By Shiloh McFadden
what? My Mom and Dad took me on vacation all by myself
with no other dogs. Am I special or what? OK…well,
truth be told, they didn’t trust me at home with Jack while
they were away because the last time they left us we had a
dog fight and I ended up at the veterinary hospital for the
week. They weren’t too happy about that but then
neither was I. After all, I was the one who was confined in
a cage all week. But they picked me to go with them
this time so I guess that means they like me best, right?
I first heard
Mom talking about bringing me when she was talking to
grandma on the phone. I heard her say she needed to check
the internet to see if she could find a motel that would
allow big dogs. What’s wrong with big dogs? Why wouldn’t
they want me? After all, I’m a Golden.
Mom went on a website called
She typed in
the name of the place we were going to so that we could meet
Grandma and Grandpa who would already be there, attending a
wedding. We were going to a state called Virginia. Mom
found a place and then she called them to make sure that
they would let me come because I’m 78 pounds. Some places
had a 25 pound pet weight limit. They also had a $75
non-refundable pet deposit that Mom had to pay but she said
that was ok, I was worth it.
confirmed that I could go she made a reservation. YAY…I’m
going on vacation! She also found a bunch of places that
were dog-friendly so that I could go on the sightseeing
trips with them. I wouldn’t be allowed inside any of the
buildings, but that was fine, us guys would stay outside and
talk. Mom even found a listing of restaurants that would
let me in. She ordered me a new Home Again microchip tag
because mine was so faded that you couldn’t read the
number. A couple of days before we were supposed to leave
she called the motel to reconfirm our reservation.
When she took
out the suitcases I ran and got the stuff I wanted to bring
too. I brought my tennis balls, my Nylabone® and the new
plush toy that she bought especially for me. Then she
packed my bed, my food, my bowls, my medical records, my
thyroid medication, my leash and my harness. And she put
another tag on my collar that had her cell phone number on
it and the name and address of the motel we were staying at
in case I got lost. Is she kidding? ME? Get lost?
She took me to
the vet two weeks before we went so that I could have
updated blood work “just in case”…whatever that means. And
she made sure she had proof of my vaccinations, too.
When it was
time to go I jumped right into the backseat of the car and
lay down. She had covered the seat with a seat cover so it
wouldn’t get dirty. She clipped my doggie seat belt onto my
harness and off we went.
We drove for a
really long time but stopped for potty breaks and Starbucks
refills. Finally we got there and went into the motel, a
place called Candlewood Suites. They gave us a nice big
suite on the ground floor right near the exit so that Mom
and Dad could take me out for walks easily. Mom made sure
she knew where the “pet walking area” was so we wouldn’t get
in trouble. Then Grandma and Grandpa came. Boy was I
My Dad was
really happy because we were right in the middle of the
place where a lot of American Civil War stuff occurred. Did
you ever hear of something called the Battle of Bull Run? I
hadn’t. We went there and Mom sprayed me with Tick Guard so
that I wouldn’t pick up any ticks. We walked all around on
a lot of muddy trails. I saw this river and thought
great...I can go swimming. I started to run towards it and
Mom slipped and fell in the mud. Uh oh. She wasn’t mad
though, only embarrassed. And then Dad said that the river
was called Bull Run. Who woulda thought? Isn’t that a
silly name for a river?
Then we went to
another place where the Battle of Manassas occurred. There
were a lot of cannons and caissons all over the lawn which
used to be a battlefield. We went on a guided tour but I
was pretty bored so Mom took me aside and we went up close
to see the cannons. They were really cool.
We also saw this
really big statue of some guy on a horse. Dad said his name
was Stonewall Jackson. An inscription was carved into the
base that said:
stands Jackson like a stone wall.”
somebody ride their horse into the middle of a battlefield
and then stand there? I bet his horse wasn’t too happy
about that. I think that’s asking for trouble.
petting me and telling me that my name was really
appropriate for where we were. I found out that they named
a battle after me; there was a fight called the Battle of
Shiloh! Ok, so it wasn’t fought in Virginia, it was fought
in Tennessee, but it was still part of the American Civil
I got to sit on
the backseat with Grandma. She really liked me but she kept
telling me how big I was. She has two little white Westies
so I guess I am big compared to them. She let me put my head
on her lap.
Another day we
went to a pretty town to walk around and shop. Yuck.
We stopped at a café and they let me come inside because I’m
very well behaved. I lay on the floor while they ate lunch
and Mom gave me special dog treats that she brought
with her. She had my knapsack with all my stuff in it too...
my bowl, bottles of water, treats and poop bags. Everybody
was petting me. Afterwards we found a really nice pet store
so we all went in there and Mom let me pick out some stuff
to buy. The ladies who own the shop support animal rescue
causes and they really loved me and thanked my Mom for
volunteering with Golden Re-Triever Rescue and for adopting
me. I didn’t want to correct them and tell them that I
adopted Mom and Dad. Some things are better left unsaid,
don’t you think?
It was amazing
how quickly the days flew by.
Before I knew it
Mom and Dad were re-packing the car and driving Grandma and
Grandpa to the airport. Mom was crying and so was Grandma.
I gave them both kisses. Then we got back in the car and
drove back home to New York.
Mom told me not
to be too obnoxious when we got back home. I wasn’t allowed
to brag about all the places that I went to and all the
treats that I got fed. I figured I better listen to her so
that I can be the one picked to go again next time.
Will you be travelling with your pet(s) this summer?
Before you embark on your vacation, stop to consider the
Should your pet(s) travel? Believe it or not, vacations are
stressful, and taking your pet(s) away from the
environment and the daily routines that
they’ve become accustomed to can be very stressful for
them. Seniors, animals with temperament issues, animals
without basic obedience training or those with illnesses
probably should not be travelling with you. In those
instances you’ll need to consider a responsible pet sitter
or boarding kennel.
Will your pet(s) be able to participate in the type of
vacation you have planned?
How well does your pet(s) ride in the car? If you’re
bringing feline companion(s), do you have a crate large
enough to accommodate a litter box?
And remember…NEVER leave your pet(s) alone in the car. If
you need to take bathroom breaks, go in shifts so that
someone always remains in the car with the air
conditioning running. Pack a picnic meal or go to a
drive-thru restaurant. If you have both dogs and cats with
you, make sure the car is left running for the cats while
you exercise your dogs. Cats can succumb to heat-related
issues very quickly.
recently released the 11th edition of their AAA
PetBook®, Traveling With Your Pet.
The information in the book pertains only to traveling
with dogs and cats. Updated annually, the AAA PetBook
AAA-rated® hotels across the United States and Canada
Pet-friendly campgrounds, attractions and parks
Lodging pet acceptance policies
Emergency animal clinics and dog parks
United States – Canada border crossing information
Drs. Foster and Smith have given us permission to reprint
this excellent article which recently appeared on their
12 Top Travel Tips
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Traveling with your pet can be fun and rewarding
- especially when you're prepared.
In addition to the pet travel "basics" (safely
restraining your pet, allowing adequate time for "potty
breaks," bringing comforting items from home, and so on),
several additional simple practices can help make every trip
easier and more pleasant for both you and your pet.
||Schedule a veterinarian
visit to ensure overall health and current
vaccinations. Ask for a health certificate and
vaccination records, especially if you're traveling
out of state.
||Make sure your
pet's identification tags are
up-to-date and readable. Also, be sure his rabies
tag is current.
||Include your destination address
and/or phone number on your pet's tags and
cage/crate (if applicable).
||Remember to pack water to prevent
Handi-Drink works extremely well, and allows your
pet to drink from it. To help ensure convenient
feedings, bring along a collapsible
Food Bag & Bowls.
supplements to avoid missed doses.
first aid kit to ensure readiness in the
event of an injury or medical emergency.
||Exercise your pet prior to
departure. A tired pet is typically much more amenable
to travel. Also, bring a
lead or harness to allow exercise during "pit
||Feed your pet at least four hours
prior to departure to prevent car sickness. If the trip
is long, feed a smaller amount than normal at least two
hours before you leave.
||Use a travel remedy, if necessary.
If your pet is extremely anxious about travel, try a
soothing non-prescription product like our
Pet Calm, or
Trim toenails to prevent snags and injury,
especially if your pet will travel in a cage or crate.
||Cover your car seats with our
Seat Covers to keep them clean and free of hair shed
on your trip.
||Know your travel rules and
restrictions, especially if you will travel on an
©2009 Drs. Foster and Smith, Inc.
Reprinted as a courtesy and with
permission from DrsFosterSmith.com (http://www.DrsFosterSmith.com)
Free pet supply catalog: 1-800-323-4208
Note: GRRI is a shopping affiliate
of Drs. Foster and Smith.
GRRI does not endorse any of the items referenced in