Vol 11 No 3


Summer 2009

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I Went On Vacation!

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Tales of Gold

I Went On Vacation!

By Shiloh McFadden

Shiloh McFaddenGuess 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.

Pet Friendly Travel LogoSo 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.

Once she 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?   Ha.

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 excited.

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:  “There stands Jackson like a stone wall.” 

Why would 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.

Everybody was 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 War.Shiloh with Grandma

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 following:

  • 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.

AAA 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  features:

  • 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 website. 


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 dehydration. The 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.
Pack all medications and supplements to avoid missed doses.
Pack a 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 stops."
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 Ultra-Calm®, Pet Calm, or Rescue Remedy.
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 airplane.

©2009 Drs. Foster and Smith, Inc.

Reprinted as a courtesy and with permission from (

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 this article.