Travel Talk: Take care of your furry travel companions
Bud and I are dog people – well, we also have a wonderful cat, Mariah, a three-legged rescue from the Concord SPCA. But our Standard Poodles, Maggie and Millie, are central to our lives around the house, around town and even when we take extended vacation down south during the winter months. We like to have them with us often as possible, but the recent heat wave has made us hyper alert to potential life-threatening problems.
Cars: Of course we never, ever, ever leave Maggie and Millie in the car; it’s just too dangerous, even when you think the clouds are covering the sun and cooling things off. If a breeze comes up and the sun comes out, it takes mere minutes for the interior of a car to heat up to critical levels. What if you’re in a store and can’t see the weather outside? Too frightening to think about. Think cracking a window will keep them cool? It will absolutely not . . . ever! We do short outings, perhaps to the dog park. Then, if we have an errand or two to do, we make sure we are both in the car. One of us will hop out to do the errand and the other will stay with the dogs in the car. In weather like this week’s, we leave the AC on full blast. In more normal weather, we roll down the windows and enjoy the breeze. But Maggie and Millie are never alone in the car.
Necessities: We also make sure we have various dog necessities to protect the girls and the car. We have a quilted car-seat cover by Solvit ($39.99 on amazon.com) to absorb sand, mud, sharp toe nails and other things that could damage our car’s upholstery. We have collapsible plastic dog bowls for water. There are more varieties than you can imagine; pop into a local pet store or search amazon.com for options. Most importantly, they should collapse flat. We have several and leave them stored in the seat-back pockets in both cars. We bring two large-mouth insulated water bottles (human-style), packed with ice water. We always bring too much, just be safe. Bags for picking up dog poop are always in the car. And we also have two “long lines” (20-foot leashes) to let the girls run a bit but maintain firm control.
Where to go? Keeping outings short in hot weather is a good idea. Why not head to the dog-friendly and well-shaded back patio at the Beefside Restaurant (228-0208, beefsiderestaurant.com) on Manchester Street for breakfast? The wait staff arrive with bowls of fresh water and always fuss over pooches. A side benefit is having your dog get used to being out and about with people and other dogs, a process called socialization that can be critical in producing a well-behaved and happy dog. If you like a manageable outdoor hike with the reward of great views at the top, try the Marjory Swope Park off Long Pond Road in Concord. For other options, the staff in local pet supply stores can be a great source, or Google “dog-friendly NH” for beaches, trails, restaurants, even hotels and lodging where your pets are welcome.