Vacation

Pax's first road trip!

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Jarrod (my husband) and I love to travel. We usually leave the country 1-2 times a year and since we got Pax it gets harder and harder to leave. This year we decided to travel with him! Unfortunately, with my boating accident earlier this year we didn’t want to go to far or fly for too long so we decided on a road trip around california! 

Pax loves the car. I think part of it has to do with the fact that he’s been in the car since day once and we drove 6+ hours home with him in my arms. When we go outside he always runs to the car and thinks we are headed somewhere. 

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We get asked a lot about our top road trip tips. A few months ago I posted about Brittany & Layla’s road trip and her tips. So here I am to add to the list from our own experience. We started our journey in San Diego and stopped in Orange County, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, Napa, Mendocino, & Santa Barbara. We chose those destinations one because we have family in several of them and also because they are very dog friendly. We stayed in hotels in San Francisco, Napa, and Santa Barbara. San Francisco we stayed at the Hyatt Regency - they are dog friendly! We stayed at a fabulous hotel in Napa called the Archer Hotel. They were absolutely pawesome!! Their concierge set up a wine tour for us at all dog friendly wineries. Lastly, in Santa Barbara we stayed at a Kimpton hotel called the Canary Hotel. Once again, beyond accommodating. We found all of these hotels through our chase points and then calling to confirm they are dog friendly. When we were checking in we had to fill out a few pieces of paper that references his breed/name/details..etc. Mendocino’s airbnb was very appropriate as it was on an apple orchid and had acres for him to run around. The restaurants weren't as friendly so we ended up staying in and cooking the few nights we were there.

Best way to find out if places are dog friendly is to google it, ask around, use yelp or bring fido. Most websites will also express if they are dog friendly!

Here are additional tips that I think are helpful:

  1. We mapped out our journey to spend max 3 - 3 1/2 hours in the car. the one day we drove farther than that we stopped several times to let pax out and give him water. 

  2. Pax wasn’t hungry at his normal hours probably because of all the new settings so we brought a cooler of all his my ollie and put his bowl in there and kept trying to feed him when we stopped

  3. Call hotels & activities (we went wine tasting for example) and find out if they are dog friendly or check out online. 

    1. Yelp is helpful (and you can search within the reviews) for dinner reservations in most areas

    2. Bring Fido 

    3. Plain old google 

  4. Bring ALL grooming supplies 

  5. Pack towels - never know when you’ll need to wipe some paws! 

  6. Treats, chews, and only a few toys

  7. Google local vets in the area before going 

  8. Make sure you understand local laws 

  9. Google dog parks and read the reviews!! 

  10. We brought both a pop up bowl for water and a dog water bottle for him 


Hope this was helpful! Enjoy the road! xo

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When Rover Goes Wrong. A Dog Mom’s Truth.

Getting a text message from your rover sitter at 4am that your dog is pooping on the carpet, stealing food from the other small well behaved pup, and running around like a banshee is kinda comical slash a complete SH*T moment. It is so hard being in another country on a different time zone and praying your dog is being the perfect angel you claim he is! Basically, Pax is pushing all the boundaries and likes to be the boss. He’s not alpha but he sure does like attention. He’s not taking no for answer and decides if he doesn’t get what he wants he poops on the rug. #SMH....Their dog is 7 years old and the size of Pax’s face- ehhh probably not the best match. Pax keeps trying to play and the dog is just not into it...He even snaps at Pax to get him to go away. I know this is the truth because our 8 year old family dog does the same thing to him.

So how do I stay semi calm while my dog is at home running a muck. First is to not freak. Recognize there is not much I can do and be ok with not being in control. Looking at what I can control is step one. The next step is to not take it out on the rover sitter and think it’s her fault. Through instagram Pax looks perfect but I hate to break it to you...Pax isn’t perfect. SHOCKER! So, I called the babysitter, and was a complete betch to start with because I want to instantly blame someone else for the fact that he’s going bonkers and after hearing her voice and how sweet, kind, compassionate she is about the entire situation it instantly shot me back into reality. Man, It’s gotta be really hard for her to tell me things are not going well while we are abroad and she’s worried about her dog and pax getting along. 

I wonder what it’s like to be a dog in a new space. Does it feel like you’ve been abandoned so you poop on the rug? Do you feel constant anxiety waiting for your parents come back? If there is another dog do you have to become the alpha to let them know who’s boss but it’s really just due to your anxiety? 

As a dog Mom it’s challenging not knowing what he is thinking or feeling. I also wonder if I think too deep into all this and need to recognize that he’s a pup NOT a human haha. Being a psychologist I am fascinated by human behavior and in this case, dog emotion and behavior. It’s such a blessing to be tuned into these things...anddddd it’s a curse to be so tuned in as well.

Thank goodness for the dog Mom community- I am grateful. I am grateful for those who can relate, offer advice, laugh it off with me. I am grateful for the other dog mom’s, like my friend, Raechel, who went to pick him up and is with him now. 

Learning lesson here: When you interview dog babysitters- make sure that you are HONEST about your dog. Make sure that their dog and your dog are compatible. Make sure that you explain the needs of you dog clearly. Example: a walk around the block might tucker out one dog where another dog needs to scale a mountain. Most importantly you need to self-check and own your dog’s faults, be authentic, and over communicate your needs. 

That’s all for now... the truth is out there! 

Nikki

Going on vacation without your fur child? Check out these tips!

Leaving your furball for the first time, second time, or thirteenth time never gets easier. Whether you are leaving for a couple hours or several weeks it never feels good to know your pup is at home away from you. It’s challenging to head off to your vacation knowing that you’re pup will be in the hands of someone else. We all have a special way of taking care of our special family members. I spend more time with Pax than anyone else and understand his mannerisms, when he needs to be brushed, how to calm him down, when he’s hungry, and when it’s time to go potty . Leaving him is extremely uncomfortable for me for many reasons. First, I feel a lot of guilt. I feel that I shouldn’t be leaving him and that concerns me for when I become a human mom because I know how important it is for me to do my own thing. I think the other challenging thing is that Pax doesn’t speak English so he doesn’t understand when I say I’ll be back buddy. Next, I worry that someone else is not going to treat him like I would. 

We have used rover 3 different times. The first time we used rover we had a terrible experience with the couple watching him.  So, how did we make sure that didn’t happen again? We have interviewed about 20 people since that time. People often ask me if they can help out or watch him but we like paying for a service for those who work from home or that this is their full time work. I want Pax to be their main priority. I am an over communicator and as you know I love photos. The next two people we have used on rover have been fantastic. Sending multiple photos every couple hours, constantly checking in and putting me at ease. They have brushed him out knowing the importance for keeping his fur untangled, giving him kisses and belly rubs, listening to all of my instructions and asking more questions if they are confused. These are SO appreciated by a traveling mama. 

So, I bet you’re wondering what you need to do to prepare in leaving so here are some tips to check out before you leave your fur baby for vacation: 

  1. Figure out if you want a family member, friend, or service to watch your pup.

  2. If you have a family or friend - talk with them about payment and their schedule up front.

  3. Recognize you’re expectations about dog sitting and what you truly need from someone.

  4. If you’re going outside of family or friends- interview multiple people or canine services.

    1. Questions to ask:

      1. How long have you been doing this?

      2. How do you discipline dogs?

      3. What is the dog pees in the house?

      4. Do you have a dog?

      5. How many dogs do you watch at time?

      6. What type of exercise/activities do you do?

      7. What is your typical schedule when you are watching dogs?

      8. What do you do with the dogs if you need to leave the house?

      9. Where will my dog sleep?

      10. What information do you need from me?

  5. Write down all parts of your dog’s schedule including the food they eat and how much.

    1. What to write:

      1. Your name, phone number to reach you at, vet contact information

      2. Emergency contact information, any dietary restrictions or allergies

      3. What to feed your pup and how much/times of day

      4. What type of exercise your baby needs and how much

      5. Sleeping habits

      6. Bathroom habits

      7. Bathing needs/grooming needs

  6. Set up an interview - bring your pup to meet all the people you are interviewing. Watch the interaction both between you and the potential sitter and your pup and the sitter.

  7. Trust your intuition and never be uncomfortable to ask for what you need and what your expectations of the individual or service. Remember it is always better to be transparent and upfront in the beginning rather than be reactive later on.

Additional questions? Email me!

xoxo 

nikki