Thursday, June 25, 2009

Travelling with dogs

We just returned from a 10 day, 2000 mile trip with Juniper and Boodles. It was a good trip- I enjoy travelling with them, although I would not be able to do it so freely if my children and my in-laws were not so tolerant of dogs. (In fact, my sister-in-law is such a good woman, we once attended Thanksgiving dinner at her house where there were somewhere around 20 people and 8 dogs, 4 of hers and 4 extras including my son's two English Mastiffs. That was a full house, believe me.)

I assume the dogs like going with us- they like riding in the car, and find the rest stops interesting. In the past we have made various arrangements when we travel- we have boarded in kennels near our home, and when my son lived in a no-dog apartment, we boarded in a kennel near his house. We have stayed in pet-friendly motels, like the ones found on this site. The daughter of a friend pet-sat for us in our house. We stay at my son's house, where there are the two Mastiffs, and now two cats. (Juniper found the infant kitten alarming, Boodles was intrigued. The kitten had no fear of any of them.)

This time we cobbled together a couple of different methods. The dogs stayed with us while at our sons and sister-in-laws houses, but when we went to visit my parents I knew that wouldn't work. I looked on the internet to find a boarding kennel near them. We had quite a few choices; we went with Bed and Biscuits Resort and Pet Spa in Eldon MO. It's tricky to choose a kennel over the internet- I explored the website, and then talked to the owner on the phone for quite a while. If, when we arrived, the premises had been substantially different than we expected, we would have made different plans. As it turns out, we were really pleased with the site, and would take the dogs there again.

I usually keep a copy of the vet records for each dog in the glove compartment of the car, Before the trip- I make sure we have leashes and collars as well as their food and water bowls, and food and water to go in the bowls. Neither is interested in eating along the way, not even treats, (unless, of course, we stop and buy people food.) Both dogs are microchipped, but they also have ID tags on their collars. When we stop, we make sure the dogs are well under control before we get out of the car- it is my nightmare that one of them would get loose and run onto the Interstate. While we walk, we keep them well under control as well- not everyone finds our dogs as adorable as we do. And we always clean up after them- we have dog waste bags attached to each leash so no matter where we go we are prepared.

When we travel with Boodles and Juniper, we stop frequently at rest stops so we can all get out and walk around. We haven't found that this makes the trip longer, and, in fact, we feel like it is healthier for the humans in the group as well. I keep maps of the states we are going to be passing through, and we always know where the next rest stop is. By now, I think we have probably visited all of them along our route. Recently I read an article that said perhaps it was not especially healthy for the dogs to visit the pet rest areas where thousands of other dogs have already been. I hadn't thought of that, but truthfully, while we stay out of areas marked No Pets, we don't usually go just to the marked pet area.

We carry our own road food with us as well, so we don't have to risk leaving the dogs in the car while eating. Rarely, when the temperature is mild and there is a breeze, the dogs are in the shade and we can park where we can see the car, we will eat at a restaurant.

We don't have dog seat belts or crates. We drive a Prius, and crates for these dogs would not fit. We had a dog seat belt for our last dog, and he fought it continuously. I am not sure how it would work with these two- Boodles prefers to lounge all over the seat, and Juniper never lays down when in the car. She sits up straight the entire 13 hour trip.

Even though we usually plan for the dogs to stay with us, I asked my daughter-in-laws to check out local kennels, in case we need to board for some reason. We ran into a glitch this time- we didn't need to board, but we thought we would treat the dogs to a day at the PetSmart Doggy Daycamp. Unfortunately, they required that both dogs have a Bordatella shot within the last 6 months. We always get a Bordatella shot yearly, but Boodles had hers last September, 9 months ago. We could have gotten the shot at the vet inside PetSmart, but they had a 48 hour waiting period between getting the shot and entering daycamp, so we weren't able to go. Next time we visit I will be sure all shots are current for where we are going, not just current for being at home.

You can find more tips for travelling with dogs here.

Here are some pictures from our travel- Juniper has found a way to boost her telepathic power when it's time to send us a message. Here she is beaming instructions to me by laying her ear over the top of Boodles head and hooking up in series. This allows her to use Boodles brain power as well as her own.
Just because Juniper doesn't lay down during the trip, it doesn't mean she doesn't sleep. She often uses Boodles as a leaning post.
This is the tiny kitty trying to play with the Mastiff's ear.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day at the Dog Spa

In preparation for a trip to visit family, Boodles and Juniper spent the day at a Doggie Spa. They got mani/pedi's ( or would that be pedi/pedis?) and baths. Juniper got a special Furminator treatment to pull out all of last year's out-of-style undercoat, and I think she might have gotten a Brazilian Wax...

Boodles, however, went for the Doggie Makeover Package. Short, stylish and cool for the summer. Take a look at the Before and After pictures below.
Boodles before the makeover.

Boodles after the makeover.

It was astonishing to me- I took a collie into the groomer, and got back a St. Bernard!

Ryan, at PetSmart in Chambersburg did a terrific job on both of them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Furry Funday

Sunday was Furry Funday here in Shippensburg. An annual fundraiser for the local shelters, Furry Funday is always the first Sunday in June. Activities, contests, displays and vendors all gather at the township park.

We took the girls, stopping off to play at the dogpark first. We paid our $5.00, and made the circuit of the various tents arranged around the stage. The first group we ran into was the Cumberland Valley Shelter, where we got Juniper. She said hello to some of the people who took care of her, and they told her how good she looked. We stopped for a minute at the 4H Guide Dog display. An agility course was set up near one end of the park, and we took both dogs out to see if they were agile. Take a look at the lengths Boodles went to to avoid the obstacles.

Juniper was a lot more direct- when asked to go through the tunnel, she simply ran to the fence and crawled through to be with me.

In our stroll through the vendors, we got a nail trim for each dog for a $5 donation to the shelters, bought a Sporn halter system to see if we can stop Boodles from pulling. We also bought a dog water bottle. This is just a regular bottle with a trough attached that flips down for them to drink from. We went for a 2 mile hike recently, and they got pretty thirsty before we returned. I am tempted to make them carry the bottle themselves.

Lots of other dogs were in attendance as well. We saw many of our dog park friends, large and small. Look at this Bernese Mountain Dog pup- I really wanted to put my hands on it. The Mason-Dixon BMD rescue group was there as well. In fact, there were a lot of breed specific rescue groups represented. I had no idea there were so many around here.

Before and after the Furry Funday events we played at the dog park- more about that later-

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Motown hit

Golden R and the Background Hounds were best known for the classic R&B favorites "Three Dogs in the Fountain", "I Heard it at the Dog Park", "Please (Chase) Mr. Postman" and "I'll Pee There". After vanishing from the music scene for a few years, a collaboration with Jack White in the 2003 culminated in "My Doorbell"* and brought them back into the public eye. Now in retirement, the group will be performing occasionally at Bubba's Dog Park in Shippensburg, PA.

For more dog music, click here.
*Click to view The White Stripes - My Doorbell (inexplicably without dogs.)

You also might like this video: One Dog Show
One Dog Show