Dog Gone

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Family Vacations, Summer 1996

Dog Gone

On the road with the canine kids
By Laura Billings

For some, family travel means packing the sunscreen, the car seat, and the baby wipes; for others, it means packing the flea powder and the retractable leash. Hundreds who share that special breed of puppy love converge each year at Camp Gone to the Dogs, one of a growing number of travel retreats for the four-legged. Held on the grounds of Vermont's Putney School, the weeklong camp is designed entirely around entertaining your pet. Campers can sign up for doggie swimming lessons, the doggie steeplechase, and the wienie retrieve. There is also doggie square dancing, leash- and bandanna-decorating classes, and a "Senility Agility" competition. And dogs even get to catcall at a climactic hoochie-poochie fest- the doggie swimsuit contest. Small children aren't allowed (they tend to spook unfamiliar dogs), but teenagers are welcome. Camp dates are June 23-29 and June 30-July 6; the cost is about $700, including accommodations for you and your dog in a dorm room or nearby B&B or cabin. Call 802-387-5673.

What can you do when you're miles from the nearest vet and your dog gets a seed in his eye or a cut on his paw? Never leave home without A Field Guide: Dog First Aid by Randy Acker, D.V.M., and Jim Fergus.This four-by-six-inch, spiral-bound pocket guide covers symptoms and treatments for a slew of problems your pup can get into in the big outdoors ($15, plus $4 shipping and handling, Wilderness Adventures Press; 800-925-3339).

Digs for Dogs To avoid getting the sniff-and-circle routine from hotel clerks when you unpack the pit bull, we recommend the following guides: Frommer's On the Road Again with Man's Best Friend, by Dawn and Robert Habgood ($14.95, Howell Book House/Macmillan Publishing; 800-428-5331), profiles inns, hotels, B&Bs, and resorts that roll out the canine welcome mat; regional titles cover the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and the West Coast. Vacationing with Your Pet! by Eileen Barish ($19.95, plus shipping and handling, Pet-Friendly Publications; 800-496-2665) covers some 20,000 pro-dog lodgings in the U.S. and Canada. Just out from the same publisher: Doin' California with Your Pooch! and Doin' Arizona with Your Pooch!

News from the Field The Roving Reporter position at the travel newsletter DogGone is staffed by Sparky, a beagle who confers his "tails-up seal of approval" upon destinations featured in this bimonthly. For travel tips on hotels, national parks, resorts, and restaurants that actually welcome your dog, plus first-paw accounts of great trips, subscribe to DogGone ($24 per year, including a one-time personalized travel consultation; call 407-569-8434 for more information).

Let him carry his own dinner: This durable, saddle-style dog's backpack comes with wide polypropylene webbing to prevent chafing; a chew-resistant, double-layer Cordura bottom; and room enough for him to safely carry up to a third of his weight ($62-$82, Mountainsmith; 800-426-4075).

Backcountry Grooming Your rottweiler's coat has turned rasty on your wilderness trek, and you're miles from the nearest garden hose. Rub him down with Petkin Doggywipes, designed to keep your dog's coat clean and moisturized (three boxes for $14.95, plus $4.95 shipping, Petkin Pet Care Systems; 800-738-5461).

Bowser-Boost When your terrier scrambles around the car like a greyhound around a racetrack, give him what he really needs-a view. This booster seat (shown on previous page) has a lambs- wool interior to keep his perspective heightened and a seat-belt slot to keep his perch in place ($54.95, O'Donnell Industries; 800-635-9755).

Dinner To Go On every peripatetic dog's wish list, this Travel-N-Pet Bowl inflates to eight inches around, three inches high at feeding time, then deflates easily to fit in your pack ($6, P.S. I Love You; 212-727-2390).

Copyright 1996, Outside magazine

Filed To: Dogs

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