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.