Today –19 days and 1,750 miles since our journey began — Ace and I pull out of Houston, destined for Bandera, Texas (population 975) and points west.
We’re over budget, sick of fast food and a bit weary and leery of cheap motels — though thankful for the air conditioning they have bestowed upon us. I don’t want to say our most recent motel was a fleabag, but both Ace and I are scratching more than usual, and I know for a fact that at least one spider and one roach were still there when we left.
On the other hand, it did have a crack security squad — one 61-year-old man who left Baltimore after a nasty divorce 16 years ago and circles the parking lot at night in a beat up old van, at least until next April when he plans to retire. As you might guess, he’s now an official Friend of Ace, and by the time I left, I almost had him talked into going to the shelter and adopting a big but friendly dog to assist him in his job duties.
Searching for inexpensive dog-friendly lodgings is a pain — even with the convenience of websites like Bringfido.com and dogfriendly.com. Before heading to Houston we perused both, only to find most motels listed in our price range had weight limits and required non-refundable deposits.
Question: Is it really a deposit when you don’t get it back? I think not. It’s a fee, giant motel chains, and you should call it such. Non-refundable deposit is a contradictory term.
Normally, we stay at a La Quinta, knowing that almost all of them allow dogs, with no fee and no weight limits. This trip though — frugal trek that it is — we’ve opted for Motel 6′s (generally dog friendly and slightly cheaper), and have stayed at a few motel 5′s, 4′s and 3′s, at least on a scale of 1 to 10.
We found our last stop on Bringfido.com — where it turned out to be one of the few whose rate was actually what the website listed. It turns out their “as low as” price and the motels actual prices were most often two different things, leading me to waste hours on the computer.
It’s a good thing John Steinbeck didn’t have Internet, or he and Charley wouldn’t have covered nearly as much ground.
Our goal when we left Baltimore — well mine at least, Ace doesn’t really care — was to spend no more money on the road than I was at home. Less than 20 days in, though — and despite 12 days of free lodging mooched from family — we’ve spent close to $300 total on motels and about $350 on gas, our biggest expense.
We probably should start using that tent rolled up atop my car, which has yet to get unrolled. Before leaving New Orleans, we looked into the possibility of volunteering to help rescue and clean up oily wildlife, especially after we heard trailers were being provided for volunteers. But my phone calls didn’t get returned and the websites I checked all were accepting only trained wildlife rescue professionals.
There’s still some hope of meeting my goal of spending less than $1,000 a month on the road. We’ve finagled some free overnight stays this week, which you’ll be hearing more about in the week ahead.
By the time you read this, we’ve departed Houston — after a planned stop at the Millie Bush Dog Park, west of the city. Assuming my Internet connection works in Bandera, and all else goes well, you’ll be seeing our report on Houston’s dog parks tomorrow.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, bandera, bringfido, deposits, dog friendly, dog's country, dogfriendly, dogscountry, hotels, houston, lodging, lousiana, motels, non-refundable, ohmidog!, pet friendly, pets, road trip, texas, travel, websites
Carey Hughes, a longtime friend of ohmidog!, sent along this photo of her dog Bimini, whose attention has been drawn to something on the computer.
Look closely and maybe you can see what website Bim is so caught up in.
It leads us to wonder — how many of the 50,000 visits we’ve been getting a month are actually dogs, logging on after their humans have gone to bed?
Do they visit websites other than ohmidog!?
Do they enjoy some cyberfetch? Order treats delivered? Go on Facebook and post the trivial details of their lives for all to see:
“Rex is looking out the window watching the snow fall. Can’t wait to play in it. I love snow. Rain, not so much. I’m glad I’m not a cat. OMG, I’m so hungry! And I just ate three hours ago. I think I’ll order some treats.”
Maybe that dog who ordered Xbox points via a remote control is just the tip of the iceberg, and dogs around the world are evolving to the point that they understand computers, or at least understand them as much as humans do.
Or maybe not.
In any event, they’re all welcome here.
Keep reading, Bim.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bim, bimini, computers, dog, dog news, dogs, doogle, facebook, google, news, ohmidog!, pets, readers, visitors, website, websites, xbox
(WARNING: This video is graphic and disturbing)
A man in Lithuania who arranged to have himself filmed throwing a dog over the side of a bridge — and then posted the video online — was forced to turn himself in today after internet groups tracked him down and outed him.
The video, posted on Lithuanian websites, quickly spread across the Internet, prompting Facebook groups and others to call for him to be brought to justice.
The film, which appeared to have been taken from a mobile phone, showed the man carrying the dog to the side of the bridge. He speaks to the camera, making jokes about the videotaping, and how it will prove dogs can fly, while the dog rests calmly in his arms. Then he nonchalantly drops the dog over the side of the bridge.
The dog survived the fall and its whimpers can be heard on the video.
Outraged viewers on Lithuanian websites and international sites such as Reddit.com chased after the man’s identity, and police, with help from web users, determined the dog was dropped from a bridge in the Vilkija district in the city of Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania.
Police said a website they identified as www.15.min.lt was instrumental in identifying the man as Svajunas Beniuk.
The dog was rescued, received treatment for multiple fractures and internal injuries and was expected to survive. Beniuk was expected to be charged with animal cruelty, according to MailOnline.
(Note: The dog, named Pepper, later died. The updated story can be found here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 15.min.it, animal cruelty, bridge, dog, dog thrown off bridge, facebook, identity, internet, kaunas, lithuania, lithuanian, reddit, self, survived, survives, svajunas beniuk, thrown, turns, video, vilkija, websites
Wealthy dog owners in India are turning to online canine dating services to find dogs for their dogs to romp with.
And we’re using “romp” in all meanings of the word.
“A lot of dog owners want their dogs to have doggy friends with whom they can play and have their own fun time,” says Geetika Nigam, who launched the 6,500-user-strong Puppy Love community two years ago.
Just like human dating sites, dog owners can upload photos, blog, search for the perfect match and set up dates, according to a Reuters article.
Many of the dogs are pedigreed — and some owners are looking for a dog to breed their dog with — but others are simply trying to set up play dates.
“People are very happy that finally someone has taken up this cause,” says Mumbai-based Mekhala Lobo, who spotted a business opportunity in her newly launched Date Your Pet website.
“Believe me, in the dog world, finding a mate is next to impossible,” the MBA student said. And harder yet for the males. “Families generally prefer keeping male dogs so females are always in demand,” Nigam, who also owns a dog-grooming business, said.
Ishita Sukhadwala set up DogMateOnline in 2008 to help her cousin’s 6-year-old Doberman Rocky find a mate. “It was more out of necessity than anything else,” she said.
Rocky had a profile set up on the website, but he died before a potential match was found.
Pet ownership has boomed in India, thanks to its growing ranks of wealthy, middle and upper class professionals who are also driving sales of luxury goods. But for the vast majority of the country, which lives on between $1 and $2 a day, pets are not an option. Stray dogs are also often beaten, herded into trucks, poisoned and dumped into pits by government workers.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 20th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: breeding, date, date your pet, dating, dating service, dog, dog mate online, doggie, dogs, india, internet, introductions, mate, mates, mating, meeting, news, ohmidog!, online, photos, puppy love, relationships, social, websites
Which, in my book, is a far more worthy reason to annoy someone.
The Post article recounted the case of Lucy, a missing Australian shepherd-husky mix, who disappeared from her Mount Pleasant neighborhood.
Through Find Toto, the owners were able to, within hours of her disappearance, make contact with 10,000 households in the District and Montgomery County, describing Lucy and letting them know whom to call if she was found.
The article quotes Scott Giacoppo, chief programs officer for the Washington Humane Society, as saying a small industry has evolved around finding lost pets — not all members of which are trustworthy. He urged seekers of lost pets not give up the old-fashioned methods, like checking with shelters, handing out fliers and posting neighborhood signs, and to remember first and foremost that registering one’s dog, making sure the dog is wearing its ID tags, and microchipping are the best ways to ensure your lost pet gets returned.
Lucy, meanwhile, was recovered, but not through the service. A month after she disappeared, she was reported to have been seen by animal control officers on Massachusetts Avenue NW, who reviewed photographs of dogs reported missing back and alerted Lucy’s owners to the sighting. They searched the area and found her.
(Photo from Findtoto.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 10th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: cats, dogs, find fido, find toto, findtoto.com, found, internet, lost, message, missing, pets, robocall, service, telephone, website, websites