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Bring pet along on Valentine’s Day trip - The Galveston County Daily News : Travel

November 27, 2014

Travel Bring pet along on Valentine’s Day trip

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Posted: Sunday, February 3, 2013 12:00 am

M

ost Valentine-themed features implicitly contemplate human affections.

But who is your real Valentine? Who goes crazy with excitement when you return from being gone even for five minutes?

Who creeps into bed with you to cuddle when you are feeling ill? Who listens to you without interrupting? Who makes you laugh out loud? Whose framed photo is on your desk?

Your pet, of course!

Eighty-one percent of dog owners consider their dog a family member, according to American Pet Products Association.

So, what is more appropriate in the month of Valentine than travel miscellany about your one true love? Most of the news releases inundating me as a travel writer address travel issues about dogs. The cat lobby must be taking a snoozer with the public relations folks.

What is more romantic for Valentine’s Day than the Cinderella and glass slipper love story?

Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale has its own “glass slipper” for Cinderella dog, who might earn a room discount for you via a unique Matching Paws promotion.

Tiles set throughout the historic hotel were made in Mexico in the 1930s. After tiles were set out to dry, dogs and local animals walked on them, leaving permanent prints. So, if the paw of a prospective canine guest fits into one of those Riverside paw prints — a la Cinderella — the owner gets a $75 room discount.

“About 10 dogs have been able to fit their paw into one of the prints so far,” said Vanessa Cuomo, hotel spokesperson.

Turnberry Isle resort near Miami offers pets an “in-room dining menu created specially by the culinary team, with a long leash of dining options.”

Doggy food includes cage-free eggs, beef burger, white rice, carrots and peas. Kitty food includes tiger shrimp, (chilled and chopped), steamed local fish and poached, chilled chicken breast.

Will human guests distinguish that fare from their lunch only because it is in a container on the floor?

Turnberry staff set up dog and cat beds in your room. Water is replenished, “to ensure that pets are comfortable and relaxed.” Letting pets on the couch is probably a quicker relaxer.

Compare Turnberry’s “welcome pet” pampering to a travel news release that advises: Don’t be a pet smuggler, and quotes TripAdvisor stats that 21 percent of people admit smuggling their pet into a hotel room. “Barking? That’s my ringtone.”

To deter smugglers, DogVacay.com offers a list of homes to leave your pet near hotels that do not allow pets.

At Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea California, pet guests receive “A letter from our on-site Pet Concierge (a lab).” Pets also receive “a copy of Coastal Canine magazine offering the best four-legged options for visiting Carmel.” A Frisbee, shampoo or fresh coat mist are included.

For excursions, The Honest Kitchen suggests a doggy (hiking) backpack from Singing Dog Designs, biodegradable doggy bags from HarryBarker.com, and Honest Kitchen “Quiet tea ... especially formulated to put pets at ease and allow for a better sleep on the campsite.” Aren’t pets supposed to stay awake, watching for bears?

Honest Kitchen, which specializes in “human-grade pet foods” including duck and cherry cookies, was founded in 1997 by two Brits.

APPA stats indicate 75 percent of dog owners don’t take pets with them when they travel. At least that’s what arrivistes tell the desk clerk.