Boomeresque:Definition
1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

How to Travel Without Your Dog

by Suzanne Fluhr on March 2, 2014 · 92 comments

There are many websites full of helpful information about how to travel with your dog. (I’ve included a list of some of my favorites below). I wish we were traveling with our dog, Dino, but on a month long trip to Southeast Asia that included a 40 hour air travel marathon and ten flights on various airlines, changing hotels every 3 nights for two weeks, followed by a 13 night cruise, and then three months living in Honolulu, it just didn’t seem possible. As a 30 pound cockapoo, Dino isn’t a dog who “fits under the seat in front of you,” so even assuming everything else could be arranged, I couldn’t see putting him crated in an airplane cargo hold for 16 hour trans-Pacific flights or in the holds of planes run by airlines in countries where they eat dogs.

Dino dog

Dino is my buddy.

Some of my dog loving friends just won’t make a trip unless they can bring their dog. I consider myself a dog person, so I totally understand how they feel. Missing Dino has resulted in me fawning over petting other people’s dogs in elevators, on the street and in parks all over the world. I can pantomime “May I pet your dog?” in many languages.

Some might consider me selfish, but I want to have a dog to love and care for and I want to soothe my wanderlust by being a traveling, trailing spouse. My husband‘s work travel, to a large extent, determines where we go. For others who might find themselves in similar circumstances, here is how to travel without your dog:

1) Acquire a dog to love. We adopted Dino from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) when he was 6 months old, but you might also be adopted by a stray dog, or buy one from a reputable breeder. (Some might argue there is no such thing. I disagree.) Don’t buy one from a pet store or a puppy mill where dogs are bred in terrible conditions.

2) Make sure your dog is socialized with other people and with other dogs. If your dog loves only you or doesn’t like to be left alone, traveling without him/her is going to be a terrible strain on both of you. If your dog is great with people, but not so good with other dogs, this will limit your options, but they still exist.

3) If you have taken care of #2, then you have the following options:

  • You take care of our dog. We’ll take care of yours. After we adopted Dino, some neighbors on our street also adopted a dog, Annabelle. Dino and Annabelle had some successful play dates and then we were able to take care of  each other’s dogs when we couldn’t take them with us on trips. I have to admit that we got the better end of this deal because we’re empty nesters, but their travel time is dictated and limited by school vacations. We continued this arrangement even after we sold our house, downsized and moved to a Center City Philadelphia apartment. Dino and Annabelle are both mature dogs and seamlessly adjusted to having a 16 floor elevator ride to go outside.
Annabelle joins the pack when she stays with us.

Annabelle (foreground) joins the pack when she stays with us.

  • Have someone stay in your home with your dog while you’re away. On a few occasions, our first choice arrangement for Dino hasn’t been workable. If you know people with dogs (and it’s hard not to if you take your dog for walks in your neighborhood), chances are they can recommend someone they hire to stay at their home and care for their dog when they’re away. This is the optimal (and probably, the most expensive arrangement) if your dog is most happy at home and doesn’t get along with other dogs. There are also websites where you can be matched up with people looking to house sit who are animal lovers also willing to pet sit. Participants on both sides of these arrangements have usually been vetted (pun most definitely intended) and this can be a win-win financially for everyone. Some of these websites are listed below.
  • Have your dog stay with someone who boards dogs at their home. When we first had to leave Dino, this was the arrangement we used. From another dog owner who I knew from our walks, I found a dog loving family that took in a few dogs to stay at their house. Dino loved going there. He was treated like a member of the family and they had a big fenced in back yard. This was not an inexpensive option, but I’d rather stay in a less fancy hotel on a trip and spend the money to know our dog was well taken care of and content. (I actually felt a little badly because although Dino would be happy to see me when I picked him up, he would also whine a little as we drove off.)(See, DogVacay site below).
  • Board your dog at a kennel or “doggie hotel”. I admit that this wouldn’t be my first choice because boarded dogs aren’t living in a very homey situation — although some higher end boarding facilities have fancy dog beds in little pet apartments which might even include a television. Usually, you pay additional fees for extra walks, play time with other dogs or extra time with a caretaker. If you board your dog at a facility where they will be exposed to other dogs, a bortadella vaccine for “kennel cough” is vital and is probably required. If your dog goes to a doggie day care, they usually also offer boarding services and this is probably the arrangement that would give you the most peace of mind because you know the staff and your dog is familiar with them and the surroundings.
  • Totally luck out and have dog loving relatives who also have a dog and who are willing to take care of and love your dog for four months while you’re away!
Dino, Aunt Randy and his dog cousin, Izzy.

Dino, Aunt Randy and his dog cousin, Izzy.

Dino and Izzy like to trade beds.

Dino and Izzy like to trade beds even though Izzy is way too big for Dino’s bed.

 

So, as much as I wish Dino were curled up next to me as I write this, I know he is healthy and happy with his aunts and his dog cousin, Izzy. At this point, my biggest concern is that he won’t want to come home with us and they won’t want him to leave.

Dino and Izzy at the top of the stairs.

Dino and Izzy at the top of the stairs.

Epilogue: We retrieved Dino. We received a very ho hum greeting after our 4 and a half months away. In Dog, it was something like: “Oh, you’re back.” However, Dino immediately settled back into his old routine with us. :)

Blogs about traveling with your dog:  Montecristo Travels (Montecristo is a 3.5 pound long-haired chihuahua who has traveled extensively in Europe and North America with his people. I even visited him!)  ** DogJaunt (Chloe’s owner writes about travel with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel). ** The Constant Rambler (Lauren and Kenin Bassart write about trips with their larger dogs).

Housesitting websites: These websites were recommended by Boomer Travel Bloggers who have done housesits that also involved caring for pets: www.housecares.com; www.trustedhousesitters.com; www.mindmyhouse.com

Dog Home Stays: This is a service that can provide contacts for boarding your dog in homes in your area. I have never used them, but I would consider trying them if the need arose.   http://dogvacay.com/

What has been your experience traveling with or without your pet?

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{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) March 2, 2014 at 9:48 am

I love dogs, but my history is mostly with cats! You might be surprised to know that cat owners miss their pets as much as dog owners do:) I used to travel with my last kitty Harley – I took him back and forth via airline from Wisconsin to Florida, and by car to my summer home in Northern Wisconsin. Fact is, when I couldn’t take him I missed him beyond reason. I had wonderful house-sitters who would move into my house so they could care for him, allot him the play time so needed for his very survival! I was neurotic when it came to Harley! I don’t have pets at this time, though I hope someday to once again be in the company of a loving animal. But before I can do that, I need to work on getting this neurosis under control.

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) March 2, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Jacquie, I am not surprised to learn that cat owners also suffer from separation anxiety. We would probably have a cat if Mr. Excitement weren’t allergic.

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avatar Mike March 2, 2014 at 11:33 am

I loved this post as you know I would, Suzanne. Those pics of Dino with you and with Mr Excitement made my morning! You gave some absolutely GREAT suggestions for dog owners who travel! I used to use a boarding place with previous dogs but I just will not do it with Phoenix. It’s not because there isn’t a fantastic place here in Reno – there is. It’s just a choice I’ve made for him. Staying with others has worked out wonderfully. I use to have sitters where he could go while I was at work but we haven’t had one in a long time. Anyone interested?? He’s such a social kid. Hugs and kisses to Dino! I can’t wait for pics/sharing when you guys get back to Philly :)

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) March 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Mike, you and Phoenix (and Montecristo) were very much in the back of my mind when I wrote this. Maybe you and Phoenix should try a little road trip together.

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avatar Mike March 4, 2014 at 12:58 am

Buttttt….he always wants to drive, Suzanne *whiney voice*!!

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avatar Maddy Fluhr March 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Great pics. I especially love the one with the dog “cousins” trading beds – clearly living by the credo that “size does not matter!” It’s Sunday a.m. here, I just finished watching Meet the Press and am assuming the pic with Steve lounging in bed reading the paper with Dino and Annabelle lounging with him is a Sunday a.m. photograph. I love that Sunday a.m. vibe. I think it is fair to say that Dino is one lucky well loved dog!! Woof….

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) March 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Mads. Meet the Press? I’m impressed. I thought I was the “Interested in Current Events” sistah. For some reason, dogs like to sleep in each other’s beds. Dino and Annabelle also frequently claim each other’s beds. Maybe it’s a dominance thing.

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avatar Roz Warren March 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

My favorite Boomeresque post EVER since it’s more about dogs, a topic that fascinates me, than traveling, a topic which usually puts me to sleep. Plus it’s about Dino! One of my all tie favorite dogs.

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) March 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Roz, you are a true friend for even reading my boring travel posts–even if they lack dog content ;-)

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avatar Debbie March 2, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Great post, Suzanne and I enjoyed the photos, as well. Dino is a cutie and it must be hard to be separated from him for so long. You’ve definitely listed all the options available for travellers. I’ve been boarding dogs in my home for many years and they love it! It’s like a little doggie commune around here. :) Many clients tell me this is their dog’s “home away from home” and that the dog gets excited when their car turns into my street.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Debbie, having followed your blog, I think any dog would be happy to know s/he was heading to your home for an extended visit.

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr March 2, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Dogs are like people. The more people and other dogs who love them — the better. Dino is kind of a “love the one you’re with” dog. I try not to be overly possessive and be happy for him.

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avatar Jackie Humphries Smith March 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Our children were our two, adopted-from-the-Humane-Society-‘boys’. Who, by the way, really were the most gifted, talented, intelligent and cutest cats to have tiptoed on tiny cat feet across this earth. For 18 years our family of four were together, but within a year of each other they crossed that sad ‘rainbow bridge’ and we found ourselves living in an empty nest. Their deaths and our lifestyle changes came at about the same time so we’ve never adopted new ‘kids’ as being gone as long and as much as we are, wouldn’t be fair to them. BUT, when our traveling days start slowing you had better believe we’ll have fur-babies again. (I hired people to back up the neighbors, and others to check on both neighbors and backup people. ..I was neurotic in other words.) We did drive them to Mexico when we built homes there. . .but that story would be a blog in itself. Great post, Suzanne!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Jackie, with your travel schedule, I can understand why you want to wait before adopting new fur-babies. I would be curious to read a blog post about your experiences traveling with them to Mexico.

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avatar Irene S. Levine March 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Just like it is with childcare for kids—having friends and relatives is the best!
Hope you are enjoying every moment of this adventure. You’ll have so much to talk to Dino about when you return!

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr March 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm

As much as I feel a little guilty that Dino is having a northeast US winter, at least up in Boston where he is, they have actually had less snow than in Philly this winter.

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avatar Becc March 2, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I remember many years ago fawning all over the dogs in Europe, Paris in particular.
I am not sure, but I think it is a little cruel putting a dog on a flight and leaving them in a hotel room should you be visiting places that don’t allow dogs. But that is me as I’m not that fussed on flights when in cattle class let alone being in a cage. We won’t do less than Business Class so the experience is enjoyable.
We lost our Zoe last year and really miss her, but even if she was here, she would not be joining us on our jaunts around the world.

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr March 2, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Becc, sorry about your loss. Our dogs do become family members.

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avatar Donna Janke March 3, 2014 at 8:51 am

When we first got our dogs, we were fortunate to find a dog-sitting family. They had twin girls the same age as our daughter and the dogs felt right at home. The family no longer dog sits, but I think that is about the best option you can find. We have close friends who are “aunt and uncle” to the dogs, who have housed the dogs at their place many times while we’ve vacationed. The dogs loved it at their place, but we don’t want to “impose” on our friends too often. And we have had friends or family come to the house and stay with them. Last year, our older dog had health issues (he has since passed away) and we were reluctant to leave him with anyone. We considered traveling separately to visit our daughter. Finding the right place for you dog(s) to stay while you travel affects your own enjoyment of the trip.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Donna, sorry about your loss. I think we would feel the same way about leaving if Dino were ill, not to mention the imposition it would be to leave an ill dog with someone. The only bad thing about having a dog is that you know you are probably setting yourself up for some heartbreak because their lifedpans are so much shorter than ours.

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avatar Montecristo Travels (Sonja) March 3, 2014 at 9:45 am

As you know, if Monte can’t go we don’t go. But I can understand why sometimes it just seems like to good an opportunity to miss. We chose a long hair Chi for the tiny size but fearlessness. Perfect for travel … In cabin. I use to have a Belgian Bouvier. All 90 pounds of her would stay at a lovely farm when I traveled. As much as she was happy to see me when I got back – she always seemed a little sad to go!! :)

I would trust Montecristo with very few people!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Sonja if you and Stefan ever have to travel, I promise I would take good care of Montecristo (and Moby). (Moby is Montecristo ‘ s baby stuffed whale). I didn’t know you once had a 90 pound dog. The variability in the canine species is just amazing.

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avatar Patti Morrow March 3, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I have to admit, I don’t have a dog, and travel 50% of the time so it would not be practical. But nearly everyone I know does have a dog, so now I can join in the conversation, thanks to the great tips in this post. I do “puppysit” my daughter’s absolutely adorable 6 lb. mini golden doodle at least once a week, which I LOVE.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Patti, please post a photo of your grand-mini-golden doodle on Facebook. Even the big ones are adorable. I can’t even imagine the cuteness emanating from a 6 pound fur ball.

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avatar noelmorata March 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I love dogs also, but since i travel and have an erratic daily schedule, it would just be selfish to have one….great ideas about your options and which one’s make sense to your needs for your loved one.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Noel, as explained in my post about Dino’s “back story”, I was sort of guilt tripped into adopting him even when I knew we would want to do some traveling. For the most part, we have been able to find suitable arrangements for his care if we are going somewhere we can’t take Dino, but our latest 4 month trip was stress producing. Based on the frequent reports and photos I receive, Dino is doing fine with his substitute pack until we return.

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avatar Doreen Pendgracs March 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I can only imagine how much you miss your dog, Suzanne. I really missed my cat and I was only away one week!

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr March 3, 2014 at 3:26 pm

I also left my almost 89 year old mother behind, but at least I can speak to her by telephone. Unfortunately, Dino can’t communicate in “human” via an electronic device. I’d like to ask my sister-in-law to try to set up a Skype session, but I’m afraid of what she’d think if I do so.

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avatar Catherine March 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Some great advice here, thanks for sharing. Our dog loves doing anything or going anywhere a bit different, so never really had a problem leaving him behind – bet he doesn’t even notice we’re gone!

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr March 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm

In my case, I think the problem in leaving our dog is mine — not his. I suspect he’s doing fine, but I miss him. Dogs are lucky that they mostly live in the moment although you do read about them refusing to leave their owner’s graves and such. I’m afraid Dino would follow the first person with a dog treat. No, I’m happy for him.

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avatar Laurie Hurley March 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm

We have two dogs and three cats. We just started traveling via car with the dogs, giving them doggie-downers. So much more fun to have them with us! The cats are fairly self-sufficient. However, if we leave for more than two days, we have a pet/house sitter that comes in and watched all five of them plus waters plants, gets mail, etc. I think dogs sense when their owner is gone, but forget about it temporarily until we open the door after a long trip. Then we are attacked with kisses and love. I can understand why you miss him, but he’ll be fine!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Sometimes I think it’s better for them to go elsewhere since then they are not expecting to see you there. On the other hand, if they like the person staying with them in their usual habitat, they’re ok with that too. The good thing about well-socialized dogs is that they just like people. Period. I’ve had a few dogs I’ve petted in the elevator here in our Honolulu apartment building who have to be dragged off the elevator by their owner because they want to stay and continue the love-fest even though they just “met” me.

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avatar Paul Graham March 3, 2014 at 6:39 pm

You really covered all the bases on travelling without your dog. I have good friends who now board dogs on a nice fenced 5 acres, usually 8 to 12 at a time and they all have a great time. Even so, always happy to see their real pack at the end of a break. These folks actually started out by adopting Labs at about 18 months when they hadn’t quite made the grade as guide dogs and were no longer at the cute puppy stage that many seem to like. What started as just a goodwill activity has now turned into a pleasant job in their retirement years. Good info. Good Post !

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 3, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Yay for your friends! I just saw on 60 Minutes that Whitey Bolger, the infamous, murderous Boston mobster, was a pet lover, but for the most part, it has been my experience that people who love animals are generally good human beings also.

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avatar Susan Cooper March 3, 2014 at 8:27 pm

We don’t have a dog but we do have a cat that thinks he’s a dog… LOL. He is about the size of a medium dog. He is not overly happy when he comes along with us on a trip. It was going quite well for a while until he started to get car sick… poor baby. Now we have an awesome pet-setter for him. Even though he misses us, he is much less stressed out and at home with his toys.

PS: Your dogs are really great, loved the pictures.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Fortunately, Dino still hasn’t developed car-sickness. However, he developed a fear of thunder when he was 5 years old out of the blue, so I know it’s possible. Meanhwhile, he is really an excellent passenger in the car. He just curls up in his bed in the back seat and goes to sleep. I wish I could do the same!

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avatar Patti March 3, 2014 at 9:07 pm

Our family dog is a stuffed Snoopy dog that has been our family pet for about 25 years now and he does actually travel with us, unless we are flying, in which case he prefers to stay home rather than be subjected to the humiliation of flying in the cargo hold. With that being said, I can imagine not have Dino around is a bit sad, but just think how happy the reunion will be! Do you think dogs understand the passing of time, or do you think Dino thinks you just left yesterday? I’ve always wondered about that.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm

I do think dogs live much more in the moment than we do. They do have some sense of time, because Dino will often position himself near the front door when he thinks it’s time for Steve to come home from work. In some ways, I’m glad he’s in a new environment at our sisters-in-laws’ home because I don’t think he has any cues to remind him about us. So, hopefully, when we show up, he’ll just think we ran off to the store for a few hours.

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avatar Patti March 5, 2014 at 5:31 pm

That makes sense. I know a couple who were gone for over a year and their 2 dogs lived with their parents. When the couple returned the dogs greeted them as if it was yesterday. Seems to be much harder on the people, than their pets.

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avatar Vladimir March 3, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Travelling without the dog sounds like heaven to me. Personally, I hate travel but sometimes you just have to put up with things and get on with life.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 12:18 am

Vlad, thanks for stopping by my human momma’s blog. I certainly wouldn’t want to share the back seat of the car with a C-A-T (no offense). I was always fascinated by cats. If I saw one on a walk, I’d want to go check it out. One day, a cat finally just sat there and let me get close. I took one whiff and jumped a foot into the air and took off. And that was the end of my wanting to check out cats—although I still like to bark at them from far away. Anyway, since my family doesn’t want to take me on a plane, I’ll probably never make it Down Under, so the chances are better than even that our paths will not cross — except in cyber-space.
Your Phurry Philly Phriend,
Dino

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avatar Donna Hull March 3, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Great tips for when your dog or pet can’t come along with you. Friends and relatives are the best choice. I’m glad that was available to you and Dino.

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avatar Pat Amsden March 4, 2014 at 12:52 am

Aww I grew up with dogs and cats and loved them. But at this stage in my life I don’t have any. Working full-time it seems unfair to the pet.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 3:21 am

Pat, despite our sons’ pleas, we didn’t acquire a dog until I semi-retired and started working at home.

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avatar Catarina March 4, 2014 at 6:18 am

Sound advice for making your dog be happy even if you are travelling, Suzanne. Sometimes it just isn’t a good idea to bring a dog. As you point out to be in the cargo area for 16 hours is not a wonderful prospect for any dog.

Nowadays it seems to be easier to bring your dog, though. A Brazilian friend of mine who lives in Madrid, Spain, takes his dog with him to Brazil on a regular basis. Still remember the days when it wasn’t possible to bring a dog from one country to another in Europe. So things are looking up for dog owners.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Brazil from Madrid — back and forth — wow. I assume your friend’s dog is an “under the seat in front of you” size. It’s true that the quarantine laws in most countries have been relaxed if you have the proper health documentation for your pet. So, if your pet is the right size, s/he can be a traveler. BTW, our dog does fine in the car, so his trip from Philly to Boston went fine.

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avatar Marilyn Jones March 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Excellent tips!! And you have such a cute dog!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Thanks, Marilyn. He is a sweetie pie, so he has fit in well with his new pack.

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avatar Meredith Wouters March 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm

We love dog-sitting for friends who travel without their dog. It gives us a chance to have the experience of having a dog, without the commitment. My kids love it, and my husband loves to give the dog back when our friends return!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm

I grew up with a dog, but when both my husband and I were working and gone from home from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day, I didn’t think it would be fair to a dog to have one. However, one year, over his Christmas break, our older son brought his fraternity dog, Bailey, home to stay with us. We loved having Bailey which made me think about having a dog some day. When I started working at home, having a dog became a realistic possibility — so Dino became a member of the family (pack).

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avatar A.K.Andrew March 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Great suggestions Suzanne. At the moment I only have a cat which is much easier, but I always miss her when I’m away. I imagine it’s even worse with a dog. I’d love to have one, but wonder if I have what it takes to look after one. This blog certainly had me yearning again:-)

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Dogs take a bit of work, to be sure. Every time I head out for a dog walk in rain, sleet, snow and/or gloom of night, I realize that, but by the time I get home, I’ve usually decided that I get more than I give

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avatar Jason B March 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm

I don’t have a dog, but those are some good tips.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Someday when you have a dog, Jason, you’ll be trying to remember where you read something about traveling with out your dog.

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avatar Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it March 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm

We loved and spoiled the family dog(s) when we had a house full of family. Now as empty nesters, we satisfy our love for animals from a distance. We now have four grand-dogs and they know we’re push-overs for lots of petting. Just like grand-kids, we can spoil them all and then send them home until next time.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm

I know a lot of other people who have furry grand-dogs and cats (hamsters, fish, etc.) who feel exactly the same way. Our son and his wife have a cat, but unfortunately my husband is very allergic to them, so we can’t volunteer to cat sit.

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avatar Jeri March 5, 2014 at 1:55 am

We leave our rescue dog at a doggy hotel a couple of times a year, and it’s very hard on her. She’s very tentative. When I go away for two weeks next fall, the separation will be awful for her, and the cats will have to be boarded as well. Then again, she’s the type of rescue dog that doesn’t like anybody or anything except my husband and me. Leaving her with family would be stressful too.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm

How would she do if you had someone stay with her (and the cats) at your home? It probably wouldn’t be more expensive than paying to board all of them.

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avatar Brian Luckhurst from Home Exchange 50plus March 5, 2014 at 7:21 am

A great read and how did you survive the 40 hour travel marathon! We run a home swap club and many of our members swap their pets as well and have their swap partner look after their dogs, cats or other animals by agreement.

Brian

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Brian. Home swap/pet swap is another solution. I have a blog post about our 40 hour travel marathon. It’s called “The Longest Day”.

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avatar Sharon Purvis March 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm

This is a big part of the reason why I only have cats–not that we travel a great deal, but when we do it’s just easier to ask someone to stop by and fill up the bowl and scoop out the litter every couple of days! But my sister, the dog person, was once considering moving to California with her job, and one of the deciding factors against it was that she didn’t want her dog to be in the cargo hold when she flew back east to see family, and she didn’t want to travel without her.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Some dog people would absolutely understand your sister’s decision not to move because of her dog.

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avatar Debra Yearwood March 5, 2014 at 8:22 pm

First I have to ask, how is wanting to care for a dog selfish? Just because something feels good doesn’t mean it’s bad. :) I had a little giggle when you talked about Dino’s reaction to your arrival and departure from staying at someone’s home while you travelled. It reminded me of a friend of mine who babysits dogs at her home. She spoils her furry visitors so much that they whine when their owners pick them up and race to meet her when they drop them off. Dino must love you as much as you love him.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 6, 2014 at 4:10 am

I’m happy that Dino is so well adjusted that he assumes other people are his friend and that he feels comfortable in other packs. My sister-in-law sends me a cute photo of him just about every day. I do miss having a dog—even here in Paradise (Hawaii).

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avatar Beth Niebuhr March 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

It sounds like the best thing to do if you will be traveling a lot is to be sure that you have a dog that is easy with visiting other dogs and people.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 6, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Considering that Dino came from a dog shelter, we were very lucky that he is as easygoing as he is.

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avatar Mina Joshi March 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I have never owned a pet but have lots of friends and neighbours with pets so I do know how much you must be missing your dog. They do become part of your family and it must be very similar to leaving your child with friends or boarding school whilst you travel. You miss them but know that they are well looked after.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

We were also very lucky with our sons. When we traveled and couldn’t take them out of school, my patents would move into our house to stay with them.

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avatar Cathy Sweeney March 6, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Good advice for dog lovers who love to travel, too. The hubby and I have talked about having a dog, but worry about the travel situation. I think those doggie hotels sounds like nice options if there isn’t a friend of family member to rely on — although they’re pretty pricey, I’ll bet. Cute pics of you guys with the pups.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 6, 2014 at 9:14 pm

I bet you could find a family based boarding situation where you live, but if you start with a puppy it’s hard to leave them anywhere and they’re a lot of work. Cats,?

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avatar Linda ~ Journey Jottings March 7, 2014 at 1:15 am

What a great post – Highlighting the angst of leaving a member of the family behind :(
We’ve resisted re-filling the home with a pet after the last one left us –
But as you have so well illustrated, with a bit of organization its not really a problem finding a family who will pet-sit for you – even when you’re away, as in your case, for months!

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm

If you have the right dog, it’s easier to find someone. One of my sisters (who shall remain nameless) has 2 min-pins, referred to behind their backs as “the monsters”. They have to hire someone to stay at the their house with them if they go away because no one will take them.

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avatar Welli March 7, 2014 at 6:28 am

I am a dogs person too Suzanne and I totally understand you there. The mind has a way of suddenly letting you see everyone who has what is missing from you. So you suddenly see dogs everywhere and they are not your Dino…making you miss him more.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

It’s true, Welli. I hope I’m not freaking people out in our apartment building in Honolulu where I’m pretty much all over any dogs I meet in the elevator.

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avatar William Butler March 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Hi Suzanne,
We’re real dog lovers. Our last dog never liked car travel, so on occasion we boarded her, but things always worked best when we had our neighbor stay with her and check in on her. We had Jessie for 11 years and because of travel, it will be some time before we get another. Nice write up!
Bill

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I feel a little guilty that I don’t want to give up having a dog or travel. We’re fortunate to have an adaptable dog and other people who love him.

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avatar Krystle Cook March 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm

I do not have dogs but my boys always think it’s weird being away from our cats for very long. They are always carrying them so when we are vacation its like they have an appendage missing.

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avatar Courtney Mroch March 10, 2014 at 11:49 am

Excellent article. Our dog, Murphy (aka my beloved fur child), passed a few months ago. My husband and I both love traveling but it tore me up when I could not bring Murph with us. Forget him having separation anxiety…his person suffered from it! We were never able to leave him in his own home, but a couple of times friends watched him and we had a couple very awesome doggie hotels for him. He was super social and loved going when he was younger and could play, play, play all day. But as he got older that really took a toll on him. Your Dino is so cute. I know you must miss him fiercely but how awesome you found such great care for him.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 11, 2014 at 6:45 am

Today is Dino’s 9th birthday which means he’s now a few years older than I am in dog years (which, BTW, I read are not exactly 1:7. Apparently, every dog is different). So far, he can keep up with his much younger dog cousin, Izzy, but apparently, he also enjoys the quieter days when Izzy goes to doggie day care for additional socialization and he gets to stay home without Izzy always wanting to play.

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avatar Lane March 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm

We have two dogs. One enjoys “doggie camp” while we’re away. The other dog is older, needs meds for a heart condition and would completely panic if we left her with a caregiver more than a few days. Whether you can leave the dog is up to the dogs personality also.

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr March 11, 2014 at 6:48 am

Exactly, I was trying to get that point across. That’s why it’s important to try to make sure one’s dog is socialized with other people and other dogs, but temperamentally, some dogs are more reclusive or less able to deal with change. (Just like people!). Also, especially with rescue dogs, we don’t always get them early enough to have them optimally socialized. We were just lucky with Dino since he was already 6 months old when we got him. Apparently, the time between 8 and 10 weeks old is very important.

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avatar ben March 26, 2014 at 3:46 am

Cute little thing :) I love Dino and Izzy trading their beds, how about buying large bed for both of them so that they won’t trade anymore. LOL

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avatar Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) March 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Ben, the bed trading thing doesn’t have to do with bed size. It has to do with asserting dominance and getting first dibs on something belonging to the other dog—at least that’s what I think.

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avatar Kristin April 4, 2014 at 8:59 am

Finally someone answers the question I’ve been wondering about, what you longer term travelers do with your dog! The arrangement with the neighbor sounds ideal. I can totally commiserate about checking out local dogs when I travel– the dogs in Vienna are my favorites (so well-behaved, I even saw them off-leash at the airport). I ended up photographing and blogging about them even though it had nothing to do with my site! My own pooch (tiny chihuahua, who only stays with my mom when I’m away) greets me warmly when I first get home from a trip but then goes through a period where she “punishes me” and is slightly distant. Does your dog do the same or is all forgiven?

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr April 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Dino seems a little depressed when he first comes back home. Even though he and Annabelle mostly seem to ignore each other (when they’re not stealing each other’s beds), I think he misses her for a few days. I think he’ll be the same (or worse) when we pick him up after the 4 months he has been living with my sisters-in-law and his dog cousin, Izzy, even though he was initially somewhat annoyed by Izzy who is only a year and a half old and wanted to play more often than Dino preferred. We have been so fortunate to have had these arrangements for him. BTW, I think you’d really enjoy the Montecristo Travels website I linked to, Monte being a long haired chihuahua. If you are on Pinterest, you might want to check out my cute dog board. Montecristo is on there.

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avatar Kristin April 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I went immediately over to visit Montecristo and have him bookmarked already! I’ll definitely come find you on pinterest! : )

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avatar Lis Sowerbutts April 8, 2014 at 7:19 am

We don’t have a dog because we travel too much- but I am hopelessly in love with a terrier-cross who stays with us when mum and dad go cruising! It’s a bit bad really – after having him for 3 months the house was sooo quiet when he went “home”. The thing is that he think he has 2 sets of parents and is perfectly happy to swap over and even knows the different rules of each house.

I’m totally convinced that although it’s tough on the humans – most dogs are quite adaptable to having new humans to look after for a while! He’s always delighted to see one set of humans show up again – but he doesn’t seem to pine when they are gone – I do though LOL

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Suzanne Fluhr Suzanne Fluhr April 10, 2014 at 4:15 am

I think dogs mostly live in the moment. I’m hoping that when we arrive to pick up Dino, he’ll be like “That was a long trip to the store. When’s dinner?”

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avatar Pat June 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Oh dear, I know I shouldn’t have read this because it makes me long to own a dog, but since I live between worlds it is impossible. I guess I will just have dog sitting for my sister when I am on her side of the Atlantic.

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avatar Carol Cassara June 1, 2014 at 12:44 pm

We have a live in sitter who has become a beloved auntie to our dog, so he barely notices we are gone!

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