Prince Harry is an orange and white fluffy feline whose interests include jumping in and out of packing boxes, cuddling with his cat brother, and engaging in extreme curiosity. He is healthy, neutered, two months old, and has had his first two rounds of immunizations. He has spent the past month of his life in a foster home with a big dog, so he’s experienced with canines. Prince Harry is available for $75 through Austin Animal Center. To schedule a meet-and-greet in Prince Harry’s Arboretum foster home, or to ask any questions about him, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the first 12 days of July, I took my dog, Felix, and cat, Tiny, on a 3,200-mile road trip from Seattle to Austin. Normally I would not take pets on such a long journey, especially through states whose sweltering summer temperatures can kill, however we were moving across the country, so the animals had to come.
Both pets had taken a cross country road trip before, so I knew they could handle the rigor of the road; however, I was still concerned that the car might break down somewhere with surface-of-the-sun temperatures that would harm them before help could arrive. To mildly alleviate this concern, I brought 15 glass bottles of water for emergency use only. We saw a family huddled under a pop up shade tent by a barren New Mexico freeway while they waited for a tow truck to arrive. I made a mental note to buy this Easy Shade for the next road trip, as much of the Southwest landscape we drove through had no natural shade, and was basically a treeless moonscape.
People are amazed that Tiny was such a chill road tripper since cats don’t have a reputation for being pleasant travelers (i.e. terrified moaning and eardrum shattering shrieks).
I reintroduced her to the car for 10 minutes each day during the month prior to embarking on the trip. I would outfit her in a harness, carry her to car, and then feed her the wet food she loves, but normally can’t have because of her corpulence. After three of these outings, Tiny realized that putting on her harness and being carried to the car meant delicious, forbidden food, so she became quite enamored of the experience. She did not ride in a carrier during the trip, but stayed in her cat bed on the passenger side floor wearing her harness and leash.
We primarily stayed at Best Westerns because they are usually pet friendly, although each hotel operates as a solo franchise, so you must call ahead not only to verify that they take pets, but also to check if they have weight limits. I forgot to do this at one Best Western, and found out when we arrived that dogs over 40lbs were not allowed, so Felix at 60lbs was too big. Our average pet fee was $20 for both animals, but we did stay at a Comfort Inn in Richfield, Utah that charged $20 for the dog and $30 for the cat. We were told this is because cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, so rooms must be cleaned more extensively after a cat has been in them. All hotels made it clear that dogs are never allowed to be in the room alone because of the potential for barking, whining and furniture destruction.
We visited multiple national parks on this trip, and found that they all had the same rule: pets are allowed on the park’s paved paths, but not on any of the “real” trails or hikes. We saw only a handful of dogs in any of the parks we visited, which was surprising considering the fact that there were teeming masses of people in most of them. This post at Pet Friendly Travel has a great breakdown of each national park’s pet rules.
Durango, Colorado describes itself as a “doggone friendly town”, which seemed very accurate. It was also the very definition of charming, with a clean, quaint Main Street and the sparkling Animas River running through it. Felix and I took a walk by the water, and we saw dogs of all types playing in it or accompanying their humans on runs. The city seemed like Paradise Found, so it’s on my list of Must-Revisit Locations.
After spending a night at the very cost-efficient and dog-friendly Best Western Mission Inn in Las Cruces, New Mexico, we headed to White Sands National Monument. After driving an hour through brown, barren desert landscape, the sudden appearance of snow white sand was rather surprising. We arrived at the park around 8:30am, but the heat was already intense as we walked across the sun-reflective sand. Felix loved the sand in the same way he loves the snow; it gave him a strong case of the zoomies, but because he wasn’t allowed off leash, he had to contain his Sand Euphoria.
Marfa, Texas, is a media and hipster darling, and it seems the epicenter of Marfa’s coolness is El Cosmico, an 18-acre trailer, tent and teepee hotel and campground off a busy road. I booked one of El Cosmico’s Safari Tents for $118, and made the very erroneous assumption that because the tent has an electrical outlet and an electric mattress warmer in the winter, there would also be an effective means of staying cool in the summer.
We arrived at El Cosmico at 3pm, tired from driving and ready to relax. My car said the outside temperature was 105 degrees. After checking in and using a giant Radio Flyer they provide to haul our stuff to the tent, we entered an uninhabitable oven; it felt dramatically hotter inside the tent than outside. They provided a small, vintage fan, but it didn’t make a dent in the sweltering temperature.
The El Cosmico managers were gracious enough to refund us half our payment, and we headed to a pet-friendly, air-conditioned hotel in town, the Riata Inn.
Despite the fact that we were at El Cosmico for only an hour, I was impressed by how many campers with polite pups there were on the property. It seemed like a genuinely pet friendly place, and I’m sure if we had gone during a temperate time (April?), it would have been a relaxing experience because the well-manicured grounds were covered in hammocks and shaded places to sit. During our drive through downtown Marfa, we were struck by its cute town square, eclectic eating options, and amazingly friendly people who waved at us from their vehicles.
Only a marathon away from Marfa (26.2 miles) was Alpine, Texas, which had an adorable downtown surrounded by mountains. It was wonderfully cool in the morning, and I wanted to take Felix on a hike, but we had to be in Austin by early afternoon, so couldn’t stay. The only downside of Alpine seemed to be its remoteness – the closest airport is in Midland, which is a 2.5 hour drive from Alpine.
Austin was a six-hour drive from Alpine, and there seemed to be few inhabitants off the long stretch of I-10. The drive became pretty when we exited onto 290 and headed into the hill country. We didn’t have time to stop in the hill country this time, but if you’re headed that way with your animals, be sure to check out this post about pet-friendly places there!
Our friend and fellow shelter volunteer, Midori, takes the most stunning shots of shelter dogs, and features them on her Facebook page called Shelter Dogs of Austin. Here a few of the beauties she shot on Saturday, August 6. Doesn’t she do a great job of capturing the soulfulness of these homeless pups? Check out her pictures below, and be sure to stop by Austin Animal Center to meet (and maybe adopt?) these supermodels!
Recently we posted an infographic on travelling tips for hitting the road with your pooch, but sometimes it’s just not possible to take them along with us in every instance. In these situations, it’s often best to leave them at home with a professional pet sitter.
This alleviates many worries, everything from helping to avoid separation anxiety by keeping them in a familiar setting, to giving them freedom from being trapped inside a crate, cage or kennel situation. When you’re considering bringing a sitting service into your home to care for your beloved pet, you should ask them some very important questions:
#1 – Why are you a pet sitter?
This may seem like an open-ended or unnecessary inquiry, but think of it this way: Is pet sitting something that is a passion for them or just a way to profit from pets? This simple question could find out if they’re truly a service that cares for animals or just a front for some quick canine cash.
#2 – Is there information available online?
If you’ll be using a service, you certainly want one that’s reputable and has a place you can access online where you can meet their team of animal experts. A company that’s committed to canines and cats should at least show some pictures of their staff interacting with animals to show they’re truly qualified to care for your beloved pet.
#3 – What about other services?
Will your pet sitter do more than simply feed your animal? What about exercise, walking, playing and interacting with your best friend? Do they have the ability to stay overnight with your animal if that’s necessary?
#4 – Do they have a protocol in place in case of an emergency?
While this seems like a no brainer, it’s still an important question to ask. While you’re sure to leave your veterinarian’s contact information with them, what happens if a problem occurs outside of normal business hours or your vet is unavailable? What is an alternative plan?
#5 – How can I communicate with you?
While you’re away, you’ll want to reach the person in charge of your pet’s care and not get the run around from an answering service. Will you have the caregiver’s direct contact number?
Can you text or email them with questions or concerns?
For more information on this important topic, see this infographic on “Picking the Right Pet Sitter for Your Dog.” See all the facts and stats associated with this valuable service so you’ll feel more secure leaving your dog in someone else’s care while you’re away.
Summer is almost here, which usually brings some much-deserved vacation time. If you’re planning to take Fido on a road trip, Amber Kingsley created the following infographic to help you safely enjoy the experience!
If you’re seeking a pet-friendly place to stay in Vancouver, British Columbia, situated on a paved trail that leads to all the outdoorsy joys of Stanley Park, look no further than the Pinnacle Hotel on Hastings Street. We stayed here in late November and paid $150 per night for two queen-sized beds and an inspiring view of the water and mountains.
Considering that Vancouver is the most expensive city in North America, the Pinnacle seemed like a steal. We paid a one-time fee of $30 for Felix-the-staffie-mix to join us in the room, and $25 per day to park in the garage. With one Canadian dollar currently equaling .73 USD, this was a bargain. During the reliably-good-weather months of summer, the Pinnacle’s rates go up dramatically, although we had sunny conditions all four days of our November stay, so you might want to risk a winter trip to get the great rate.Continue reading “Dog-Friendly Lodging in Vancouver – The Pinnacle Hotel”→
Austin Animal Center houses 60 pups at their Town Lake Animal Center overflow shelter. Co-located with Austin Pets Alive! downtown near the hike and bike trail (1156 Cesar Chavez), all the AAC TLAC dogs are spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and ready to take home immediately!
Here a few of the precious faces that would love for you to take them out to one of the center’s four spacious play yards for a visit. Don’t forget that we offer 10% discounts to anyone who adopts from Austin Animal Center, Austin Pets Alive!, and Austin Humane Society.
All photos below were shot by longtime AAC Volunteer/Homeless Dog Hero, Devon Steiner.
Bjorn (because a Scandanavian name is suitable for a Texan dog)
After plastering flyers around the neighborhood, posting on all the state’s lost pet forums and Craigslist, setting out a humane cat trap, updating my contact information with Home Again microchip, and going on daily walks with my dog through the area, I decided to hire a cat detection canine to look for Lomé.
Because 10 days had passed since Lomé was lost, his scent wasn’t strong enough for a sniffing dog to track. Instead, we used a dog trained to point at any cat or cat-related scents in the area. For $250 and three hours of service, Mu-the-Cat-Detection-Dog combed the vast ravine into which Lomé bolted two weeks ago. There are no trails through this ravine, which made slogging through it unpleasant. Western Washington is a beautiful place to hike on groomed trails, but its dense underbrush consists of thorny blackberry bushes, rotting tree limbs, ferns galore, dense ivy and ankle-turning holes made by mountain beavers. I love hiking and camping, but wading through this mossy jungle for hours was not a blast.
I adopted Lomé-the-Cat in August 2005. Exactly ten years later, August 2015, he disappeared.
Lomé was my first friend in Austin. I adopted him a few weeks after moving to the city for grad school at UT. It was my first time renting a place alone, and I was excited about adopting my own cat from the shelter. Animal Control picked up Lomé as a stray without a microchip, but the fact that he was front declawed and gregarious indicated he had previously lived indoors.
This oreo-colored cutie is Roscoe, who was recently featured in the Huffington Post for his extremely-long stay at Austin Animal Center (AAC). Despite being stunning, sweet, healthy and happy, Roscoe has been a shelter inmate for more than 500 days! He’s managed to maintain his mental health despite limited potty breaks, playtime or walks during the excessive amount of life he’s spent in a concrete kennel.
Today is National Running Day, and we would like to recommend Roscoe as your running buddy. Shelter dogs have helped us get and stay in shape, and they can do the same for you! There is nothing more motivating than a Canine Fitness Coach smiling enthusiastically while you exercise together. Roscoe hopes you’ll visit him at AAC’s Town Lake Animal Center location (1156 Cesar Chavez), fall in love and become running buddies!