Tag: traveling with dogs
Encountered: While walking my dog in my neighborhood in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Backstory: More than a year after setting off to retrace the path of John Steinbeck and his poodle Charley, we finally ran into a poodle named Charlie.
Even though it’s spelled differently, Charlie is named after the dog Steinbeck explored the country with in “Travels with Charley.”
His owner is a big fan of the book.
Ace and I ran into her and Charlie while passing the Diamondback Grill, where Ace always stops for water and a treat. It’s just down the road from where our year of travels came to an end, when Ace and I moved into the very apartment I was born in.
It struck me as interesting that only after completing our quest — only after we finished our 27,000 miles of Charley-inspired travels around the country – we’d finally encounter a poodle named Charley, or even Charlie.
Perhaps it just goes to show you, or at least me — when you finally stop looking for something, that’s usually when you find it.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, charley, charlie, dogs, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, pets, poodle, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley
A full year has passed since Ace and I — after a year on the road — called a temporary halt to our wandering ways and moved into the apartment of my birth in Winston-Salem, N.C.
During that time I’ve reclaimed my stuff, and gotten things organized to my liking, but I’ve done little to improve the outside appearances of my new abode — a one-story brick unit that looks just like all the others in the former 1950′s-era apartment complex turned condo.
Shortly after I moved in, the homeowner’s association here in what’s called College Village, began sprucing things up, landscaping the barren front of the buildings with azaleas and gardenias and the mulch of choice in these parts, pine needles.
But my front steps, especially after that, were pretty bland.
So, getting hit with an urge to build, make home a little homier, or maybe just put my mark on the place, the front stoop seemed a good place for a home improvement project — as silly as that may be to do in a rental property where, though I don’t have it entirely figured out yet, I probably won’t be staying for any great length of time.
Last week, after a good two years of avoiding Home Depot, I headed there to get what I needed for the project. I wanted to build a flower box for each side of the steps, to sit atop the brick ledges, and plant something flowery that would climb up the wrought iron rails.
Gardening, maybe, was something I missed during our year of travel, staying with friends, family, in the car, at campsites, in a boat, in a trailer and at a lot of Motel 6′s. (You can read more about those travels here, and buy the awesome commemorative Travels with Ace calendar here.) Since deciding to stay put for a bit, and moving here, all I’d done, gardening-wise, was stuff some pansies in some pots and put them on the front step’s brick ledges.
That was in honor of a pending visit from my sister and her husband. She lived here as a toddler, and had told me about how, before she had a brother to pester, she would sit on the front porch and talk to the pansies planted there, because it looked like they had faces, and she’d found they wouldn’t interrupt her.
Last week, with measurements in hand, and my son along — he’s visiting for the summer — I headed to Home Depot, determined to make not just some plain wooden flower boxes, but some that would securely fit over those brick ledges on the side, so as not to be knocked over by any big dogs, and I was intent on doing so as inexpensively as possible.
We bought some cedar fence planks, and two pine furring strips, some nails, some dirt, some white impatiens for the front of the boxes and, for the back, two clematis — clemati? — that would, according to the plan, wind their way up the black railings. Total cost: About $60.
Through a lot of trial and error, miscuts and boo-boos, we managed to put together two boxes, with slatted, recessed bottoms for drainage that perfectly fit over the ledges, with a little encouragement from a rubber mallet.
Once they were in place and secure, I realized that, in addition to being about the right size for what I was planting, they were also the perfect size for a couple of my neighbors — Frank and Bogey, both dachshunds.
So we invited Faren and her dogs over.
With the dogs in place, my modest apartment was transformed — into something close to one of those mansions that have pretentious lion statues at their entrance. Well, maybe not that close.
Bogey, that’s him on the left, was patient enough to stay in place while I took the picture. Frank, on the right, seemed mesmerized by being in the box. Frank, who has some weight issues, barely fit in, but he seemed to like that. Maybe he found it reassuring, like one of those Temple Grandin hugging machines.
He seemed willing to stay there all afternoon. Frank, we should point out, is in the midst of a weight loss regimen — and doing great. Not real active when I first met him, prone to giving up and laying down whenever his owner took him for a walk, we found that, with Ace along, he was inspired to keep up.
He has lost almost five pounds, has far more pep in his step, and almost every day, with Ace along, he’s logging a good half mile, with plans to increase that incrementally.
His brother (though not by birth) Bogey, is an active sort, prone to chasing squirrels if given the slightest opportunity. He’s much slimmer, and a bit longer than Frank. Between that and wanting to see outside, he chose to keep his front paws on the edge of the box.
Bogey’s the kind of dog that doesn’t want to miss anything.
Frank’s the sort who doesn’t want to miss dinner.
I’d probably rather step outside to see Frank and Bogey in my boxes than flowers, but that’s not practical, so I let Faren take her dogs back, explained to the two of them, and Ace, the importance of not peeing on my custom-built, cedar flower boxes, planted my flowers and took the “after” picture that’s atop this post.
In the months ahead, I expect my clematis vines — already with about a dozen blooms — to grow and climb. I expect Ace to not jump over or through my boxes in his eagerness to get outside, usually to see Frank and Bogey. I expect Frank, homebody that he is, to shrink more as our walks continue. I expect Bogey, adventurer that he is, to pick up a scent and chase something.
It occurs to me that I’m equal parts Frank and Bogey, and I think Ace is, too, and maybe we all are – part of us wanting to stay put, part of us wanting to get out of the box and explore.
But sometimes staying inside the box — as long as it’s one in which you can still grow – isn’t too bad.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bogey, cedar, clematis, dachshunds, decorating, dog boxes, dogs, dogs in boxes, flower boxes, frank, front steps, gardening, home, home depot, home improvement, impatiens, living in the box, living outside the box, nesting, pets, project, road trip, settling down, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
This photo seems to sum up Ace’s feelings (as I read them, anyway) about the ocean.
Upon seeing it, he starts acting half his age (I do too), gets totally energized (I do somewhat), and bolts into the water until a wave hits him and he starts having second thoughts.
He eagerly chased this ball into the ocean (and he’s not real into ball chasing) and scooped it up. Then, though his tail was in full curl – the barometer by which I measure his happiness – he got a look on his face that seemed to say “what am I doing in here?”
Then he rushed ashore before the next wave broke. He loves the ocean. But he has a slight fear, or should we say healthy respect, of waves.
Ace and I were in Wilmington visiting friends Steve and Louise Coggins, who we’ve told you about before, and who, in addition to putting us up, sponsored my table at a “Lunch with an Author” event at Cape Fear Community College.
The event, which raises money for creative writing scholarships, was pretty easy duty — a two minute speech, and lunch with a friendly group of people who, by virtue of sitting at my table, got my book (“DOG, INC.: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry.”)
Among the dozen North Carolina authors appearing were Rory Flynn, the daughter of Errol Flynn and author of “The Baron of Mulholland”; Martha D. Peterson, a former CIA agent and author of “The Widow Spy;” and Katerina Katsarka, author of “Around a Greek Table, Recipes and Stories.” Katerina also stayed at the home of Steve and Louise, and brought along some the best spanakopita I’ve ever had.
Ace didn’t get any of that — I don’t think – but he did manage to mooch more than his share of treats at their home on Figure 8 Island.
As opposed to the hands-free bottle, or an IV Coca-Cola drip?
The only downside of the trip was a flat tire. Fortunately it didn’t take place until I had arrived on the island. Unfortunately, my spare tire, while it rides on the back of my Jeep, is temporarily trapped behind a locking bicycle rack.
A locking rack whose key disappeared a long time ago. (It’s pretty amazing that, in our 27,000-mile road trip with Ace, that never arose as an issue.)
That appeared to mean I would need a tow-job, and a whole new tire, even though the ones on my car are only about two weeks old.
The tow-truck man quickly located the hole, though, and plugged it up. He also passed on some useful beach knowledge — misting yourself with a Listerine-water mix (I presume in a hand-held bottle), will keep no-see-ums away.
It was far too quick a beach visit, but a thoroughly enjoyable one, especially for Ace, who got a sufficient amount of ocean time, a more than sufficient amount of treats, and some quiet time with his good friend Earl.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, cape fear community college, coca cola, coke, dog inc., dogs, figure 8 island, flat tire, hand held bottle, john woestendiek, lunch with an author, north carolina, ocean, pets, road trip, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, waves, wilmington
With nearly a year having passed since Ace and I rolled to a stop, after 27,000 miles and one year spent rambling, he seemed more than ready for a quick road trip.
When the time did come to leave, he jumped in the back before I could set up his ramp.
Two and a half hours later, we were in Spindale, N.C., where both spring and pollen were in the air, and where I gave a talk about my book, with Ace laying down at my side, doing absolutely nothing, but upstaging me all the same.
Our friend Kim had helped set up our appearance at Isothermal Community College, and when the talk was over, after everyone came up and petted Ace, I followed her to her house.
There, Ace again didn’t want to wait for the ramp. He jumped out and, sensing a cat, ran into her open garage.
I turned to look and got a fleeting glance of a white cat who seemed to jump six feet, straight up, into the air, landing on a heating duct. That was the first, and last, Ace would see of Lily, though he never gave up hope.
Even after Kim got Ace out and closed the garage door, he spent about 15 minutes sitting in front of the the cat door, and, for the next two days — despite having 10 acres at his disposal — he chose to mostly sit in front of one cat door or the other, in hopes Lily would appear. She never did.
Ace, who turned seven in March, had a pretty busy schedule.
And that’s not even counting all the time he put in searching for the cat and monitoring any activity in Kim’s kitchen.
After the appearance at the college, we met with a book club at Fireside Books and Gifts in Forest City.
Again he behaved well, though he did stare down one of the club members until she forfeited the last bite of her sandwich.
Maybe I should go to bookstores and stare at people until they buy my book.
On Friday we appeared in a huge auditorium at Rutherfordton-Spindale Central High School, speaking to about 350 students, most of whom came up to meet him at the end of my talk, which was halfway about Ace and our travels and halfway about DOG, INC.
Once again, it seemed I was doing all the work, and he, effortlessly, was getting all the attention.
He all but ignored a cute little pup in the store named Gretchen, and got growly with her when she tried to jump up on him.
Back at my friend Kim’s house, once all the pizza was gone, he conked out — too tired to even think about Lily.
Our apologies to Lily, for forcing her to lay low for two days.
Our thanks to Kim and family for putting us up, arranging all the appearances, and spoiling Ace rotten.
Between her, the students and me, he consumed three bags of treats over the two-day period.
He has three days to recover before our next trip, to Wilmington, N.C., for a Lunch with an Author event at Cape Fear Community College. It raises funds for creative writing scholarships. Attendees, for $40, get to have lunch with one of about a dozen authors, get a signed copy of that author’s book, and get to listen to that author talk about their book with their mouth full. I imagine it will be like a job interview lunch, where, for fear of getting caught with your mouth full, you don’t really eat.
It being a lunch, Ace won’t be attending that. That would probably be his idea of heaven — a dozen food-filled tables to mooch from — but it wouldn’t be a good idea at all. He will get to see his friends Steve, Louise and Earl again, and we’ll do our best to squeeze in some beach time.
Unless, of course, he sees a cat, in which case we’ll spend all our time waiting for that cat to reappear, even though it won’t.
His cat love has only intensified in recent months — ever since our neighbor got a kitty named Tom, and they began bonding daily through a window, as if on a prison visit.
He definitely seems to be ever-hopeful, and under the impression that good things come to those who wait — whether what he’s waiting for is the next road trip, a hunk of pizza crust flung in his direction, or, best of all, a cat.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, appearances, auditorium, book, books, cloning, dog books, dog cloning, dog inc., fireside books, fireside books and gifts, forest city, isothermal community college, john woestendiek, north carolina, r-s central high school, road trip, rutherfordton, spindale, stage, steinbeck, talks, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley
Pet Airways — viewed as salvation for those who hoped to avoid their dogs traveling, luggage-like, in cargo holds — has hit some turbulence.
Created in 2009 by a California real estate developer, the airline in recent months has canceled flights, leaving dogs and cats stranded and their owners inconvenienced and angry, the New York Times reported Saturday.
“Dog and cat owners are angry about canceled flights. Travel sites are abuzz with complaints, including customers who claim they have not received refunds for paid-for flights. And the company is burning through cash at a rapid rate.”
Alysa Binder, the co-founder of Pet Airways, acknowledged in an e-mail to theTimes that the airline has had some problems procuring planes from contractors and needed to cancel “some flights during the holidays and into the new year.”
“We are a very new company that is pioneering, just as FedEx pioneered the overnight packaging business,” Binder told the Times. “We have ups and downs, but we are keeping our eyes on the long-term goal of providing a safe and comfortable transportation option for the pets.”
The company, which says it has flown more than 7,000 cats and dogs, is still taking reservations, according to its website.
Pet Airways offers service to nine cities. Flights run from about $100 to more than $1,000 each way, and roughly 40 pets can sit in crates in the main cabin (the airline carries pets only), monitored during the trip by a pet attendant.
The airline was a welcome alternative to the major airlines, some of which ban pets in the cabin entirely. Most typically store animals in the plane’s cargo hold, where temperatures can vary wildly and have contributed to deaths. According to the Department of Transportation, 122 dogs died in cargo holds on U.S. airlines between May 2005 and July 2010.
Records indicate Pet Airways had no flights between Dec. 16 and Jan. 16, and it is unclear if it has had any flights since then, according to the Times.
“We are working toward being in the air as soon as we can be assured that the planes are ready for our use,” Binder said.
In a recent regulatory report, the company said it did “not currently have sufficient cash on hand to meet our financing needs … Our auditors have raised substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, airlines, alysa binder, angry, animals, canceled, cargo holds, cats, complaints, customers, dog friendly, dogs, financial, flights, new york times, news, pet airways, pets, problems, reservations, stranded, travel, traveling with dogs, traveling with pets
Ace slept through the whole thing, but I, at least, was honored to be a guest on Animal Cafe this week to discuss my year-long, penny-pinching, Steinbeck-inspired, dog-motivated journey across America.
You can listen to the podcast here.
We talked about “Travels with Ace” with Edie Jarolim, pet travel correspondent for Animal Cafe.
As Ace snoozed on the futon, I recounted, by phone, how — having finished my book, and languishing in a state of unemployment — we came to move out of our home in Baltimore and not come to a stop until 25,000 miles later.
Part of that time was spent retracing the route John Steinbeck took with his poodle in “Travels with Charley.” But unlike Steinbeck, who spent three months on the road, we ended up taking a year before we semi-settled back down.
When Edie asked me if our traveling was over, I had one of those schizoid moments. Responsible John answered yes, they pretty much were. But Freewheeling John was there on the other shoulder, urging that we hit the road again.
I told him to shutup — at least for now.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 10th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animal cafe, animals, dog inc., dogs, edie jarolim, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, pets, podcast, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley
Letting your dog ride on the back of your motorcycle may not be entirely responsible behavior, but we love this old video anyway, and the way it kind of oozes the Eighties.
It was a less politically correct era, when you could get away with something like this without amassing critics, a time when you didn’t have to be Tom Selleck or Wilford Brimley to get away with wearing a moustache.
This vintage video featured Gary, a student at a community college in Troy, N.C., and his dog, named Dog.
Gary was enrolled in gunsmith school, and his dog, Dog, went with him everywhere, holding on tight to the shoulders of his master.
Gary, who traded a beer for Dog in California, described him as a “good companion, easier to get along with than a girlfriend and a little less expensive.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 1980s, animals, bond, college, community, companion, dog, dogs, gary, gary and dog, motorcycle, motorcycle dog, motorcycle riding dog, north carolina, pets, riding, traveling with dogs, troy, video
But according to Petfinder.com, Pet Airways is where your dog can expect the best service.
Petfinder released its annual review of pet-friendly airlines this week, outlining the best options for traveling in-cabin with animal companions. (Petfinder advises against shipping your pet in cargo holds.)
Here’s which airlines came out on top in the various categories.
Most Pet-Friendly Overall: Pet Airways. Dedicated to providing a superior travel experience for animal passengers, the first-ever pet-only airline tops the list for this category due to their outstanding policies and first-class treatment of pets.
Best Amenities for Pets (and Pet Parents): JetBlue. For the second year in a row, JetBlue’s superior JetPaws program landed the airline in top place for the pet-friendly amenities category. The airline provides travelers with a pet carrier baggage tag, a travel “petiquette” guide, 300 TrueBlue points each way, and a comprehensive e-booklet with pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks and animal hospitals in some of JetBlue’s major cities.
Best for Transporting Pet Variety: Frontier Airlines. Frontier allows the most diverse variety of pets in cabin, including domesticated dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and small household birds.
Best for Budget-Conscious Consumers: WestJet. Included in Petfinder.com’s review for the first time, WestJet tops this category allowing small dogs, cats, rabbits and birds to travel for $50 each way in-cabin. Coming in a close second, AirTran Airways allows domesticated dogs, cats and birds to fly in cabin for $69 each way.
Best for Flying Multiple Pets in Cabin: Frontier Airlines. Frontier allows up to 10 pet containers on each flight, though only one per human.
Best for Big Furry Friends: Pet Airways. Pet Airways can accommodate some of the biggest pups in town, with the maximum height allowance being 34 inches.
“As the proud parent of a huge pet family, I know how important it is to find a way for your pets to travel safely and comfortably with you, whether across the country or across the state,” said Betsy Banks Saul, the co-founder of Petfinder.com.
“All too often we hear stories of pets dying or getting injured while traveling in a plane’s cargo. We feel strongly at Petfinder.com that you should only travel with your pet in the cabin with you when flying, which is why we continue to review and promote the pet policies of airlines each year.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 26th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airlines, animals, dog friendly, dogs, flying, pet airways, pet friendliest, pet friendly, pet friendly airlines, petfinder, pets, review, survey, transportation, travel, traveling with dogs, trransporting
Names: Gracie and Chloe
Age: 4 years old
Breed: Golden retrievers
Backstory: Recent transplants from Florida, Gracie and Chloe are getting accustomed to Winston-Salem. They’re shown here walking with their owner, Terry. When he and his wife went to look at them and the rest of the litter, they disagreed on which one they wanted. He liked one of the lighter colored ones, while his wife preferred the darker.
And that’s why Terry walks two dogs.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, breeds, chloe, dogs, encounters, golden retrievers, gracie, north carolina, pets, photography, road trip, roadside, roadside encounters, silas creek trail, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, winston-salem
The airline Monday banned the brachycephalic breeds from air travel because of the risks of breathing problems and overheating.
The ban covers pugs, bulldogs and boxers, and several breeds of cats, including Himalayan, Persian and exotic short-hair cats, CNN’s Business 360 blog reports.
Cathay Pacific’s ban follows similar moves by Singapore Airlines and several American carriers.
The U.S. Department of Transportation released figures last year showing about half of all in flight deaths in the previous five years were short-snouted breeds, with English bulldogs accounting for nearly a quarter of those deaths.
“The ban is to bring Cathay Pacific into line with industry practice because it has been found that there is quite a bit of danger,” said Thomas Lau, Cathay Pacific’s assistant manager of public affairs.
Hong Kong’s Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA) believes that the ban is an over-reaction.
“… There are cases when air travel is unavoidable, especially when owners need to emigrate,” said Rebecca Ngan, communications manager of SPCA Hong Kong. “If owners cannot send them in the cabin they may have to abandon them or put them to sleep.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air, air travel, airlines, american airlines, bans, brachycephalic, breathing, breeds, cathay pacific, cats, dogs, english bulldogs, flat-faced, himalayan, hong kong, overheating, persian, pets, restrictions, short, singapore airlines, snouts, spca, travel, traveling with dogs, traveling with pets