Month: January 2016

Introductions take time, and oh so much patience

One of our “souveniers” from our holiday trip was a Jack Russell Terrier named Buddy. My husband has also tagged him with the nicknames, “Boudreau” and “Spuddy.” but that’s another story.

Two adults in a one-bedroom apartment, with a one-year old child, and another dog, made for crowded conditions which were intensified by the fact that Buddy became flaky around the baby. He guarded the child from birth, but when she became mobile his mood began to change. I love dogs, but my son was right, Buddy had to leave before something happened.

So of course…….

The first test

Before officially adding the dog to the household, we had to make sure he and Kodi (the corgi) got along. This was a road trip, and there was no way I was breaking up fights in the back seat for more than 2,100 miles.

Car ridersThe dogs were driven around, and passed the test. A few days later, we were off. A few times I looked in the backseat and only saw one dog. That was because Kodi was either sitting on top of Buddy, or had him squished against the door.

At hotels we put them in their individual cages when we were out of the room.

New dog fears

Understandably Buddy had no clue as to what was going on. On the road I would catch him staring out the window. Looking out the window  It’s hard to explain to a pooch that this is the best for him. In the apartment he was being shuttled between rooms so he wouldn’t have contact with the baby. He would have full run of our house.

He is slowly figuring out that he has a new home, and is safe. But still, sometimes I find those big, woeful brown eyes asking, “why?”


Buddy is younger than Kodi, or so we think. Kodi is 9 years old, when he arrived as a youngster, he drove my sweet Labrador, Shadow, a senior citizen at the time, to distraction by running under her. Shadow was tolerant to a point. She and Kodi had their “words.” Now Kodi is the senior citizen dog and is getting a bit of payback.

There have been a couple of scraps, Kodi defending his territory, and Buddy trying to establish himself in his new home. This is clearly evident when the go out to potty. Kodi raises his leg, Buddy waits and then remarks over the same area.

We continue to take them out together. They have to co-exist. We are a family. I believe separating them will only intesify the rivalry.

The cat

In all of this, Samantha seems to be more of a bystander. Maybe Buddy doesn’t know what she is, but he ignores her.

Best Friends

I have no expectations that they will become best friends. That’s OK. My goal is for them not to fight. Considering they are both males, I think we have done pretty well. The process continues, and precautions are taken. I don’t know if I will ever feel comfortable leaving them both out when we are not home.

Your experiences

There are “experts” about animal behavior. In my experience, dogs and cats, and even birds, are not a “one-size-fits-all” deal. Each is very different, and how you approach things should reflect this. You can read books and blogs, and even take them to obedience classes, but it is important to recognize your dog or cat, as an individual with their own personality. An excellent source is to listen to how others have addressed issues like this, and take bits and pieces from all, until the puzzle fits for your family.

If anyone has experience – stuff that worked – stuff that didn’t, please share. I would enjoy hearing from you.

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Check out my weekly Pet Dish  column, Fridays, at, for more tips and tales.




Ways to make your hotel love you — and your dog

Traveling with dogs has become easier in recent years. Many, many years ago we stayed in a hotel in North Carolina, no mention of our wire haired terrier, we were only staying the night, we were exhausted, and no one would take us in.

We had a crate where Buttons would stay the night, we would be with him the whole time, and there was a discreet place to walk him.  As we were settling in my husband read the information on the back of the door. You know that white piece of paper some hotels post that no one reads. Well he read it, and apparently in North Carolina at that time, it was against the law to have a dog in a bedroom, or even to pass through the bedroom, with a dog, like on the way to the bathroom where we put his crate.

I do not recommend sneaking a dog into a hotel. As I recall we did not sleep well, and it just isn’t necesary any more. All La Quinta’s allow pets at no extra charge, and many Best Westerns welcome pets, though they charge usually about $10 a night. Best Western has the better breakfast, sorry La Quinta, so it’s worth it to us.

These two seem to be confused, but you get the idea. This was taken right after we arrived, so Kodi’s crate hadn’t been set up with blankets. Notice how I placed the crate in the far corner of the room next to the sliding door. We were on the 2nd floor. This was the Marina Best Western in Corpus Christi, Texas. Excellent place to stay with pets.
  1. Walk your dog into lobby and  introduce him, especially if you are staying a few days, and will be leaving him alone in the room. Of course the staff likes dogs, their hotels encourage pet owners to stay. In my experience, most of them remember Kodi’s name.
  2. Let the housekeeping staff know that your dog is in a crate. This helps them when they want access to your room. I don’t know about your dogs, but mine are going to bark if you knock on the door (which they do).
  3. Some hotels do have size and breed restrictions – ask when you make the reservation. We have stayed at a LaQuinta in Daphne, Alabama several times and I have seen all breeds and sizes. So I am guessing this chain doesn’t have restrictions. Best Westerns vary, some — like the one in Daphne, do not allow pets – which is why we ended up at the LaQuinta across the street. It’s up to each individual Best Western.
  4. These two are not the only pet friendly places to stay. Choice, Marriott, Holiday Inns, Extended Day, and others often offer this option. is a good site to check on accomodations in the U.S. and Canada.
  5. Keep your dog on a leash at all times. Even if you have the best behaved dog on the planet, follow this advice. There are too many unknowns while traveling, including other dogs, and your well behaved dog may bolt.
  6.  Clean up after you dog. You know those security cameras at the front desk? They can see you and your pup. They probably aren’t going to say anything, but they are going to be far more attentive if they see you being responsible.
  7. Don’t leave your pup all day. Try to arrange activities so that you can pop in every couple of hours and let him out.
  8. Leave the t.v. on low. Kodi likes kid shows. It’s basically company for him and helps to buffer outside noice.
  9. Leave them a safe toy and make their crate as comfy as possible with blankets from home that have familiar smells. It’s a good idea to remove their collar when they are in the crate, and you are out of the room. This eliminates the chance off them getting it caught on the crate.
  10. Set their crate up in an area away from the door and hallway traffic. This will help reduce the barkig. Placing a second blanket or towel, (yours, not the hotels) over the top of the crate so it covers two sides can offer comfort in a strange place.

So there are some of my tried and true tips. More to follow.

Next installment: What is it about corgis?

5 reasons you should vacation with your dog

When we travel, Kodi (and now Buddy) go with us. The only exception is if we have to fly, very rarely, and then they have to be left at home.

Over the Christmas and New Year holiday we drove cross county to Arizona, back to Texas and home. Getting to see family along the way. Our pups are part of that family. And we were not the only ones on the road with our pooches.

Here are my top 5 reasons it’s good to travel with your dog:

  1. It’s good for your circulatory system. If you tell your doctor you are driving long distances she will probably tell you to stop often. But you’re trying to make time, so you pass the rest areas. But with a dog you stop every couple of hours and when he stretches his legs, you stretch yours. This is good for your circulation, not to mention your mood.
  2. More hotels are welcoming dogs and it is less expensive than boarding. The most I paid was $20 on one night. Most were $10 per night, and if you are staying multiple nights you may be able to make a deal. The hotel charges because their housekeeping staff has to clean a little longer in a room that has had a pet, before the next occupant (and wouldn’t you want them to?), but if you are there several nights they aren’t going to do that every day so you may be able to get a discount. Can’t hurt to ask.
  3. You save money on meals on the road. Since your pup can’t go into restaurants, and you are not going to leave them in the car no matter how low the temperature is, you will pack a picnic. This is much nicer than sitting in a restaurant, and it saves time.
  4. Nice to come home to. After a day visiting family, or sightseeing, coming back to your pup waiting for you in the hotel is a slice of home. Don’t forget to have a nice crate for him to stay in.
  5. Tired drivers tend to smile at you, and you them, and that’s good for your health. Kodi received a lot of attention, I find corgi’s often do, had his photo taken multiple times by other travelers, and even if nothing was said; smiles were exchanged.So there are my five top reasons. Tomorrow I will give you tried and true tips to make your pup a favorite with the hotel staff.

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Lost dogs – 5 things you must do if you find one

Some of you may think I, myself, have been lost since I haven’t posted for several weeks.

Over the Christmas holiday, my husband and I, and Kodi the corgi, took to the road – 2 1/2 days from the east coast of Florida to Mesa, Arizona. For two old folk, and a senior pup, it was a challenge — but we did it!!

Snow in New Mexico

There are many stories coming from this trip, including the addition of another pup for the trip home.

Kodi has a new “brother,” Buddy, and not too sure about snow.

But those are for future posts- ideas to get me back to blogging.

Today we talk about lost dogs and their horrible owners. (I refer to dogs, but this also applies to cats)

As a columnist I receive requests to write about lost dogs in hopes the media attention will bring them home. Recently I wrote about Sammy, a dog missing since Thanksgiving – fast forward to the end — he was reunited with his family in time for Christmas.  If you would like to read the whole story, and the happy update:  Sammy’s home

Last week another dog went missing and there were photos of a couple picking him up and putting him in their vehicle. OK, nice thing to do — prevent a dog from getting hit by a car.

But what do you do with the dog? Too often, well meaning people (like the most recent) decided their local humane society (a couple miles away) would immediately  euthanize the animal so they took him to a “No Kill” shelter, 80 miles, an hour and a half drive away, so he would be “safe.”

How in earth will this animal have a chance to be reunited with his family? When a dog goes missing I always reccomened owners check shelters in nearby counties, and local rescues, but I doubt I would have suggested a humane society half way across the state (Florida isn’t  very wide).

Humane Socieites are generally a safe haven for lost and abaonded pets. Of course there are exceptions. It is up to you to learn about yours, first-hand, not through gossip.

There’s a lot of assumption going on here. The owners were relying on heresay  and false information about their local shetler, that actually has a low euthansia rate, and keeps the animals a minimum of 5 days to allow their family to find them, before being available for ADOPTION.

They were also assuming the owners were negligent by allowing their dog to roam. The reaction from those looking for the dog, tells me this wasn’t the case.

I have had dogs get out; jump fences, or run out an open door. We all have. It’s a terrible feeling as you search neighborhoods, call local vets and humane societies, and put up posters, wondering if you will ever have your pup (or cat) by your side again.

Fortunately the “Do-gooders” did mention where they were taking the dog and his family got him back.

Please get involved with your local shelter. Learn, first-hand,  about their policies. Did you know if you take a dog to them you can ususally put a “hold” on the animal. This means if they do not find the owner, or cannot adopt him out, you can claim him and get him to another rescue. Believe me, I have worked and volunteered for “open shelters” and they do not want to euthanize.

This is a hateful rumor and is not in the best interest of any animal. Just so you know, an open shelter (humane society) never turns an animal away – “no kill” shelters have space restrictions, and may have to turn them away, and in many cases refer people to the open shelter. There are many humane societies and resuces that work together for the common good of the animals, but there are always going to be the others. Educate yourself about what you have in your area, and not through gossip.

5 things to do if you find a dog:

  1. Approach cautiously. He is scared, he does not know you and you do not know this dog.
  2. Call your local animal control, or take him to the nearest humane society or rescue open to the public (not all are).
  3. Take him to your vet and ask them to scan the dog for a microchip. They will usually do this for free and if one is detected, they have the authorization to contact the microchip company and get the owner’s information.
  4. Even if the dog is muddy, and appears unloved, don’t assume someone is not looking for him. Any of us sleeping outside a night or two is going to look worse for wear.
  5. Snap a photo and put it on your FaceBook page, or if you have a media outlet, or a neighborhood page like – post it there.