A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. John Grogan
I was sitting in the Charlotte airport with a two hour layover when I started reading Marley and Me by John Grogan. I laughed hysterically (out loud I might add) and cried silently while sitting there waiting for my flight. Marley was a bad dog and her “bad girl” behavior is definitely one for the books and beautifully chronicled by John Grogan. Marley gave her heart to this family the moment she entered their lives and nothing was going to keep her from being near them or close by them, at all times, including boxes, cages, plate glass windows, and old age. When her back legs could no longer support her and the struggle became too great, John would pick her up in his arms and carry her up the long flight of stairs each night because this family had given their heart to Marley – it was mutual affection and unconditional love at its best.
It’s an understatement to say that our pets are like family – they are family! We all have “Marley” stories and most people have a pet(s) they simply adore. Pet status has risen significantly over the last decade. We now have special pet boutiques featuring gourmet food and designer clothing. We take our animals to pet daycares and salons, hire dog walkers, hang stockings on the fireplace at Christmas filled with special treats just for them, and they always travel in style! Have you been through an airport lately and seen the designer travel “bags” for pets that can fit under the seat in front of you on an airplane? They look fabulous and so do the pets.
Traveling with pets is like traveling with small children – it can be very stressful for everyone including other people – hmmm! I know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone loves our children and pets the way we do. Have you ever sat on a plane or stayed in a hotel room next to a barking dog or screaming baby? Then you know what I mean. Like small children, pets don’t know any better and they can’t help it so for “parents” the pressure is on. Planning and preparation is paramount to keeping it low stress and comfortable for you, your pet, and everyone around you.
1. Pet Food – Take plenty of your pet’s favorite food and take more than you think you’ll need in case you end up stranded or delayed for any reason.
2. Pet Fun – Carry you pet’s favorite toys to keep them occupied and give them a sense of normalcy in unfamiliar places.
3. Pet Equipment - Hotels and friends may be able to furnish a razor, toothbrush or an aspirin, but they typically don’t offer leashes, potty pads, or pet medications. Need I say more?
Speaking of pet equipment, check out this new supercollar® with a built-in leash. It’s the new “must-have” for anybody with a pet that needs a collar and goes on walks around the block, through the park or in the airport.
1. Don’t check your pet as cargo - The ASPCA takes a softer approach by saying to “think twice” before you consider checking your pet as cargo. So, if you’ve exhausted all other options and absolutely have to check your pet, the ASPCA offers ten important travel tips that will help ease the pain.
2. Don’t assume that your pet is an invited guest - It’s bad etiquette. Unless their name is on the invite or your friends and family have specifically said “your pet is welcome”, they probably are not. Just because they may have a pet they adore, doesn’t mean they’re going to like your pet or that your animals will like each other.
Enjoy the holidays and travel safe. As always, I can’t thank you enough for being a faithful reader.