Pets

Traveling with your pet?

Where to stay and play with your pup on National Dog Day

No bones about it. People love their pets and want to take them along when it comes time to travel.

That’s why so many hotels now offer pet-friendly guestrooms and are joining breweries, restaurants and other attractions to offer special packages and pup-themed parties open to all to celebrate National Dog Day on August 26.

Some events include freebies, discounts, activities and treats for pups and their people. Others will pass along donations to local animal shelters as well.

Here’s a round-up of some of the events I put together recently for CNBC:

Puppies and Prosecco in Colorado

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver is offering an in-room puppy-palooza as part of its Puppies + Prosecco Package August 23 – 26.

Guests who book the package will have 6-10 adoptable puppies delivered to their room, along with Prosecco and Italian nibbles from the Panzano restaurant. A Lifeline Puppy Rescue expert comes along to answer questions and take care of the puppies and 50% of each booking will be donated to the shelter. (Package price: Best Flexible Rate for Luxury Suite + $50; call 800-990-1303 to book).

All Mile High City dogs & their owners are also invited to celebrate National Dog Day at Denver Union Station, which is holding a free National Dog Day Yappy Hour in the Great Hall on Monday, Aug; 26th from 4 to 7 p.m. with dog-friendly vendors and treats.

On National Dog Day, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek will be waiving its usual $150 pet fee and kicking off a pet-friendly package that include dog beds, food and water dishes, house-baked treats and a list of local hikes and dog-friendly dining options.

New York pup parties

In Brooklyn, New York, the William Vale will be offering 10% off room rates for all stays between August 23rd – 26th, 2019 and donating 10% of all proceeds to Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue. Canine customers will receive dog biscuits from District Dog, a bowtie from Hiro + Wolf and a toy from Wild One.

On August 25, the William Vale is also hosting a Tea Party and Dog Day Show, with categories such as best rescue, waggiest tail and best in show. Tickets: $25 per person (and dog) with $5 per ticket donated to the animal rescue as well.

On National Dog Day, August 26, pet portraitist Ben Lenovitz will be on site at the Moxy Times Square to create custom pet portraits. Portrait fees start at $80 and 50% of the proceeds will benefit pups at Muddy Paws Rescues.

Raise a pint with your pup

In Columbus, Ohio, the BrewDog Brewery has a full day of pet-friendly fun planned for National Dog Day on August 26.

A puppy pool party will feature craft beer for dogs, free doggie cupcakes for the first 100 pups to arrive, a make-your-own dog bow-tie class, and a dog agility competition. A groomer will be on site for free training and quick nail treatments as well.

The brewery is also offering “Supper with your Pupper,” a $25, 2-course meal that includes a a choice of menu items for humans and a dog beer and a pupcake for canine companions.

Virginia is for dog lovers

The Alexandrian, in the Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia will host a special National Dog Day event in the hotel’s courtyard on August 26 with a “Smooch a Pooch” kissing booth encouraging pup adoptions from Project Second Chance animal rescue.

The event will also feature pop-up dog training demonstration, games and treats for pups and their people, a prize wheel and watercolor pet portraits for purchase with 25% of the proceeds going to the animal rescue.

Cocktails with your canine

Guests who dine with their pups on the terrace of ADDiKT, the restaurant on the 15th floor of the W Miami, will receive one complimentary signature cocktail as well as complimentary dog treats on Monday, August 26th. The hotel is also offering a special Doggie City Guide at check-in that lists Miami’s top dog parks and pet-friendly restaurant hotspots.

Yappy Hours 

In Idaho, Hotel Ketchum will be offering complimentary upgrades for dogs (and their owners) on National Dog Day and donating 100% of all pet fees collected to its animal rescue partner, Mountain Humane. The hotel will also be hosting a Yappy Hour from 4-6pm with beer/wine for humans and treats for dogs.

The Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, CA will host its National Dog Day Yappy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. on August 26 in the resort’s waterfront A&O Kitchen+Bar. Fido-themed cocktails for humans will be featured, along with tasty treats for pups, with a percentage of all sales to be donated to the local Newport Beach Animal Shelter.

And the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia is having its annual National Dog Day pup-fest on August 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event features free dog washes, caricatures, a photo booth and treats from Big Gay Ice Cream. The hotel’s Red Owl Taven will have a dog-themed happy hour on the patio with drink and snack specials, such as Hush Puppies and Greyhounds. The hotel’s shelter partner, Lulu’s Rescue, will be on site with adoptable pups.

Bonus tips for traveling with your pet year-round

Of course, National Dog Day isn’t the only time of year many hotels welcome guests to come by with their pets. Pet-friendly hotels welcome well-behaved dogs (and other animals) year-round, if pet owners observe some basic pet etiquette.

“Call in advance,” says Jorge Gonzalez, general manager of the Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, “Request a guest room on the lowest floor or near an elevator for quick bathroom break access. And only travel with your furry companion if he or she is housebroken.”

Gonzalez also reminds guests checking into a hotel with pets to be mindful of other guest by keeping pets leashed and not leaving a pet locked in a guest room alone.

Out of respect to other guests that may have to listen to a lonely dog bark, cry or howl, “Take them with you to explore the city,” said Gonzalez.

Viral video shows dog owner ignoring her dog’s poop at Denver Airport

Reno-Tahoe International Airport pet relief area

RNO airport pet relief area

Last week, my At the Airport column on USA TODAY discussed the challenge airports are having with all the animals – mainly dogs – passengers are bringing into the terminals. Some dogs are well-behaved; others not.

“We find them making messes on the airport carpet, interfering with the airport’s working dogs and, on occasion, biting other dogs or passengers,” said Kama Simonds, spokeswoman for Oregon’s Portland International Airport.

This week, PDX issued revised rules for animals in the airport  which include potential fines up for up to $250 for infractions such as letting your dog do its business on the floor and not cleaning it up.

Looks like Denver International Airport will have to consider adopting similar rules. This video of a woman chatting on the phone instead of cleaning up after her dog has gone viral, with folks on the Internet working together to ID her and shame her.

By the way, Denver International Airport has official dog relief areas in each concourse.

Airports tightening the leash on animals in terminals

Thinking of taking dog your pet or emotional support animal with you on your next flight? Be sure to check the airline -and the airport – rule books on that. As I describe in my ‘At the Airport’ column this month for USA TODAY, airports are following the lead of airlines and making new and more restricted rules for animals in the terminals.  Below is a slightly edited version of that column.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport pet relief area

There were plenty of “Aw, that’s so cute” social media posts last month when Eleanor Rigby, one of two service dog vest-wearing golden retrievers accompanying a passenger to Philadelphia on American Airlines, went into labor and gave birth to eight puppies in a gate area at Tampa International Airport.

(Courtesy TPA Airport)

No one was charmed, however, by the report a passenger at Los Angeles International Airport posted last February about a woman who replied “They have people for that” when asked if she planned to clean up after her dog did its ‘business’ on the airport floor.

Yet both stories are examples of a wide range of animal-related incidents that are forcing airports to expend extra resources and causing them to rethink policies governing animals in the terminals.

In the Tampa airport puppy case, cute became controversy when animal rights advocates and people with certified service animals began questioning if the vested dogs were legitimate service animals and asking why a very pregnant dog – be it a certified service animal, emotional support animal or pet – had been allowed to fly so close to its due date.

TPA officials point out that airports have no say over the animals that airlines allow on board.

“We were just there to help with the situation and are happy the puppies were delivered safely,” said TPA spokeswoman Emily Nipps.

Tampa International Airport hasn’t yet tallied up its exact costs for having paramedics, operations, communications and maintenance staff spend several hours attending to Eleanor Rigby and her new puppies during the airport delivery, “But having paramedics assisting a dog in labor could have potentially impacted a medical emergency on another side of the airport,” said Nipps.

Cleaning up: the rules and the messes 

As had been widely reported, airlines have seen a sharp rise in the number of animals traveling on planes. Some are ticketed pets, but many are pets that have been flying for free thanks to loopholes in rules governing the transport of emotional or psychiatric support animals.

American Airlines reported a 40% increase in the number of service and emotional support animals on flights between 2016 and 2017. United Airlines cited a 75% increase year over year.

Like airlines, airports have had to make accommodations for all the extra animals and, like airlines, airports have been logging increased instances of pets and emotional support animals that are untrained, unruly and dangerous to others in the terminals.

“We find them making messes on the airport carpet, interfering with the airport’s working dogs and, on occasion, biting other dogs or passengers,” said Kama Simonds, spokeswoman for Portland International Airport.

Last December, a 5-year old girl ended up in the hospital after being bit in the face by an uncrated dog waiting for a flight with its owner at Portland International Airport. And a local TV station filming for a report on dog issues at PDX caught a schnauzer in the act of peeing on the airport’s brand new $13 million carpet.

Many airports hope revised policies for flying with emotional support animals recently rolled out by American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United and others will cut down on the number of animals in airport terminals.

“The way we see it, if the airlines put more specific and stricter guidelines in place to manage the issue, it will take care of the problem in the airport too,” said TPA’s Emily Nipps, “So we support the airlines in tightening up the policies.”

For its part, Airports Council International-North America, the membership organization which represents and advises most U.S. airports, is urging the Department of Transportation to clarify its rules.

Currently, there’s confusion for both passengers and airports because airlines are covered by the Air Carrier Access Act, which recognizes emotional support animals, while airports are covered by a different act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, which does not recognize emotional support animals.

“We want DOT to clearly articulate that airports are within their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act to require anyone bringing an emotional support animal through an airport terminal to house those animals in carriers, so they don’t interfere with other passengers, employees, staff or other animals including service animals and TSA and police canine units,” said Thomas Devine, ACI-NA’s general counsel.

DOT is currently taking comments through July 9 on proposed rulemaking related to traveling by air with service animals and ACI-NA will join the public and other industry groups in filing comments.

But at least one airport is not waiting for DOT to get around to making its final ruling.

After consulting with other airports, including San Francisco International, Detroit Metropolitan and Fairbanks International Airport, Portland International Airport plans to issue new rules aimed at clearly defining the different categories of traveling animals—pets, emotional support animals and service animals—and clarifying how the airport expects travelers to care for these animals while in the terminal.

“We see many people bring their pets when meeting and greeting people in the terminal. That’s a no-no,” said PDX spokesperson Kama Simonds, “Pets should not be at the airport unless they are traveling or being shipped.”

The new PDX rules will remind travelers that, like pets, the airport requires emotional support animals heading for airplanes to be in carriers while in the terminal. If too large for a carrier, those emotional support animals must be kept on short leashes.

And if a traveler’s animal urinates or defecates on the floor at PDX, the new rules will require an owner to remain at the site until someone from the janitorial staff arrives.

During July, airport operations staff at PDX will start spreading the word about the new rules. Come August, though, warnings and citations for bad dogs could be issued, with possible fines of up to $250.

A tighter leash on emotional support animals flying on American Airlines

American Airlines becomes the latest U.S. carrier to issue renewed and tighter rules for taking emotional support and service animals on board it airplanes.

The full rules, which go into effect July 1, 2018,  are listed here, but some of the  highlights include:

To fly with an emotional/psychiatric service animal, customers must contact American’s Special Assistance Desk at least 48 hours before a flight and provide documentation.

American says validation of that documentation will include having the airline contact your mental health professional.

Certain types of animals from are now forbidden from flying as emotional/psychiatric support or service animals, including insects, amphibians, reptiles, hedgehogs, goats, ferrets, snakes, spiders, waterfowl, birds of prey, animals with tusks, horns or hooves (except specially trained horses) and animals that have an odor.

To fly for free, emotional/psychiatric support and fully-trained service animals must meet the tightened requirements, must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap (and if flying in your lap, be smaller than a 2-year old child).

And service or emotional/psychiatric support animals will not be allowed to stick out into or block aisles; occupy a seat or eat from tray tables.

 

No new pets in cargo on United – for now

United Airlines is temporarily suspending its program for flying pets as cargo on airplanes.

The announcement came Tuesday after much-publicized incidents involving mix-ups involving pets being transported as cargo and another in which a dog died after a flight attendant insisted its owner place the in-cabin pet carrier in an overhead bin.

“We are conducting a thorough and systematic review of our program for pets that travel in the cargo compartment to make improvements that will ensure the best possible experience for our customers and their pets,” United said in a statement, “To achieve this outcome, we will partner with independent experts in pet safety, comfort and travel.”

United said it will honor reservations for transporting pets as cargo that were already in place as of March 20. But the program is not accepting new reservations until at least May 1, when United says its review process should be completed.

In its statement, United said that the PetSafe suspension would not affect pets traveling with passengers in the aircraft’s cabin.

“We are also reviewing this service and have already announced that beginning in April we will issue bright colored bag tags to help better identify pets who are traveling in-cabin,” United said.