Traveling with Fido (Dallas)

I just got back from a trek to The Land of the North to visit with Domer (whom I hadn’t seen since Christmas!)

And it was my first trip solo with my dog Dallas.

Normally, Dallas is the best traveler. Pop him in his crate on the back seat and let him sleep until it’s potty-time.


But when you don’t have anybody along who can help out, it becomes a whole new ballgame.

Take the aforementioned potty-time.

I stopped at a Rest Area, knowing they usually have plenty of grassy spots, trees, and such.

They did, but what was I to do with Dallas while I used the facilities?

I decided to sneak him in with me. No big deal, right?

Well, the attendant thought otherwise and told me I couldn’t do that.

‘I can’t leave him in the car,’ I protested.

‘Okay,’ he said, ‘I can hold him outside for you.’

No way. I didn’t know him from Adam’s house cat; how could I trust him to dog-sit for me?

Furious at my lack of options, I took Dallas back to the car, cracked a few windows, and raced to the facilities, praying all the while that some well-meaning Good Samaritan wouldn’t break ALL my windows so the dog could breathe!

Lucky for us, it was cloudy and in the mid-70s, plus I wasn’t gone five minutes (and yes, the car was still cold when I returned).

I wonder what parents traveling solo with babies do??

As I mentioned, Dallas is usually a good passenger, but this time, he was restless.

He kept scratching on the walls of his crate. Standing up, then thumping down.

Making a hacking sound like he was ready to throw up.

Great. Just what I needed — dog vomit in my clean car (thankfully, he didn’t).

Another ‘delight’ was trying to get lunch.

Have you ever noticed how you have to pull off the interstate a gazillion times before finding just the right restaurant?

I felt like Goldilocks: this one doesn’t have healthy food choices, that one doesn’t offer a drive-through. A sit-down meal or gas station food might be convenient for some but not everyone.

Definitely not for those traveling with a dog.

After more pull-offs than I care to admit — wasting time when I was eager to see my son — I looked at the outside temperature gauge. It mirrored my temper.

By 2 p.m., I gave up. One missed meal won’t kill me, I decided.

Good thing I’d packed a handful of Lifesavers!

25 thoughts on “Traveling with Fido (Dallas)

  1. Adjusting to new circumstances can be toil and trouble, for sure. I always carry a small cooler with exactly what I want along the way: fruit, cheeses and crackers, already made sandwiches — that sort of thing. Maybe that would work for you, since you could have a “picnic” with Dallas more easily than trying to find a restaurant.

    I don’t travel with Dixie Rose except for hurricane evacuations — she’s just happier staying home. Not that she’s “happy” about that, but she hates the car so much there’s no need to put her through that.

    We did just have another child-left-in-hot-car story, and it didn’t end well. The child was ok, but there were some broken car windows and an arrest of the owner. Of course, our heat indices down here have been running 110, so it’s bad enough outside a car. So much to think about!

    • A cooler! Why didn’t I think of that?? Sounds like a perfect solution, Linda, and I thank you for offering it. I certainly don’t mind eating behind the wheel (while the A/C is running, of course). I did that regularly during my journalist days, when time was always of the essence. I’m not as practiced now as I was then, but I’ll bet it’s like riding a bicycle and would come back to me very fast!

      Those stories of infants left in hot cars really concern me. What are their parents/caregivers doing that’s so important they can “forget” they have a child along? And while I know y’all have some bad heat, this week has been awful for us, too — indices into the triple digits awful. Stay hydrated!

      • Don’t eat while driving! Find a little picnic area along the way, or a churchyard, or a gazebo in a park, and stretch your legs. Have a long leash for Dallas and let those doggie legs get stretched, too. It’ll work!

        • I can give that a try the next time — thanks for the encouragement! You’re right, we BOTH need a break and a stretch now and then.

  2. I commiserate with you. We travel a lot on weekends and often stop to eat on the road. I always fear someone is going to try to “rescue” my dog. We either go through the drive thru and eat in the car or we leave the windows cracked and sit where we can watch our vehicle. Though she is never left over fifteen minutes or so, I’ve heard of people taking matters in their own hands. I had a friend who takes her dogs on errands-one day the weather was about 55 degrees (all her windows were cracked) and when she came out of the store she had a lady waiting for her and told her she was getting ready to smash her windows and take her dogs. Then she added she would be in the right and there was nothing she could have done about it. My friend was livid. Fortunately, nothing more than words were exchanged and her dogs were still safe in her car.

    • What a frightening story, Suzi. That sort of thing makes me wonder if I should have let the rest stop attendant hang onto Dallas for the few minutes I was inside. Of course, he wasn’t the security guard, which is why I was leery. He was washing windows. Inside!

      Glad your friend’s dogs — and vehicle — are safe. Do you think some of these “helpful” people are just a bit too eager to smash somebody else’s windows??

  3. Lifesavers are so handy. Well, we’ve (my mom, dog show people,me) have traveled miles upon miles with our pups alone and solo and it takes practice. Our dogs do travel crates and sometimes are more restless than others times. As for trip fast food I love Culvers. My mother usually packs a picnic. Our dogs always get a treat at every stop. And can recognize the golden arches (we don’t eat there (often) but the nuggets and fries are pup pleasers) After all it’s vacation for everyone. Pack a cheap battery powered fan for the times you have to leave Dallas in the car for a few minutes. But you’re right about well meaning people. They are more of a risk than the heat. Trick.for rest stop. Put on sunglasses, hold leash firmly and tell attendant your dog is a service dog. No one ever argues with the handicap. It works. It also works at almost any fast food restaurant.

    • Oh, my golly. I got such a HOOT from your suggestion to turn Dallas into a service dog! I think that would probably work, too. He walks quite well on a leash, and I don’t imagine anyone wouldn’t think a Sheltie would make a perfect service dog. Thanks, and when we travel again, I’m going to give that a try!

      I also like the idea of a portable fan. Not that that sort of thing would detract some well-meaning soul bent on busting out my windows, ha!

  4. OMG, I cannot believe the attendant made such a stink about taking Dallas into a public restroom. I mean it’s a restroom for heaven’s sake!

    You would LOVE Florida because you are permitted to take your dogs to restaurants if you sit outside at a table. The last time I visited my brother, he and I took his dog whenever we went out to eat because they are so dog-friendly in Florida. The waiter will sometimes even bring out a bowl of water for the dog to drink.

    In Europe, people take their dogs with them out to eat all the time.

    I’ve never traveled with a dog in my car, but I have with a cat. And OMG…you don’t even want to know what that’s like. I traveled all the way from Florida to PA with my cat in the moving truck. Let’s just say that it was the LONGEST two-day drive I’ve ever had.

    Glad to hear you had the chance to visit your son!

    Have a super week, my friend!

    • Perhaps I need to move to Florida, Ron. I love the idea of people taking their well-behaved dogs out to eat — I can already picture my sweet Dallas seated across from me and watching/waiting for a morsel!

      You traveled two whole days in a moving van with a cat?? You’re a brave soul, my friend. Cats typically don’t adapt to travel as well as dogs, from what I’ve heard.

      Thanks for your helpful info. Have a splendid last-week-of-August!

  5. Next time pack some food and have a picnic with Dallas. If nothing else, it’ll give you peace of mind. Here in California, we’re very pet friendly. There are many restaurants that offer outdoor dining and dogs are always welcome to sit in that area. As for bathrooms, I haven’t tried taking them with me, but I bet if you found a pet store, you could use the facilities there with Dallas. Here at the Petsmart, they allow dogs on leash. But if there’s not pet store available, I usually look for a shady spot and leave the windows slightly open, along with the sun roof. They’re able to manage for a few minutes.

    • I was surprised at how cool my car was after five minutes, Monica. Yes, I had cracked the windows, but the temp was in the mid 70s and very cloudy. Plus, I’d bought one of those sun shades for his back window. He did just fine. He’d LOVE eating at a restaurant with me — and I know he’d behave at least as well as some of the kids I’ve seen dining out, Haha!

    • I prefer listening (and singing!) to music when I’m at the wheel, dear! Dallas prefers a long, uninterrupted snooze. And you know, as the miles melt away, I felt my stresses and worries melt right with them! I highly recommend a get-away vacation, even if it’s just for a few days!

  6. The temperature mirrored your temper!? I loved that and had to chuckle! Been there. So glad you got to visit with your son though – no wonder you were anxious to get there.

    • I can’t believe we went that long without getting together, Barb — especially as one or the other of us was back and forth to Notre Dame MONTHLY during his four years there! It was such a good visit, for both of us!

    • I guess if I’d been real sneaky, I’d have bundled him up in Domer’s old stroller and strolled right in!! Can’t you just imagine the attendant’s face if he’d “wanted to see the baby” and found Dallas’s furry face beneath the covers, Haha!! And this attendant wasn’t even a security guard — he was a cleaning man. Looking back, I wonder if he even had the right to forbid us from entering. But yes, I checked and the FRONT of the restroom has a sign banning dogs (we’d entered through the back, where the truckers were!)

    • Thanks so much. Yes, we managed okay, but I wish somebody “official” would address this subject because I’m sure others have encountered the same difficulties. At least our get-away was wonderful!

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