Sande DonahueHello! My name is Sande Donahue, author of JoJo: A Dog’s Tale – An Autobiography (www.jojothedog.com) and parent of a three-year old, 5 pound, Yorkie Poo. Yes, that’s y-o-r-k-i-e p-o-o. Designer dog? Hardly. He’s a package of cuddles, kisses and lots of poo.Those of you who are pet caregivers certainly know the love, care and attention that is required in caring for our little four-legged creatures of all kinds. Truth be told, they are our “other children” and no one is going to tell us any differently. Our little guy has four beds, a full wardrobe, a pet carrier, a stroller, a car seat, a private pool float, and the list goes on. We are not deranged. We prefer to think of ourselves as campy, caring, cuckoos, over-filled with love for him and willing to do whatever it takes to wag that tail and put sparkle in them there eyes!

When it comes to travel with “regular” children, there are very special issues and precautions that need to be addressed. But travel with these wonderful and beloved four-legged beings can be a challenge beyond our normal comprehension. In fact, you may have to be a little more discerning and a little more proactive when it comes to traveling with your pet companions. The reasons being that your pet will not be able to voice his concerns or discomforts, as in “I need to stop every half-hour to pee.” Or, “I don’t like that music and will pee on your brand-new, ultra suede upholstery to let you know that.” There will also be fears or anxieties as in “I’m peeing again because I don’t like that mountain drop I see out the window.” Or, “What the hell is that big, silver bird out there that we’re headed to? I think I’m going to pee.” As pet-parent, calm-giver and solution-guru, it will be your job to make sure that the journey will be comfortable and pleasant for your pet companion. It’s the least you can do, for heaven’s sake! You will have to take the lead and become his “mindreader” and do some very creative pre-planning to make sure that happens.

If you follow just a few simple guidelines, plan accordingly, and use every skill and imaginable creative, mind-boggling idea that crosses your mind for the next ten years, you’ll be able to make travel with your pet an enjoyable and memorable excursion for all the family. Seriously, it’s not really that bad, but it will bring out the best in you.

In future blogs, I will give you tips and guidelines along the way as well as introduce you to websites specifically geared towards pet and family travel. I will also share my experiences along the way in various hotel/motel facilities, B & B’s, resorts, airlines, campgrounds, etc. to try and give you a full perspective on the joys of traveling with your pet and things to be wary of in that travel. There are some fabulous places out there, but rest assured, there are some very, scary joints that could rock your world and keep you off the road for good. But it’s my job to steer you in the right direction and keep you on the light side of the moon and away from the Bates Motel or the Addams family B & B.

In this age of animal awareness, it has become more than a task in caring for your pets. It has become an integral part of your make-up to be able to love, care and communicate with your little four-legged guys and gals. They have feelings just like you and I and we, as their caretakers, need to be aware of those feelings and their anxieties, lest we end up as major stockholders in the ultra-suede upholstery industry!

So, for now, many happy woofs and meows to you and I will see you next blog. Much information to come your way but in the meantime, just say Arf.