking about well-loved pups living in ordinary homes, but gifted with extraordinary care. Here is Raja’s interview with Pookie, Chloe, Bella, Lexie, Brindy and Buttercup:
Raja: (Finally my opportunity as the anchor of my own blog!) I am asking the princess pups a few group questions and, then, a specific question for each.
Girls, what is the definition of a princess dog? Is it the looks? The attitude? The home in which she lives? Are princesses made or born? Would you mind if there were a very small pea under your bed?
Brindy: (Fluffs her fur) Her looks and attitude. The home does have something to do with it in that it is a loving home, with owners whose lives are completed by their little princess and there might be other dogs.
Chloe: (Adjusts her hat and veil) I know it's not true that a Princess can feel a small pea under their bed, it's not about being demanding or difficult, at least not in my case. Being a Princess is being treated well because I treat others well.
Buttercup: (Winks at Chloe because both pups use the same exclusive hatter.) I'm sure the home in which she lives is her castle and she has full control of it and her owners. She has them trained just they way she wants them- right there at her every beaconing bark.
Lexie: (Stands and twirls to make her point) Raja, look at all of us! We are all beautiful and we, regardless of circumstances, live in homes where we are loved and cherished. All of us were born Princesses!
Raja: For those of you who are, um, to the manner born, bred, or accidentally rescued into luxury… do you feel princesses have responsibilities, and if so what are they? Do you rule with an iron paw? Are you truly one of the “people’s princesses” doing therapy and charity work? Do you take care of your humans? Do you instruct?
Bella: I take care of Mommy. And I let her know when things are not going by my rule. Most of the time, I win. I have her wrapped around my fuzzy little sugarfoot, err, I mean paw.
Pookie: Princesses DO have responsibility. They must be strong enough, brave enough, to take care of their humans without getting caught at this! In my case, I have another dog who lives in our "palace" and to him is assigned the role of watchpup. This frees me up to spend time on the things that really matter....like being regal and gorgeous. And yes, I do rule with an iron paw....it's the only way! (Buttercup gasps and takes a sip of lemon aid.)
Raja: Lexie, I hear you style yourself as a punk princess who runs with some big dogs. Please tell us how you manage it all?
Lexie: Yes, Raja, I walk on the wild side at times. Thanks to the help of one of my favorite subjects, Mia, who styles my top knot, I am now known as the "Punk Rock Princess." We princesses have to let our hair down sometimes. (Lexie scans her paw pilot for deals at pinkpunkpup.com.)
Raja: Pookie, I hear you feel dogs such as yourself have a mission.
Pookie: I believe Princesses should be friendly toward all humans and give them a chance to experience what royalty truly is. As the plebian crowds ooohh and aahhhh over us Princesses, our humans get all puffed up and proud and feel good. When our humans feel good, they are more likely to hand out more treats!
It's a mission with many benefits. (sigh and a faraway look)
Raja: Brindy, you have been described as a Princess-in-Training. How’s that going?
Brindy: It’s tough living in a house of all boys. I’m a tom-boy too and that is why I am still a princess-in-training. But I do love to dress up in clothes. I have lots, but always welcome more… (hint hint, size 0, I like blue.)
Raja: Chloe, there’s a new girl in town in your house. How are you managing that? Noblesse oblige, or have you bitten that brat on the tail yet?
Chloe: I love my new sister, Raja. I was NOT sure at first, but once I played with her, we have become bestest friends. I would never bite her; Princesses treat others well so that I can maintain all the luxuries I am fortunate to have. And to be honest, Mom goes out of her way to make me feel special. I get petted first, fed first, snuggled with first.
Raja: (Sorry Chloe, I should have known you would never nip, even instructionally.) Bella, how about you? Recently you had a terrible encounter at the vet’s and it is rumored you didn’t bite. Any second thoughts on the biting part?
Bella: It's not very princess-like to bite but, if I could go back, I might give my crown up long enough to get a quick snip and snarl in. Then I'd pick the crown up and put it back on my precious little head, walking out with my head held high and my tail wagging all the way. (Bella demonstrates. All applaud.)
Raja: And finally Buttercup, lap of luxury now, but a dodgy beginning on the mean streets of Philadelphia. How did you get saved? I can just see you sitting in an alley wishing on a star!
Buttercup: Oh ... I have to tell you the streets of Philadelphia are truly scary! Thank goodness for Annie Trinkle from Animal Alliance. I was lost and lonely when I was found and taken to a high kill shelter. Annie goes everyday to rescue the pups that she feels can be re-adopted. I was on death row when she scooped me up and forever changed my life! I got a nice haircut and my picture was posted on Pet Finder... The rest is history... my mom applied and I have been forever worry free! Living the high life as the princess I was born to be!!
Lexie: If I may Raja, as I mentioned before, all of us are beautiful on the outside, but it is what's inside our hearts that make us revered as special princesses. We can be demanding, imperious and downright stubborn, Raja, but it is our sweetness, our ability to be everything to our subjects that make us so special.
Raja: Thank you Ladies of the Pink Paw. And thank you readers. Our point is that any home can be a palace and any doggy can assume the role of benevolent royal. Rescue us, adopt us, wish upon a star, and dreams come true.
*** If any readers wish to post their tales of grace under pressure, the attainment of a palace of one’s own, near escapes, or lucky accidents in the road through life, please tell us about your royal lives in the comments section.***