Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Have Dog, Will Travel


Karat and my daughter in the back seat
My family used to take a lot of train trips. But then we got a dog. And while you can bring a dog up to 20 pounds on Amtrak, we got a labrador. Who, though petite for a lab, still weights 61 pounds.

So if we want to take her, we have to drive.
Karat on the floor of the car

Not that we always want to take her. Winter travel, eve to a pet friendly hotel like the Kimpton chain, is problematic because you can't bring the dog to restaurants, you can't eat outside in freezing weather and you really didn't go away to sit in your hotel room.

We have found that our dog, Karat, loves to hike, so we try to take her with us when we plan to hike. And it turns out that a lot of friends who don't have dogs enjoy hiking with a dog, so this has become a group activity.
Hiking with the dog, and friends

We've learned little things along the way, like always have at least two extra water bottles for the dog on those hikes, and bring towels to wipe her down before getting back in the car, We can take off our hiking boots, but her muddy paws can make everyone unhappy.

Dog friendly has different meanings

We took Karat with us on a week-long trip looking for colleges for our youngest daughter. One bed and breakfast we stayed at in Vermont claimed to be dog-friendly, but you couldn't leave the dog in the room without being there. Once Karat has run around for an hour or two, she is content to sleep by herself, but we couldn't eat breakfast at this quaint B & B, where the summer air temperature hovered around freezing, since Karat couldn't stay in the room and we were too cold to eat on the porch.
Worried she'll be left behind

On the other hand we stayed at an inexpensive Best Western in Albany where we took Karat for a run, then left her in the room while we went out to dinner.  No one batted an eye.

Kimpton Hotels: the ultimate in dog friendly

Kimpton offers dog treats in the lobby, a dog bed and dog bowls if you've forgotten your own, and an extremely canine friendly environment.  We stayed at a Kimpton in Portland, OR, that had a 'house dog' for those who didn't bring their own pets; since we didn't fly Karat across the country, we made friends with the resident lab.

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