10,310. That is the miles I have traveled as we moved across Canada and the USA over the last seven years. I have traversed 21 of the 50 states, some several times, and 4 of Canada’s 11 provinces. Of that number 3,188 miles was with three dogs and the remaining 7,122 was with four dogs.
Anyone who has done it can testify that traveling with dogs is not always an easy task. For some reason they refuse to synchronize their bathroom breaks with yours or with each other, usually whining to signal their need when on 8 to 10 lanes of freeway going through a major urban center or on a long stretch of interstate with no exit in sight. Dogs who are normally succinct in taking care of business suddenly need to examine each blade of grass before making the necessary deposit. We learned not to worry when Taz decided he didn’t need to leave deposits across several states and several days, the inevitable did eventually happen. We didn’t stress out when early in each trip Willa would refuse to eat, perhaps trying to avoid having to making the inevitable deposit in a strange place. Once again time won out and she would start to eat.
We have become experts at finding hotels that would accept more than one dog, those that would accept dogs larger that Moe’s head and a pack of four dogs ranging from 53 to 110 lbs. We found the website BringFido.com very helpful in identifying hotels that would accept us and our road weary traveling companions at the end of a long day. We usually planned out stops a couple of weeks before our departure. We would start with the BringFido site. Once we identified potential hotels, we would google map them to check out the area around the hotel, confirming they had open areas to walk the dogs and preferably a grassy area for our picky Collie. Research is necessary, a hotel that stated it was pet friendly may only take one dog under 10 lbs, have a hefty pet fee or would be surrounded by concrete. Hotels change owners and policies so a visit to their website or a phone call is needed to confirm they would meet our needs. We have found that the Candlewood Suites, Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn hotels have good pet policies and would accommodate our pack. We also found that hotels such as these that have small kitchens are great. They gave us of plenty of room to feed the dogs, a place to wash the food bowls and a fridge to store our opened canned food. There was also enough room for our four fairly large dogs to stretch out and find their own space. A fond memory is of Taz bounding into the hotel rooms and immediately jumping onto the sofa, as if he was calling dibs.
If you are thinking about taking a road trip this summer don’t let having a dog or any number of dogs stop you. Dogs are resilient and accepting of change. There are many hotels that have good pet policies. Most rest stop areas have separate dog areas, some even fenced. We have found truck stops usually have large areas where dogs can be walked, convenient fast food and small stores for any necessary purchases.
Although traveling with four dogs is challenging, it has given us many happy and funny memories of time spent with our dogs. Where ever your travels take you, happy trails and happy tails this summer!