Traveling with 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.

Hotels that roll over for pets

Courtesy The Benjamin

Millions of people consider their pets to be part of the family and take their animals with them when they travel.

Hotels have caught on and there are now more than 25,000 “pet-friendly” properties. Some simply put up with you and your pet if you pay a hefty extra fee. Others go all out, offering welcome amenities that might include toys, treats and special services.
For a slide show on MSN Travel, I found some lodgings where pets have a paw-up on people.

Here’s a sampling:

Robes for Rover

Courtesy The Benjamin

At The Benjamin Hotel in New York City, pampered pooches snack on complimentary treats, relax in plush doggie bathrobes, dine from ceramic food and water bowls set in wrought-iron stands and drift off to sleep in specially-designed dog beds, sized small, medium or large.

Good dog: The hotel can arrange for a spa gift basket ($40) filled with lavender-scented doggie bath amenities to be delivered to the room.

Massages for “Material Dogs”

At check-in, dogs at La Quinta Resort & Club in the Palm Springs desert community of La Quinta, CA receive “Material Dog” travel totes with organic pet treats, travel-size bottle of disinfectant and deodorizers, biodegradable waste bags and stainless steel pet tags. Hour-long, in-room relaxation massages for pets and their people are also available.

Good dog: A massage therapist offers instructions on performing pet massage at home.

B&B in the world’s biggest beagle

Fans of kitsch and canines get both at Dog Bark Park in Cottonwood, ID. On site is Toby, a 12-foot tall statue of a beagle, and Sweet Willy, a 30-foot tall, 32-foot long structure that is the World’s Largest Beagle and a bed and breakfast with a sleeping loft in the muzzle and a bathroom beneath the tail.

Good dog: Guests can purchase dog-themed carvings at the on-site gift shop.

Camping Canines

Canine Camp Getaway
hosts dog-centric vacations events in Lake George, NY twice each year. In addition to a dog-friendly swimming pool, camp staff includes dog trainers, veterinarians (traditional and holistic) and a dog nutritionist. Camp activities include “Barks & Crafts” and canine freestyle dancing.

Good dog: In addition to nightly “Yappy Hours,” the dining room has a dog friendly section for those who enjoy dining with their dogs.

(All photos courtesy of these pet-friendly hotels).

More hotels that roll over for pets tomorrow.

Jack the cat: alive, but not out of the woods yet.

I have to admit, I didn’t think this story would have a happy ending. But, today on’s Overhead Bin, I was pleased to be able to report that Jack the cat, at large at John F. Kennedy International Airport since escaping from his cage in the American Airlines baggage claim area two months ago, has been found.

The cat got loose in the airline baggage center at JFK on Aug. 25, after Karen Pasco checked Jack and another cat in as cargo. A day later, parts of the airport were shut down in preparation for Tropical Storm Irene.

Since then, more than 18,000 Facebook fans of Jack the Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK have been following search efforts that have included at least two Jack the Cat Awareness days, a pet Amber Alert and the hiring of a pet detective.

“He was found when he fell through a ceiling tile at Terminal 8 and was discovered by Customs employees who turned him over to American Airlines,” said Pasco. “He’s in critical condition after being who knows where in the terminal for the last 2 months. He’s being administered fluids, has low blood pressure and is dealing with the effects of prolonged malnutrition. While the prognosis is good overall, he’s not out of the woods yet.”

American Airlines announced the news that Jack had been found on Facebook:

“American Airlines is happy to announce that Jack the Cat has been found safe and well at JFK airport. American’s team of airport employees have been focused on the search effort since Jack escaped on August 25, 2011. Jack was found in the customs room and was immediately taken by team members to a local veterinarian. The vet has advised that Jack is doing well at present.”

Pascoe is in California, but Bonnie Folz, a New York-based search coordinator, saw Jack shortly after he was found. “It was great to know it’s him and to know he’s safe,” she said. “He looked fabulous to me. His eyes are big and beautiful and bright, although he’s lost some weight and he needs some grooming. He’s on IV and is having some tests to make sure he’s OK.”

American Airlines said once Jack is ready to travel, the airline will fly him to California to be reunited with his owner.

In a report of the incident filed with the Department of Transportation and included in the Air Travel Consumer Report issued this month, American Airlines reported that, “The clerk responsible for transporting the kennels to the FIS area loaded one kennel on top of another, and while the kennels were stationary and waiting to be loaded on the aircraft, the kennel positioned on the top fell to the ground. The impact of the fall caused the kennel to separate and the cat escaped.”

Souvenir Sunday: Socks and pet services

Yesterday’s Snack Saturday feature served up Tastycakes and other Pennsylvania-made treats for sale at Harrisburg International Airport’s (MDT) Perfectly PA shop.

Tastycakes, made in Pennyslvania

That same shop is where you’ll find one of this week’s Souvenir Sunday picks: socks decorated with an Amish horse and buggy scene.

 Novelty socks

Novelty socks for sale at MDT Airport

I’m sure there’s a shop or two over at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport that stocks novelty socks as well. (Moose anklets, anyone?)  And it’s a good bet there’s a coupon in the airport’s summer coupon book that can be used towards that purchase.

Don’t need any socks? It’s still a good idea to download the coupon book from the MSP website or pick up a copy at an information booth inside the airport. There are dozens of two-for-one and free-with-order drink and meal deals in there, along with discounts and gift-with-purchase deals in many airport stores.

You should also pick up the MSP summer coupon book if you’re a pet owner. MSP has a 24-hour pet boarding facility – it’s called Now Boarding – on airport property and there’s a coupon in the booklet good for a free bath or nail trim for pets staying overnight.  That seems like a great airport souvenir for pets – and their people.

Now Boarding - pet boarding at MSP airport

Did you find a great souvenir last time you were stuck at the airport? If it’s under $10, “of” the city or region and, ideally, a bit offbeat, please snap a photo and send it along. Your souvenir may be featured on a future edition of Souvenir Sunday on

Stretching the limits of ‘pet-friendly’

If you’re one of those people whose dog tags along when you travel, then you’re well aware of the growing number of pet-friendly hotels, inns and resorts out there. These properties go way out of their way to welcome you and your pooch but, as I found out for my column this week, Stretching the limits of ‘pet-friendly,some pet owners abuse the privilege.

I started thinking about this topic when I found a pile of dog poop out by the elevators at an upscale, pet-friendly hotel in Portland, Oregon.  “It happens,” one hotel manager told me.  “More than you want to know,” said another.

A hotel owner in California dunned a guest $150 for letting their dog chew up a down comforter. And while their policy prohibits guests from leaving dogs alone in the rooms, it happens anyway at the Paw House Inns and Resorts in Vermont. “People say, ‘Oh, our dog is well-behaved and is fine being left alone,’ but we’ve had nervous dogs claw at the floors, chew the molding right off the door frames and tear apart the sheetrock on the walls in an effort to get out,” owner Mitch Frankenberg told me.

Bad dogs? “No, just bad owners,” says Frankenberg. And, it seems, good pet owners who, feel the need to chew up the rules.

Sherry Gavanditti smuggled her 15-year-old family dog, Benji, into a no-pets-allowed hotel by wrapping a scarf around his head and cradling him in a blanket like a baby.

Sheryl Matthys, the author of “Leashes and Lovers” — a new book about dogs and relationships — has brought her greyhound, Shiraz, “who is by no means a purse dog,” into nice hotels that either don’t allow pets or have size and weight limits that exclude medium to large dogs.

And for years Howard Lansky (an alias) and his wife have taken their Wheaten Terrier, Raleigh (also an alias), along when visiting a favorite historic hotel in New Hampshire. This year they may all have to return in disguise.  Lansky recalled a hot day last summer when he and his dog jumped into one of the hotel pools for a swim. “Some other guests thought it was cute and even took pictures.” The hotel staff, however, was not amused. Lansky later received a $100 “Dog in Pool” fine in the mail.

Some hotel owners told me that no matter how pet-friendly they make their properties, some guests will find an excuse to yap and whine.

“We allow dogs to sleep in the bed with their owners, to swim in the pool with their owners and to attend lectures with their owners,” said Janice Costa, owner of the Canine Club Getaway in Lake George, N.Y. “We even have an outdoor dining area where guests can dine with their dogs.”

But that just isn’t enough for some. “One woman refused to come here unless her dog got a seat at [not beside] the dinner table,” Costa recalled. “Another woman wanted us to provide a dog bed with linens that would match those on her own bed. And we’ve had several people who wanted us to make sure the dogs in the rooms on either side of them were of the same breed, because they believed their dogs prefer being with their own kind.”

To read the full column – and cast your vote in a survey about how you and your pet behave when on vacation – please see Stretching the limits of pet-friendly on