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. 


  1. In Paris, dogs are welcimed everywhere. Never forget years ago eating in a lovely restaurant and finding the owners large black dog lieing under my table.

  2. They're also welcome everywhere in Italy. I just got home from a visit to North Carolina. I was as happy to see my Sheltie as he was to see me.

  3. Unfortunately, my old and sometimes incontinent or digestive problem Shih Tzu wouldn't be a great travel companion. Nor could we afford that Palmer House fee. Though some hotels charge less,it wouldn't be a relaxing trip with our dog Romeo. We tried it once when he was younger on a short trip and we fly on the long ones. Our groomer takes him in cheap, he loves her and we don't have to resort to kennels. Nice that Kitty is well traveled.

  4. A couple years ago sitting in a middle seat on a Southwest Airlines flight, I got quite a shock when I felt something nuzzling my ankle and looked down to see the tiny snout of a little dog protruding from a blanket heaped up on the floor of the seat to the left of mine. I didn't say a word nor did the lady harboring the pet under her feet say anything. So I'm not sure to this day if the dog had been smuggled on the plane or if its presence was permitted by Southwest Airlines. I'm sure reporter Neil would have gotten a lot more out of the experience than I did, information-wise anyway.


  5. We take our yellow lab, Rosie on vacations with us all the time. It's nice when they have pet friendly places.


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