Sunday, December 20, 2009

Staying Overnight at a State Rest Stop

While driving across country in a car or a camper van, you may find yourself lost (OK, I found myself lost) and not close to a hotel or campground. This almost happened to me. I did finally find a campground that was the worst I'd ever been in. I wasn't even real comfortable walking Seymour. I would have felt more comfortable staying at a truck stop or rest stop.

So, I started watching the signs in the rest stops along the highways and found that some allow you to stay overnight and some don't. I did a little more research through "google" and found a longer list of rest stop information. The website I dug through was Below are many of the States with rest stop details. Some say "as posted" so it will depend on which place you stop if overnights are allowed.

I do have to say that I met a woman who said she stayed at about 10 rest stops in different States while traveling in her car a few months ago and she was never asked to leave. So, if you are in a State that says they don't allow overnights and you see other cars there, I would probably join them if I was tired enough - with my doors locked, of course. And with a handy can of wasp spray that can substitute for pepper spray. This is important to me since I have to leave my car periodically to walk Seymour.

Arkansas - allow overnight parking
Texas - as posted
Louisiana - as posted
Georgia - No overnights
California - as posted
New Mexico - as posted
Nebraska - No overnights
Tennessee - allowed in rest areas
Pennsylvania - No overnights
North Carolina - as posted
Oklahoma - allowed in rest areas
Ohio - No overnights
Wisconsin - No overnights
Florida - No overnights
Colorado - No overnights
Mississippi - No overnights
Nevada - as posted
Arizona - permitted unless posted otherwise
Iowa - as posted
Michigan - as posted
New York - as posted

I'd love to know if anyone has stayed overnight at a rest stop in a State that says "No overnights". I plan to keep this list with me in my van on my next long distance trip.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wimberley, Texas

This small community is mostly pet-friendly. I have taken Seymour into many of the shops - carrying him - without a problem. I always ask before going into each store the first time, just to be sure pets are allowed. I found one store that agreed to let me bring him in, but I could see that they weren't quite comfortable with it. I was lucky that Seymour was quiet and well-behaved in my arms as I browsed and I did make a small purchase. Hopefully, we helped them to be more open to pets. As a tip, when Seymour is dressed in a sweater or cute shirt, he seems to be more accepted in the stores. I'm not sure if it's because he looks more human or just looks cute - either works for me!

Continuing our shopping, we found an area called Garden Gate Shops just in back of the main Square of stores. This is currently made up of Legacy Hatters, Country Classics and Bent Tree Gallery. All of the shops there welcome pets but the Gallery stands out as the most pet-friendly. There was no problem walking my dog into the shop - on his leash - as I check out all of the local artist's works. On the porch of the Tea Room, which includes a coffee shop and more art, Seymour will always find a bowl full of water. It's the little things that stand out and that water bowl was so unexpected and thoughtful, I knew I would shop there often. Seymour just finished drinking and was ready to shop when I tool the picture!

When you get hungry, both restaurants on the Square have outdoor patios where they allow pets. Wimberley Cafe is on the Square and Inoz' is across the street. Sitting in a restaurant (even if it is outside) is a nice change from having to get a take-out meal or drive through a fast-food restaurant because you have a pet.

If you want to give your dog a break from shopping to enjoy some sniffing of nature, there is a small park and walking trail along the water just a few shops north of Inoz'. It's one of Seymours' favorite places to just be a dog.

Overall, Seymour and I have enjoyed our shopping trips in Wimberley.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Final Thoughts on Our Trip

I felt that I had almost everything I needed for Seymour on this trip. I was especially glad I had the Purse/Carrier because it did come in handy a few times. I used the bungee cord quite a bit. When I pulled into my camping site, I always tied Seymour to the van door handle or a close tree while I set up the camper.

What I should have brought, although I know I could have purchased some, were the Pet cleaning Wipes that I could have done a quick wipe down of Seymour. He always seemed to find something to roll in while I was setting up the camper. For a few days, I thought I was the one who stunk, even after I had taken a shower. Then I realized that since Seymour was always around me, I was smelling him. I had a Wet Wipe and used that but next time I will bring Doggie Wipes.

I also read in a AAA book that you should bring a picture of your dog in case they get lost. I think that is a great idea. In fact, possibly printing the picture on the top of a sheet of typing paper with the basic info about his under it would be an even better idea.

For now, the next few blog entries will be about Pet Friendly places near home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Louisiana to Mississippi with Seymour

After leaving New Orleans, I drove to Jackson, MS to see the Capitol. It was getting late so I had called ahead for reservations at a State Park just outside of the Jackson city limits. It was really difficult to find, even with a GPS so it's always good to ask "Can I just put the address into my GPS and find the park?" Their response was "no" and they gave me a little better directions.

The park was on 500 acres and our spot was right near the restroom and next to the lake - really pretty. I walked Seymour around the camping area but noticed when I got the trails they had signs that said "No dogs allowed". That was a little disappointing. I think it would be easy to put a little pet litter station up with plastic bags and a sign to tell pet owners to pick up after their pets. The only other thing I didn't like about the park was that the bathrooms had no soap at the sinks. Unfortunately by the time to see that, it's too late.

The next day was a work day so the streets were busy and I couldn't find parking. I drove past the Capitol and down a few recommended streets and then headed out. I was planning to go to Vicksburg since it was close to Louisiana and started me on my way home - and had a Casino that had an RV park.

On the way I saw signs for Natchez Trace parkway, which I heard was a beautiful road. Just as I started down the parkway an inviting sign said "Clinton Olde Towne" and "Clinton Welcome Center" so I changed my mind and headed to the Welcome Center. The grounds were pretty and there was a nice walking place for pets. Seymour appreciated getting out and smelling some new smells. He couldn't come in the Welcome Center with me but the couple working there were so enthusiastic about the town that I decided to check it out. The main street is part of the Main Street Revitalization Project and it was really nice - brick paved roads, cute shops, and a beautiful college campus called Mississippi College. I was told that this was starting to be an artist's community (my favorite) so I walked Seymour around until I saw a place called Wyatt Waters Gallery. I went in with Seymour and the artist was there - painting - and his wife an another man were there. They all made a great fuss over Seymour. We ended up talking for at least 45 minutes. This was an unexpected adventure - and again Seymour broke the ice.

We finally left and I drove down Natchez Trace parkway for about 25 miles and then went on to a Good Sam's RV part associated with a Casino in Vicksburg. This was the most I paid for a spot - $22.50 but it did include a free breakfast buffet at the Casino the next morning. Also, the Casino had a bus come to the park and the nearby hotel to pick people up. The park also had a great place to walk Seymour so again he was happy.

We stayed one more might at the $10 RV slot at the Isle of Capri on the way home. This time they gave me a key to the health club so I could take a shower, exercise and use the sauna. (No one told me about that the first time). For some reason, this last night was extra noise and I could not sleep with the train and the loud cars in the parking lot. It was a bargain and there were nice places to walk Seymour but I think I would have rather been in a State Park.

So, overall I think my trip was better because of Seymour. I might have missed a few things due to the "no dogs allowed" rules but what I found instead were wonderful people, beautiful parks and amazing scenery. I can't wait to do it again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Traveling to New Orleans - First Part of Trip

My trip started one day late due to me losing my only set of camper keys and having to get another made. I had everything on my list packed, but didn't include "get keys". With the way things have worked out so far, leaving a day later was probably a good thing.

Seymour is a good traveler and does make me stop often to take walks, which is healthy for both of us. He had his travel crate but only spent about 1/2 the time in it. The rest of the time he was on my lap - and I know that isn't safe. In fact, I understand that in Canada - and probably some States - it is illegal.

The first night we camped at the Isle of Capri Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana. They actually had about 8 spots with electric hook-ups right in the parking lot. If you look carefully at the picture below you will see the line of campers in the parking lot. I was lucky that there was one available. It cost $10 but if you joined their club, you got $20 in gambling money. There was no problem walking Seymour around the grounds and the Casino is a Riverboat so we were steps from the Lake.

I hooked up the camper, turned on the A/C and let Seymour relax while I "lost" my $20 and a little more at the slots. It was actually very relaxing and I didn't hear any noises during the night. There is a train nearby but again I only heard it before bed. Seymour has taken to burrowing under the blankets and sleeping with part of his body touching me - and I"m not complaining!

Back to the Casino -the rest rooms were inside the front door so it was not a very far walk form the camper. Luckily I do have a potty that I sometimes use. There was no place to take a shower so it was a wipe down morning. But I would go back.

The next day we drove to Baton Rouge and I walked Seymour all around the Capitol grounds with no problem. In fact I know that more people talked to me because of him than when I was traveling alone.

When it started getting late, I used my GPS to search for State Parks nearby and ended up at Tickfaw State Park in (or around) Springfield, LA. It was a beautiful place with so many trees that you felt like you were alone. The rest room was clean and the showers were hot. There were get walking places for Seymour. He had to be on a 6 ft leash at all times but other than that, there were no restrictions. Thanks for my walks with Seymour, I met some really nice people and even planned to meet at a State Park near New Orleans the next afternoon so we could go sightseeing together - with Seymour of course.

So far, traveling with Seymour resulted in no real inconveniences.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cross County Camping with Seymour

This is a consolidation of my first cross county trip with Seymour. I would say that 90% of it was great. Not being a planner, I knew where I wanted to end up but not where I would stay along the way.

I really lucked out finding Cloud Nine campground just outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas. It was exceedingly pet friendly. They had a little pet disposal container with plastic bags for you to pick up after the "poop". They had a sign reminding people to pick up but it wasn't like some of the State rest areas that spent most of their money on signs and had little left to make a nice place to walk pets. This campground also had a great pet walking trail. It wasn't long, maybe a total of 1/4 mile but Seymour loved it. There's nothing like new smells to make your vacation memorable.

I also stayed at Mammoth Cave National Park. I got in late and there was a sign to pick your camp site and put your money in the locked container. I think it was $12. There were no hook-ups but there was a really clean bathroom with showers. Seymour could walk along any path but they did warn that there could be rattle snakes. Needless to say, I kept a flashlight with me at all times.

On my way back to Texas, it was interesting that my GPS took me a different direction so I didn't pass Mammoth Cave again. That's one problem with the GPS, you don't get to see a map of the country so you just leave it to the machine to hopefully take you where you need to go. It was getting late and I needed to find a place to stay. I decided to follow a highway sign that said "camping". Unfortunately, that was the only sign I saw and after 10 miles of wandering around I gave up.

I then decided to try my luck with my GPS and did a search for campgrounds. It showed me one about 8 miles away so I called and they had space. I should have realized that this might not be the best campground for me when the GPS took me through the back woods of the poorest section of the State, down a gravel road, past a cemetery and finally into the camp grounds. I was tired and really, how bad could it be?

The campground manager said that the only place available was in a parking lot beside the lake (no hook-ups) but I didn't care. Quickly I found that this was a local campground and if you didn't have an ATV, you didn't belong. All night ATVs roared past my camper. If you notice in the above picture, there is an ATV beside the tent that was just in front of my camper. It was the worst experience I've ever had. But it was probably the best experience for the locals. I don't want to embarrass them and won't name the campground. But it was a lesson learned. Since then, I've purchased a campground book and done some other research.

The last night, I went back to my favorite campgrounds outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

One of the things I noticed on this trip was there many of the State rest areas were much more pet friendly. I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe there were a lot of complaints.

Overall, camping with Seymour was much more enjoyable than using hotels.
I am off on a trip today. I plan to go from Austin, Texas to New Orleans and then the rest is an unknown adventure.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cross Country Car Travel Comes to An End

I took Seymour on two more cross-country trips in the car and found the same issues both times:
1. Some hotels made me pay extra for having a pet.
2. None of the hotel rooms were as good as the ones I stayed in when I didn't have a pet.
3. People in hotels usually aren't friendly toward people with dogs.
4. When I stopped at highway rest areas, I didn't have a place to sit and eat lunch because the area that allowed pets most often didn't have picnic tables.(although I found positive changes in that during my trip this past summer)
5. I had to really plan on where I was going to stop in the evening because otherwise I couldn't find a hotel that allowed pets.

Because of these problems, I decided to try taking Seymour on trips in a camper van. I bought a VW Eurovan because I was too nervous to drive anything bigger. It has plenty of room and included a sink, stove, frig, a porta-potty, and a pop-up so that I could have picked up a couple more people along the road who needed a place to stay (or a person with a pet who didn't get lucky when looking for a hotel)

The gas mileage was pretty good, at about 19 mpg and I could park in a regular parking space when I toured. If I needed to - and I did once - I could park in a parking space and camp for the night without plugging in.

It cost me less than 1/2 the price of a hotel room to stay in a camp ground. I knew how clean my bed sheets were and could easily stumble the few steps from my bed to my porta-potty during the night without walking into a door. I also loved waking up and looking out the window to see nature and not a parking lot.

When we stopped at a rest area, I could eat in the camper and then take Seymour for a walk in the small "pet areas". Many more people talked to me in the camp grounds than in the hotels. I decided that the camper van was the way to go.

I took weekend camping trips for about 6 months and then took my first cross country trip in the camper this summer. Mostly it went well -- more details to come.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


When traveling with Seymour, I developed a love-hate relationship with Kentucky. The "Welcome Center" when you first cross the border had more "No Pets" signs than I've ever seen in one location. I was thinking that if they had 1/2 as many signs they could have built a really nice pet park on the grounds. After grumbling that Seymour only had the space between the parking lot and the freeway to walk - the most unsafe place around, I got back in the car and continued on. A little further I saw a big sign that said "Hell is Real" and I was tempted to add - and I'm driving through it. I stopped at a flea market and put Seymour in his pet carrier/purse but when I went to the door, there was a big sign that said -yep - "No Pets". Come on, folks, this is a flea market - old stuff!

So, we continued on and I started mellowing - the scenery was the prettiest I've seen so far. Beautiful hills and shades of green - I guess because no pets are allowed on it.

I did take a detour to see Lincoln's birthplace - the log cabin is inside of the building above. The grounds were beautiful and there were trails and cabins everywhere. It was free to get in and I didn't see any "No Pets Allowed" signs. I walked Seymour all over the park and no one stopped us to tell us to leave, so I was starting to like Kentucky a little more.

Monday, October 26, 2009

First Real Trip

I took my first car trip with Seymour a couple years ago. We drove from Texas to Pennsylvania. The first thing I did was google "travel with pet" and found a number of sites that had good information. For example, I found a list of hotels that allowed pets but I didn't know if they charged extra if you had a pet. I talked to friends who were experienced at traveling with their pets and most told me that they just didn't tell the hotel they had a pet. How I wish I could do that, but my guilt's cause me to blurt out the truth before I'm even asked. Sometimes I wonder if hotels go with the "don't ask, don't tell" rule, but I guess I'll never find out.

So, I packed Seymour's essentials (remember, this was my first trip) so clothes were pretty important. I did have most of the other items I've mentioned before - food, bowls, and a stuffed animal that was one of his favorites.

Seymour wasn't as excited as I'd hoped but then he had never been on an adventure with me before.

So, armed with my GPS, my hotel list, my travel necessities, and my travel companion, we headed northeast. Our first night we stayed in Texarkana. There were a number of chain hotels in that town that allowed dogs. We found that LaQuinta allowed dogs and didn't charge extra, so we stayed there. The only thing that was kind of yucky was that I think we were given a pretty old and worn-out room. Surely if the rest of the hotel rooms looked like ours, they wouldn't get much business. But I was tired so we unpacked and checked out the parking lot - well Seymour checked out the parking lot. He was starting to like this travel thing - the new smells were making him fondly remember his old stray- days.

I put him in his dog carrier and we went to the convenient store near the hotel for some snacks. Seymour did his "I need to pop my head out to see what's going on" trick and the young man working the cash register never said a word. So, I'm not sure if dogs were allowed there or if the cashier decided to avoid the issue. We ended up going there 2 more times before we left the next day because it was so nice bringing Seymour in - free of charge.

We were starting to get the hang of traveling together

Saturday, October 17, 2009

American Dog Owners Association - An aside

Because I'm more and more interested in how pets are treated in the USA and hopeful that we can take our pets more places, I joined the American Dog Owners Association. Their website is It's free to join, but of course you can make a donation. It gives information on laws that are about to be passed or have been passed related to dogs in each state. I'm probably personally lucky because I have a small dog (or as I call him, my little boy), so most of the laws relate to either large dogs or different so-called "dangerous" dogs.

To me, it seems that we pass laws based on one incident instead of looking at the whole picture. For example, because that one guy tried to set his shoe on fire on an airplane, we all have to take our shoes off when going through security. (And I'm trying not to think about the gross floor we are all barefootin' it on to get our shoes back).

But when one type of dog, like a pit bull, attacks someone - instead of looking at how the owner treated the dog, laws are passed related to pit bulls. Anyone who travels with a dog needs to know the laws in the States they are traveling to or through.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kimpton Hotels

Last week I was traveling for work and we stayed at the Kimpton Hotel and Spa in Scottsdale Arizona. Always being on the lookout for good places to bring pets, the doggie bed and bowl of dog biscuits immediately caught my eye at the check in counter. They have a resident Cocker Spaniel, Bosco (that I never got to see due to being in a conference most days) and state that "pets and children are part of your family so there is no extra charge for either".

Now, this isn't an inexpensive hotel but for a special occasion, it would be a great place to bring the whole family. I saw people walking around with their dogs and people sitting on the patio dining with their dogs beside them. I wished Seymour had been with me. I only saw one area where the dogs couldn't "go" and that was a small astro turf area that they use for outdoor parties. I could understand that - dogs probably wouldn't know the difference between real grass and fake grass so it's better to keep them off of the fake stuff.

I talked to one man with a beautiful golden retriever. They were there because his daughter got married at the hotel the night before. He said that they got there a few days early and the hotel was booked. They tried the Best Western that wanted to charge him $25 extra for a dog less than 20 pounds. He said his dog was 70 pounds so they upped the rate to $50 extra. They decided not to stay there. It would be one thing if they used that money as a deposit and gave it back if the dog didn't mess up the room but they just pocket it. This man said he thought his room at the Kimpton was a good as everyone else's room (another common problem - what does a hotel do with rooms they have yet to remodel? They give them to hapless pet owners!)

The customer service in this hotel was the best I've ever seen. They said that all of their hotels have the same pet policy but I would check before going. Their website is

I'm going to have to save my pennies - and pick up those pennies I see on the ground that I often pass up - so I can go back to Scottsdale or another of their hotels. I need Seymour to experience clean and friendly. I'll talk about our past experiences with hotels next.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Other Pet Travel Necessities

Besides our travel crate, pet travel bag, and water bottle/bowl, the following are other things I have forgotten to bring in the past. Now that I have a list, I'll be more organized:

1. Pet medical and immunization records - I asked my vet for a copy of Seymour's records in case I needed them for an emergency or needed to board him for some reason. I carry two copies and highlighted the immunizations. The only issue is that if you did need to board your dog, the regulations for how often a dog needs a rabies vaccine or other immunizations is different around the country. Its even different between the 2 adjoining counties near my home.

2. At least 2 sizes of bungee cords. I have had to hook Seymour to a railing outside of a restaurant while I ordered a take-out meal. When I do, I make sure he is within my sight the whole time. I usually don't try the "pet purse" trick in restaurants - usually. I've also tied his leash to a tree while I've set up camp.

3. Just like a child, Seymour has his favorite stuffed animal and blankets that come with us. I put his stuffed animal in his crate at night (when he's not sleeping with me) and in the morning, he gently picks it up and takes it out of the crate showing me that they are both ready to start their day - this melts my heart which I'm sure also lowers my blood pressure! I'm "in" to natural remedies and what is more natural than a pet?

4. Seymour is picky about his treats - he only eats Chicken Tender Strips so I always bring lots of those. Even if he doesn't eat his dog food, I know he can't resist a couple of those treats each day.

5. An extra doggie bowl and his food are obviously a must.

6. A necessity to me includes bringing a few of his outfits - like his raincoat, and a sweater or shirt, depending on the temperature. This isn't really frivolous because people are more friendly to us when Seymour is dressed in his finest. This often leads Seymour to a new butt to smell (the dogs, not the owners), tips on places to visit that are dog-friendly, and just general pleasant conversations. So, the clothes are pretty much a necessity. The one thing I will never do is wear a matching outfit with Seymour. Neither of us is in to that sort of thing.

We were finally ready for our first trip.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pet Travel Bag

The next thing I knew I needed was a travel bag for Seymour to hide - I mean - ride in. This is a "don't ask, don't tell" necessity. Some places are very pet-friendly and some are neutral; many are anti-pet and I hope to make a dent in that group.

It is well known that pets can improve our health and the health of those who come in contact with them. Think about therapy dogs, nursing homes that have resident dogs or cats and just the calmness that comes over us when petting or resting with our own animals. It's a great natural remedy for what ails us.

When I was in Europe I was struck by how pet-friendly it was. I took a picture of a dog in a meat market (not in the case) in Italy, dogs in a hair salon in France and dogs in the department stores in England. All were happily attached to their humans. I wish that Seymour could experience that freedom here.

But, until that day comes, he could experience a little more liberty through the front mesh window of his travel bag. This bag has also been very helpful to me when I have no choice but to bring him with me. For example, most highway rest stops have an area where dogs can walk and do what they need to do, but they can't come with us into the restrooms. If the temperature is over 100 degrees, there is no way I am leaving him in the car for even 5 minutes, even with the windows cracked.

I can't see why he cannot accompany me into a stall if he is enclosed in his carrier. He's happy being with me and I'm happy to not have to do the 100 yard dash. I think there should at least be permission to allow a pet into certain places if they are in an enclosed carrier.

There are all kinds of pet travel bags. The one I found has a zippered opening in the side and on the top so Seymour can stick his head out and enjoy the breezes. There is plenty of room for him to lay down in it. The nice thing is that it has straps that can easily and comfortably be used as a shoulder bag. The only little problem is that when he wants to, Seymour can push up and basically unzip the top with his head. I have been "caught" on occasion when I was leisurely strolling through a shop and suddenly a dog head pops out of my purse!

Once I was tersely told "I have to ask you to leave". People around me who hadn't seen Seymour's head but heard that comment probably thought I'd been caught shoplifting. As I begin to write about our travels, I will be naming names of pet-friendly and not so friendly places. This place will definitely be named. I often pass it when I'm on the road, but will never go in again, even if Seymour isn't with me.

So, except for a few other basic necessities, this was all Seymour needed to be comfortable during our trips. I'll share the other necessities we bring next time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

One of my favorite travel items

I'm a bit lazy and sometimes a little scattered in my approach to travel. I want to quickly gather what I need for Seymour and the items need to be simple and convenient to use. I'm the type of person who never checks a bag on a plane because I can fit everything I need into a carry-on and a back pack - even if I'm going to Europe for 2 weeks. So, when traveling in the States with my dog, I try to travel the same way.

This is not to say that I don't succumb to gadgets and cuteness. Seymour does have a wardrobe of clothes but my reasoning is that chihuahuas can get cold and need the warmth of a sweater or pea coat. And he can't take a walk on Halloween without wearing his costume or a muscle tee shirt on the beach. Did I mention that my children are all out of the house? OK, I digress.

So, I found a great water bottle with a folding trough that I've been using and loving for over a year. I won't go on a trip without it. There are many companies that make these bottles but the one I have it called the Gulpy Pet Water Dispenser. I got it at REI for under $10. By the way, I am not selling or profiting from any item I mention.

When I'm traveling by car, I keep it handy in a car seat pocket. I've read reviews of similar items and one complaint is that they leak. I have never had that problem. There is a flip trough attached to a water bottle and the only time water comes out is when you unhinge the trough and squeeze the bottle. Seymour loves to drink out of it. I continue to squeeze as he is drinking so he almost thinks he is drinking from a running faucet - or a dripping faucet. Seymour is a picky eater and drinker so finding something that encourages him to keep hydrated was a relief.

I do have a couple of small complaints with the Gulpy. First, it is quite a big bottle for Seymour. We could easily use one 1/2 the size and it would be more convenient to carry around. The one I have holds 20 ounces of water. But I have read reviews from people with large dogs who say it is too small - so maybe they need to make 3 sizes.

The other problem is when I take Seymour for a walk and clip the bottle to my jeans, it soon looks like I have a quacking duck bill (not the body) attached to me. The trough opens and closes and twists to my body movements. Now, I'm not a "sashay-er"; the hips make the normal movement of a well over 6 pound body, so I'm pretty sure the product design is the problem. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm thinking that wrapping a wide rubber band around both the bottle and trough should keep it from quacking.

The problems are minor compared to the convenience of having an easy-to-use one piece water/bowl. I like it so much that I plan to buy another, just in case this one breaks or gets lost.

Seymour was well on his way toward having the perfect and necessary travel accessories - and stylish travel wardrobe.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I wanted Seymour to travel with style so I started looking for more travel accessories. I found this perfect case that unfolded to show the two doggie bowls. It has a little bone on the front - how cute is that? I felt that this would make it easy to give him food and water on the road, and I would be proud to carry it around. Yes it's red but he's male enough to handle that.

On our first trip, we got to the hotel and I filled his bowls, waiting in anticipation for him to start eating. As soon as he started, I noticed that he was dropping bits of dog food into his water bowl - not on purpose but because he is a messy eater - and the bowls are pretty close together. It wasn't an appetizing site for me (and not picture worthy) but he didn't seem to mind.

As the trip went on, it started being a bit of a pain to open the case when we would stop at rest stops and I just needed to give him some water. With frequent opening and closing, the case lost a hinge and then the clip that holds it closed fell off. It was beginning to look like something I picked up out of the trash, especially when I had to put a large rubber band around it to keep it closed.

I still think it's cute but it probably wasn't made for extensive use - or I just got a defective case. I saved the bowls but finally disposed of the case.

Next time I'll show you Seymour's best travel item that we both can't do without.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Keeping Seymour Safe

After giving up on the doggie car seat, I looked around for other ways to keep Seymour safe. I found what I thought was a great idea. It's a portable travel crate that folds up to the size of the round window shades you put in your car. (I don't have a picture of it since I left it at a friend's house.)

There were a couple of problems with it from the start. First, once I unfolded it, I could never figure out how to get it back into that little circle shape. So that means I couldn't get it back into the cute little zippered case, which was one of the reasons I bought it in the first place - a nice compact case! It was also so unstable in the car that when I stopped the first time, Seymour rolled around in the crate like he was going down Niagara Falls in a barrel. Luckily he was in the back seat and didn't go very far. I still think that it is a good sleeping crate if we are going to visit friends or relatives for a night. As a car crate - we (both Seymour and I) decided to pass.

I then found a crate called Port-a-Crate. It has a good metal frame on a lightweight nylon-type fabric. Seymour immediately loved it and once he went in he didn't want to come out. It could be easily seat-belted in the back seat. As much as Seymour liked being in it, he liked more having the choice of when he came out of it. The crate has a zipper and can lock with just a clip.
The first time I tried it, I was in the house. I zipped him in and by the time I walked about 5 steps away, he had already unzipped it and was prancing happily by my side. I then decided to lock him in when he was riding in the car. It took a little longer than the unzipping but before I had gone very far, he had chewed his way through the mesh on the door and found his way to his favorite lumbar position behind my back. (I have to remember to have better posture when driving!)

Seymour is not normally a chewer - all of his stuffed animals look like new - but he's never had to find his way through a stuffed animal to freedom.
It was pretty easy to sew up the crate door (and you can see my handy-work in the picture above) so I still zip it when necessary - I just decided to give him the freedom of choice - no lock.

We were beginning to collect the doggie travel necessities that worked for us.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My First Travel Purchase

Being new to having a dog, I googled everything I could about traveling with pets. What was missing was honest information about pet products and issues with actually bringing a pet with you when you travel all in one easy to find location. So, I gleaned what I could and am learning the rest through trial and error.

My first "trial" was figuring out how to keep my dog safe in the car on a long trip. I finally bought a doggie car seat. I put it in the front passenger seat, which I now realize was probably not the safest place for it if the air bag went off. But on the other hand, I think having him beside me probably saved his life. I put him in the seat and hooked the short leash-like seat connection to his collar.

As you can see in the picture, he wasn't real sure about this seat or maybe he was thinking I was taking him to get those dreaded fast-growing nails clipped. Within about 15 minutes of leaving the house, he had circled so many times in his seat that I had to pull over and undo the hook so that he didn't choke. I got better at untangling him as I was driving but it wasn't a relaxing trip for either of us. He just couldn't settle down and curl up like a normal dog. I do have to explain that even when he poops he circles for about 3 minutes before his butt finds the exact position to do it's job. So, I guess the circling was to be expected.

That seat lasted only one trip. I know some people whose dogs love those seats - but Seymour isn't one of them. He could care less about looking out the window. Give him a dark small space to curl up and he's content.

Once I got rid of the seat, I decided to let him just find his own comfortable place to ride in the car. Unfortunately, his favorite place to ride was in the small space between my back and my seat. He happily became my lumbar support. This is even less safe than the doggie seat since he weighs about 6 pounds and I weigh - - - more than 6 pounds. I didn't even want to imagine how flat he would be if we had to make a quick stop. But you know that spot on your back that you can't reach no matter how contorted you get? That's where Seymour liked to sleep!

I finally coaxed him up to my shoulder where he thought that playing a mink was the second most comfortable place in the car. After repeatedly moving him from my body and directing him to his blanket, he got the message. And I got the message that good posture behind the wheel meant no doggie behind the back.

I needed to find another way for him to ride safely.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How It All Started

I'll admit it - I'm a born-again dog lover. I don't know why or what made me do it, but almost three years ago, I suddenly had the urge to adopt a dog. I hadn't owned a dog in over 20 years and I travel in my job but my fervor had no bounds - or sense - I wanted a dog.
Just before Christmas 2006 I found a sickly chihuahua in an animal shelter - and with some fear of realizing I was making a life time commitment, I picked him. He was so skinny that I immediately started saying to myself "feed me Seymour" and so Seymour was his name -o.

For the first month of our co-habitation, we both just looked at each other. Actually I looked at him and he ignored me. Here I was in a life time relationship and it didn't look like we had anything in common. Divorce was not an option. He didn't really like to eat much and wasn't thrilled with his new owner who was hell-bent to try to keep him quiet for 3 months while he went through heart worm treatment. Not a good start.

Finally my newly healthy dog was able to go on walks and to my delight, he wanted to take rides with me in the car. He was beginning to tolerate his new servant (me) and once he started looking me in the eyes and started to relax around me, we both knew we were in it for the long haul.

Our car rides turned into road trips which turned into lessons on how to travel with Seymour.

My goal for this blog is to share travel stories, travel tips, names of pet friendly places and not so friendly places and reviews of travel products we have used.

This blog will be updated at least once a week - usually on Sundays. All comments are welcome.