Thursday, September 29, 2016
Travels with Kitty
We took Kitty with us down to Champaign last weekend. My idea. We were about to leave her with the neighbors—they love having her, of course. And no doubt she would be happy to be left behind, playing on the block with her dog pal Izzy. But then we would be dogless, and I decided it would be just more fun to have her along, and it was.
She is a well-travelled dog--she has been out to Colorado, and sniffed at Rocky Mountain National Park, had tea in the Empire Room at the Palmer House, or the dog equivalent of tea anyway, padded through the Smokey Mountains, and turned up her nose at the Atlantic Ocean.
At times wrangling both Kitty and a vacation has required a bit of ingenuity. In Durango, Colorado, we knew we would be gone most of the day taking the narrow gauge train to Silverton and back. So I slipped a $20 bill to the bellboy to walk the dog at lunch. He was happy for the easy double sawbuck, and I felt like King Farouk arranging it. Kitty didn't seem to mind.
Hotels tend to be more accommodating to dogs than they used to be. The Palmer House provided a special dog bed. The Chateau Frontenac in Quebec has a dog in the lobby, to comfort dogless visitors. There was a line to pet her. Before our trip downstate, I phoned ahead, and the Hyatt Place was happy to have her, though they should be, considering their $75 fee for dogs, which is good whether you stay one day or six. A lot of money, and would have been a deal breaker, but I was there with a festival, which had secured a block of rooms, and special accommodations were made.
As soon as we arrived, we took her to lunch across the street at the Big Grove Tavern, which was also happy to have her dine with us, on the patio. We weren't even the only party with a dog waiting for a table. I looped her leash under the leg of my chair, and left her to sniff around, and snuck her bits of omelet.
I could go on, but there really isn't more of a point today than, "Don't be afraid to take your dog places." Yes, I know, earth-shaking it's not. No matter. Take the dog. Sure, you might feel like Nathan Lane in "The Birdcage," particularly if you are a man of a certain age escorting a tiny dog. Go with it. You'd be surprised what a well-behaved small dog can get away with, if you're polite and quick about it. I walked her into the Northbrook Post Office one day last week to transact some quick business.
"Are dogs allowed?" I asked innocently, as we conducted our transaction.
"Not usually," the clerk said, tossing Kitty a glance.
"Oh, I 'm very sorry," I said, collecting my stamps and my change. "I didn't realize." And we were gone.