Do People Really Travel With Their Pets?

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108by: Carol Bryant

Pet friendly means increase in revenue
to businesses and recidivism of customers to those businesses. It creates a
general fostering of community and good will to one another and spawns a sense
of togetherness.

Why,
then, is there still a big invisible “do not cross” line across the doors of so
many hotels and Bed and Breakfasts when revenue is at stake? Fellow dog mom and
pet blogger, Bunny Allen, recently posted a comment on Facebook that really got
under my skin. As a dog traveler of 20 years, I internally shriek when I read
comments like this:

“Dear ____ (insert city here), why do
you have to be dog unfriendly? Yes we know there are stupid pet parents out
there but please know that there are more responsible ones. If more places that
had outdoor dining, activities etc would allow pets you would see more
businesses have an increase in sales.”

I have traveled the country, literally,
with dogs for 20 years now. Not one incident has occurred anywhere, anytime that I have been
out with my dog. Diligent dog owners can be given a set of rules and they need
to abide by them. But for these places to say "no" to dog owners is
kissing cash goodbye and excluding a whole huge contingency of pet parents that
would spend, spend, spend.

As I write this blog post, the words of
a hotel in Maine that I stayed at (with my dog) resonate:

Dogs are welcome in this
hotel. We’ve never had a dog that smoked in bed and set fire to the blankets.
We’ve never had a dog who stole the towels, played the TV too loud or had a
fight with his traveling companion. We’ve never had a dog who got drunk and
broke up the furniture. So, if your dog can vouch for you, you’re welcome, too!

I realize people have allergies, that
there is an aversion to pet hair for others, and that many view pets
173 as animals
and not family members (they can be both), so I have no problem with non-pet
welcoming rooms. The stats and logic, however, are against those who don’t let
pet-fairing travelers in.

Indeed there are risks, indeed there are
liabilities, and indeed the same applies to the human variety. There are many
truths and fallacies to pet-friendly
travel.
Sites like BringFido.com and PetsWelcome.com thrive because droves
of us are traveling with a pet in tow. Embrace me: I’ll come back. Welcome my
dog: I’ll spend more. Know my dog’s name: I might marry you. Kidding, but you
get the point.

Recent example: I stayed at a place in
Maine called Inn by the Sea. Not only was the Inn extremely welcoming to pets
(they offer in-room dog massages), but the nearby towns rolled out the Rover
red carpet. LL Bean allowed us to walk their grounds; many of the stores in
downtown Freeport, Maine, let us in and had biscuits at the counter. In
Portland, the signs welcoming pets to the patios to eat were resplendent. I
came, I saw, I spent, I’ll go again. See a pattern?

BlogPaws is a pet-friendly/pet-welcoming
conference: Always has been, always will be. Since our inception in 2009, pets
have been coming to the 3-day conference and educational sessions, networking,
etc, with their pet parents. We even have a pet park on site for those who want
to leave Rover to roam with dedicated dog sitters while pet parents learn.

166Some basic tenets when traveling with a
pet must apply, and as pet parents, if we follow them, we all win, and we all
get welcomed back (and maybe others will lift their no pets policy).

  • Pets should not be
    left alone in their room. Even well-behaved pets do act up when their master
    leaves them alone.
  • Pets should be kept
    on a leash when not in their room (unless, of course, you have a goldfish).
  • When you walk your
    pet, please pick up the poop. This foster general pet travel code of ethics,
    right?

So who is with me… ready to travel
with a pet by your side? I’ve got my bag packed. In fact, I already have my
route planned for BlogPaws 2013 in Tyson’s Corner, Virgina.

  • http://roxythetravelingdog.com Mary Hone

    Very good article. Since we live and travel full time in our RV with our two dogs, staying in hotels is not a big issue for us. But all the same rules apply when staying in a campground. I am always so diligent to keep the dogs on a leash, clean up after them, and generally make sure they behave around other dogs and people.
    This past summer we saw other pet owners who weren’t so great about those things, and I think they give us all a bad rap. Even away from the towns, dogs can be restricted access, think National Parks.
    We can’t control how other pet owners behave, so all we can do is what we know is right.

  • http://www.fidoseofreality.com Carol Bryant

    Very good points, Mary. I encourage everyone who travels with a pet to be a good human citizen and make life better for us all: Clean up after your dog and be sure to follow the rules.

  • http://dogtestedmotherapproved.com Cara from Dog Tested Mother Approved

    Great article. I recently traveled to Colorado and regretfully did not bring my dogs. The hotel we stayed in The Little Nell in Aspen is the most dog friendly hotel atmosphere I have ever been to, including a canine room service menu! They didn’t discriminate based on size or numbers either. Hopefully, more places will learn the high value we place on this type of inclusion. On the flip side, those who are careless pet owners need to follow the rules and not be the few who ruin it for the rest of us. p.s. I will be attending my first BlogPaws conference in Tysons Corner! I am coincidentally local, but still excited to have my companions who are the inspiration for my blog by my side!

  • http://www.somethingwagging.com Pamela | Something Wagging This Way Comes

    I’m hoping the economic argument carries the day in my town. Ithaca has an outdoor pedestrian mall that is off limits to dogs?! As is the lake-front park. WT…?
    I have no idea why well-behaved dogs would ever be banned from an outdoor space.
    Our downtown business group recently did a survey to see if it was worth opening the outdoor mall to dogs on a trial basis. I can’t wait to hear their decision.

  • http://www.fidoseofreality.com Carol Bryant

    Cara, I’ve written about The Little Nell in Aspen. I dream about going there sometime.
    I look forward to meeting you and your furry family members in Tyson’s Corner and connecting here til there. Like the name of your blog, too. Very very clever!
    @Pamela: I have been to several outdoor malls that allow pets; a few in PA have been fabulous. I do not understand why they are not allowing dog at that outdoor pedestrian mall. There need to be rules and if people break them, then they are told to leave. But as you say, the survey and the decision are coming… let us know; I am very curious to hear the results.

  • http://www.bjbangs.net BJ Bangs

    Great post and one that needs to be shared.
    AAA publishes a book about pet friendly hotels, campgrounds and places to stay. That’s on my to-blog list. Motel 6 also touts itself as pet friendly.
    If someone is taking their pets on a trip, or re-locating, they need to arm themselves with information in advance. In the world of traveling with pets, knowledge can make the difference between success and a dismal disaster.

  • http://theworldaccordingtogarthriley.blogspot.com/ Rebecca Randolph

    Excellent article! We just got back from a 2 week vacation with our dog in the Florida Keys, and we chose our hotels and restaurants based upon their dog-friendliness. We return to certain restaurants over and over again because they are dog-friendly, and we stay at the same hotels each year because they welcome our dog. One of the reasons we love vacationing in the Florida Keys with our dog is because so many places in the Keys are dog friendly. Our dog even joined me doing stand-up paddleboarding!
    I couldn’t agree more about the basic tenets of traveling with your dog. I recently wrote an article about traveling with your dog that your readers may enjoy: http://woof.doggyloot.com/7-tips-on-traveling-with-your-dog/

  • http://www.fidoseofreality.com Carol Bryant

    I have that AAA book and it has been a valuable resource for me many time.
    Thanks for the link, Rebecca, headed there now to take a peek.
    Ooooh I interviewed a gal about stand up paddleboarding – how cool is that!!! Glad to hear you had a fun, pet welcoming vacation. I always love to read others’ experiences.

  • Kate

    Don’t forget your Piddleplace when you travel. http://Piddleplace.com
    I carry mine in the trunk of my car. Great for hotel rooms and friends homes.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/babybu2da Babybu2da

    I am honored to be mentioned in your article. I get so frustrated with my city when I see the signs that say “NO DOGS” I see other places such as North Carolina, your city and the cities you travel to that roll out the welcome mat for pets and I know that those places have to see many pet owners having a wonderful time with their pets. I know that those businesses are seeing a increase in revenue because pet parents don’t want to leave their pets at home.
    Thank you for bringing this issue to attention. I am on a mission to change the mind of my city and for those who live in cities like mine I hope it inspires them to do the same
    Bunny Allen