1) tell me a little about you and your dog Beau and how you started your business and dog blog…
Beau, my Irish Setter came into my life about two and a half years ago. I woke up one morning and “needed” a dog and not only a dog, but an Irish Setter! Quite out of the blue… I searched on Petfinder.com, found an Irish Setter breeder in Missouri and was looking forward to the puppy’s arrival that coming weekend.
Beau is such a wonderful dog that my friends wanted me to name him “lucky’ because they’d say, “You got lucky with that dog!” buying him over the internet and all. But, I knew all along that he was the one! He adds so much joy to my life and I thank him every day for coming to live with me!
My business PAW: Pet-friendly Accommodations Worldwide began shortly after Beau’s arrival. Although, at the time I didn’t realize it was a new business, it started out more as a ‘hobby’ that grew to an ‘obsession’ and I realized I’d better do something with this information, otherwise I was just some crazy dog lady!
Friends and family were surprised when I told them about Beau and almost everyone said the same thing, “But you love to travel, who’s going to watch the dog when you travel? And you travel so much, can you really have a dog?” People assumed that I would have to choose between being a pet owner and continuing to enjoy travel adventures.
So the ‘hobby’ became searching for and compiling a list of luxury, pet-friendly hotels that would accept a 60 LB dog, that turned into a list, the list into a database, and the database into the only online pet-friendly hotel booking engine to exclusively feature luxury, pet-friendly hotels for booking. It also became the only site to allow the user to utilize their pets weight as part of the hotel search criteria, which can be a huge time saver.
2) When did you start your blog, and what inspired you to get into blogging?
The blog was a component of the website and a way for me to write in more detail about hotels, activities, or pet products I discovered along the way. Also as a vehicle to share information such as Pet Passport information.
3) What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
The ability for people to comment and provide feedback about what you’re writing.
4) Have you noticed a shift in attitudes towards bloggers, dogs, dog travel ?
Absolutely, I just completed a 13,000 mile, 30-state, 50-luxury, pet-friendly hotel cross country tour. (Janine and Beau live on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts when they are not traveling). If I had a dime for every person who said, “I wish I had known this hotel was pet-friendly, we would have brought our dog!” I’d never have to work another day in my life!! People really want to have the entire family with them when they travel, for business or pleasure and are just starting to realize that they don’t have to sacrifice the level of amenity when they travel in order to bring their pet along…they can have both a great level of amenity hotel and their pet.
5) What are some of your favorite blogs ?
Well, yours of course! (Editor note: OF COURSE!) 🙂
6) If there was one tip that you would recommend that pet owners and/or pet business owners or pet bloggers follow, what would it be and why?
Remember when you are out with your pet, traveling or even just walking around your neighborhood, you are an ambassador for people who live pet-centric lives. If people have a good experience with you and your dog they are more likely to generalize that pets provide a pleasant experience and that will open up more doors to including our pets in other areas of our lives.
7) How do you cope with juggling all of the various balls you’ve got going in the air?
I am an outrageous list maker! I’ll have about six lists going at once. I tell people all the time, “you do not want to be in my head….it’s a very chaotic place!” 🙂 LOL
8. As a dog lover, do you have a favorite product or service that EVERY dog owner MUST have for their pet?
There are four companies that I recently awarded “PAW – Top Dog awards for excellence in 2008”. ArfDog www.arfdog.com makes wonderful ‘louis vuitton’ style sleepover suitcases for pups complete with an embroidered bath robe. Bowser Beer, www.3 busydogs.com makes non-alcoholic beer for dogs and the concept is so well executed. Dog Lovers Wine Club www.dogloverswineclub.com donates proceeds to shelters across America and finally Dog is Good www.dogisgood.com who offers a great line of dog-themed people clothing.
Janine shares some luxury travel tips for traveling with your pup:
1. Always ask what is included in the pet welcome amenity so that you can bring whatever your pet needs to be comfortable in a strange place.
2. Always bring your pet’s normal food. The luxury pet room service menus are a lot of fun to try, but relying on them for every day dining is probably going to be too rich for your pet’s diet.
3. If the hotel does not provide one, create a paper or cardboard dog tag for your pup and put your hotel’s name and phone number on it as well as “Guest” – and your last name. This is great insurance in case you and your pup become separated. I wouldn’t put your room number on it, but your last name should be sufficient information.
And here are PAW’s “TOP DOGS” in luxury, pet-friendly hotels from across the country in four major categories; Luxury Pet-friendly Resort, Luxury Pet-friendly Hotel; Chain and Individual, and Best Pet Welcome Amenity as well as the ‘Top Dog’ in the pet-friendly restaurant, activity, and resource categories. The winners are…
The PAW ‘Top Dog’ Luxury Pet-friendly Resort 2008
Calistoga Ranch, Calistoga, CA
The PAW ‘Top Dog’ Luxury Pet-friendly Hotel Chain 2008
First Place Tie: WESTIN HOTELS and KIMPTON HOTELS
The PAW ‘Top Dog’ Luxury Pet-friendly Hotel 2008
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, CA
The PAW ‘Top Dog’ Luxury Pet-friendly Hotel BEST PET WELCOME AMENITY 2008
The Woodlands Resort & Inn, Summerville, SC – (Personalized Dog Collar)
Honorable Mention: Hotel Palomar, Dallas, TX (Goldfish)
The PAW ‘Top Dog’ in Pet-Friendly Restaurants 2008
First Place Tie: 50 Plates, Portland, OR – for the food
Fetch, UES NYC, NY – for the atmosphere
The PAW ‘Top Dog’ in Pet-friendly Activities 2008
New York Dog Tours, NY, NY
The PAW ‘Top Dog’ in Pet-friendly Resources 2008
Dining With Sophie, San Francisco, CA