By Julie Warner
I love my dog. Seriously, I really love my dog. I used to look at other people that were like how I am now and think that they were being ridiculous. Now I am one of them, yes, they are me, I am they.
My dog’s name is Ella. Her full name is Ella Bella. She happens to be a King Charles Cavalier. I’ve had dogs my entire life – big ones and little ones, Dobermans to Yorkshire Terriers. Maybe it’s THIS dog or maybe I have lost yet another screw along the way; but I actually like this dog far more than most people. I started out trying to fight it, but then gave into the fact that somewhere I crossed a line of normal affection and now concede that my dog and I are not to be separated. Ella sleeps in our bed, travels in our car, accompanies me when I shop or go to the movies (shhhhh!) and, of course, the standard long walk. She is always well behaved and friendly. I try to emulate her good example.
Traveling with a dog requires some accessories to make things easier. The biggest game changer is when I discovered wheels. In order for Ella to travel on the plane with me, the airline requires a particular sized carrier that fits under the seat in front of me. For years I carried Ella through the airport in her carrier. She is only 10 pounds, but in a large airport while also juggling a purse and laptop, that 10 pounds of fur became quite heavy trudging to the gate at the end of the terminal. Then one day it happened. I saw someone walking by me with a relaxed look on their face as they rolled their pet along in the same airline approved carrier that I was schlepping. Wheels ! Yes ! Everything is better with wheels! So, now I have one and life is much easier.
Speaking of wheels, I just purchased Ella a pet stroller. She is older now and gets too tired to go on our five mile walk these days. With the pet stroller she can walk for a mile or so and then sightsee and get some fresh air while I finish the walk and push her. I chose one with a cup holder and a little cubby underneath it that would fit a picnic lunch, keys and poo bags. These pet strollers range from $45 to $300. I was grateful to have the assistance of the Shop.com site to make this purchase easier by offering me pages of strollers from different vendors that allowed me to comparison shop without having to jump to different sites. Anyhoo, its brand new and it’s a lot of fun to be able to take Ella on long walks again.
A travel bag is necessary for everyday outings. If Ella is in her travel bag (a carrier without the bulk or zip top) she is welcome at the mall and most any other store. These are designed to be worn on the shoulder and provide pockets for a leash, etc. and have a padded bottom for comfort. I’m not sure why this happens, but when I have her in her travel bag I am regularly stopped by strangers who ask me, “is that a real dog?” In my head I always answer, “No, I like to walk around with this stuffed animal”, but I have never said that. Instead, I smile and allow them to come to their own conclusion.
My final item that makes travel with Ella easier is a water bottle with a bowl that flips out from the side of the bottle. When closed, it’s the shape of a water bottle. In order for her to drink, the side flips down and water can be squeezed from the bottle into the attached bowl. I have managed for years with disposable cups and pouring water into my hands and all over both of us. This little item has been a convenience that I really appreciate.
Not every dog likes to travel. I’ve been fortunate to find a dog that likes to travel. Along with the basic words that most dogs know ( sit, want a treat?, come, etc.) my dog knows “do you want to go in the car?” This question produces a response of running to the door and sitting by it until it releases us to the car. Whenever Ella sees my suitcase come out of the closet she hops in it. Of course I take her out of it, but this goes on until I take out her carrier and then she hops into it….ready to go ! I am so pleased that she is ready to go, because as I mentioned, I really love my dog and don’t like to travel without her.