Category Archives: AAA

SLO has gone to the dogs…

Cici got to travel on a Tiki tour boat and see/hear the sea otters, seals and seal lions in Morro Bay.  She kept looking around and sniffing for fish.

And we met a chi-wow-wow named Lillie who out-diva’d my polka dot princess.  Seriously this tiny pup has x-ray eyes, follows her guardian man Leslie wherever he goes and does not stop shaking until he comes back to her. Then she sat on my chest and went into Zen meditation mode. What a cutie, am missing her already.  (me and Lillie and her dad Leslie at Thomas Organics restaurant in Paso Robles).

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Emma, some kind of heeler, herder puppy, two years old, with a black eye, Cici and Emma had some fun together playing, jawing, wrestling, running around on the beach.


April, an adorable Beagle mix, also white but with some brindle/brown markings. Cici and April chased one another, too.  Here are most of the dogs walking with Robyn.

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Zoe, the Saluki, kind of kept to herself (I think she is kind of scared of other dogs) and she is a lapdog.


and Demi (who I keep wanting to call Murphy), a Heinz 57 type of gal with her mom Deb at the Ecluse Winery (Deb took all of these photos except the Saluki).

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can you imagine a more diverse group of dogs???



All of the dogs are female and they and their owners/guardians and I went on a press trip (very intense) for three days and two nights to San Luis Obispo county (seven cities in three days)… whew !!!     (Cambria, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, San Simeon, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles).

will be writing more about the FUN we had and the dog friendly places we met along the way in future blog posts including one for  Mama’s Day which is coming up May 12.

All of the dogs also got to meet some white Labs and a blind dog named Toby at the Ecluse winery in Paso Robles.

A great time was had by ALL…lots of divine food, wine and treats and s’mores at Grover Beach…

well except for one day…  every dog has her day…

Cici’s terrible horrible no good very bad day…

well, you know that Cici has three nemesis, right…

1. cats

2. bull dogs

3. skateboards (and scooters)

all three of the above make her freak out… bark and act like she is having a canine melt down…

and guess what happened to my girl?

she met all three of her nemesis in ONE day… and she flipped out….

otherwise, we all had tons of fun…

More about the trip/media tour…







Filed under AAA, Adventure, all you need is a dog, beach parties for dogs, California, dog friendly, dog travel, dog treats, dogs, four paws up, K9 travel, keep pets safe, pet care, pet friendly dining, pet friendly lodging, pet friendly winery, pet travel, travel with dog, Uncategorized

Party animals play it safe for New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is almost here. No matter what your plans are, have you made plans for or with your pets/dogs? Cici and I will spend New Year’s Eve inside. And many people opt to stay home and have a party with a few friends. If you go out or stay inside, here are a few tips to keep the furry ones safe.

1. If you are going out for the evening, make sure that your pets are safe and secure inside the house. Perhaps hiring a pet sitter or boarding your pet is a good option, to keep your pets safe.  There may be fireworks and loud noises that will frighten your dog. The last thing you want is for your dog to run away.

2. Be sure your dog has her collar and current tags on with all of your pertinent info, phone numbers, etc. Even if your dog is microchipped, having this info on the tag/collar will help if someone finds your dog away from home.

3. Have a few pictures of each of your pets in different poses and settings to ensure that you’ll be reunited with a lost pet. You probably have a lot of photos of your pets either around your home or floating around in your digital camera.

4. Don’t drink and drive and do not give your pets any booze. Alcohol can be toxic to dogs.  Party snacks like chocolates, raisins, grapes, and more should stay out of reach, too. If you have guests over for the evening, keep your dog safely away from unsupervised drinks and snacks.

Help your human guests stay safe by following these tips:

Ensure that all guests have a ride to and from their destination in a car driven by a non-drinking designated driver

Plan activities that take the focus away from drinking, and make non-alcoholic beverages including water readily available

Serve high-protein snacks to slow down alcohol absorption

Stop serving alcohol at least 90 minutes before a party ends, and serve guests coffee or dessert

Take car keys from intoxicated guests who plan to drive home.

Be prepared to let your guests stay the night as an alternative to them driving home after drinking.

AAA offers free rides for the intoxicated.  Tipsy Tow service provides a complimentary ride and vehicle tow up to three miles from the point of pickup to drivers who have consumed alcohol on New Year’s Eve. Tipsy Tow service is available to members and non-members. Ask for a Tipsy Tow by calling 1-800-AAA-HELP (222-4357)

5.  Keep your pet in a separate room during the evening. Provide water, toys, a comfortable bed and litter for cats. Leave a television, soothing music or radio on to block out frightening noises. Not only will this keep your pet safely in the house, but will also help reduce his or her stress throughout the evening.

6.  Do you know how your pets respond to loud noises? Noisemakers, champagne corks and more can be dangerous for children and pets, especially if they shoot across the room or break into pieces. Keep children and pets away from these and also from fireworks.

7.  Party decorations such as balloons, streamers, party hats or confetti are not good for your dog’s digestive system. Keep pets in a separate room so they do not have access to the decorations. If they do swallow something, consult a veterinarian immediately.

8. Might be a good idea to tucker your dog out with a long walk or exercise session before the partying begins.

9. If your dog is invited to a dog party or event for New Year’s, or you decide to invite a few doggie pals over to your house, make sure that  all of the dogs are safe by providing healthy dog treats, lots of water, toys and games for them to play. Keep it short and fun and end it way before midnight.

Help your pet ring in the New Year with you by ensuring that he or she has a comfortable and safe evening.

Tomorrow we will highlight a few doggie items for bringing in the New Year with style. Stay tuned.


Filed under AAA, cats, dog toys, dog travel, dog treats, dogs, keep pets safe, pet sitter, Uncategorized

tips for traveling dogs

This Thanksgiving, 42.5 million people are expected to hit the road to visit family and friends, according to AAA.  You can visit our Pet Travel Tips page for an overview of the way that Cici and I roll. And want ideas about where to go, be sure to visit our Free Guide to Pet Friendly Cities (places we’ve visited and recommend). But here are a few more fun pet travel tips for pet owners traveling with their dogs this holiday season.

Cici and  I suggest:

If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to put towels, seat covers and/or sheets over the car seats to stop the fur from flying all over the place.  Bergan’s travel seat protectors can help.  I’ve also seen dog seats (like car seats for kids) that you can get although we’ve never tried any of them.

It’s also a good idea to bring pet food in a plastic storage bin to keep food fresh. And I always carry a pet travel bag for Cici filled with her items (toys, treats, green first aid kit including Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy, aromatherapy oils such as Lavendar and more). And if you are into hiking with your dog, there are backpacks for dogs to carry their own weight.

Now here’s a word from other dog travelers:

From Lucy Postins, CEO of The Honest Kitchen: (Cici loves Keen pet food)

Adding a small amount of dried ginger or ginger tea to a light meal before you depart can  be beneficial for pets who are prone to sickness in the car. Some dogs do better if they fast right before hitting the road.

I have three dogs…90 lb, 75 lb and a 40lb that travel three times a year

between Minneapolis and Denver with me . I do several things:

1. they all wear their seatbelts which attach to their harnesses, and to

the actual seatbelt. Without those, they’d be all over the place.

2. We listen to either classical music or Through a Dogs Ear music. Both

really settle them down and lull them to sleep.

3. We stop at dog friendly parks where there is a gated area and they can

RUN. Just walking them on the leash doesn’t cut it.

4. When it’s dark, they just go to sleep. But if I’m trying to do it in a

day I use Happy Traveler, which is an herbal mixture my vet recommended.

That also keeps them very relaxed. (it’s chamomile, hops, etc)

5. I don’t give them rawhides or too many treats. Driving makes them very

thirsty, and those make it worse.

Tips from Bart the Dumpster Dog

I suggest crating the dogs in the back of the car or tethering them or at least providing some Kong-type toys to occupy them.


Dog appeasing pheromones can be spritzed in the air. Also

available as a plug in outlet or as a dog collar (there is a kitty

version as well). This is the stuff the mommy dog emits to the

puppies. It can be helpful in stressful situations (one of my dogs is

storm phobic).


Some swear by gingersnap cookies. Others like the Calming Cap by

Premier Products (which lowers the visual stimulus for the dog). One

owner showed me how she would just put a puppy potty pad in the crate

with the dog to make her clean up easier. If you go this route, carry a

zip style bag to seal off the pad and something like Nature’s Miracle

really cuts the smell.


a favorite toy, bed and a couple of treats. I like to teach “place” on

a dishtowel. I can bring the towel, do a quick review of the command in

a new place and the dog understands that all the rules from home, apply

here too.

Abby Harrison

Sit Dog Stay

Houston TX

When traveling with a dog to visit relatives who might be a little

squeamish, win them over with wonderful treats like a Doggie Candle or a

Doggie Room Spray or some kind of all-natural aromas with a

pet-friendly twist and the wonderful thing is that when you get them from

Soap Hope, all the profits go to lift women from poverty. They make a

great housewarming gift for your travel host, especially since the gift

note says “Every dollar of profit from this gift will empower a woman to

defeat poverty.”

time for our weekly Pet Blog Hop thanks to Life with Dogs,Two Little Cavaliers and Confessions of the Plume Grab the code and hop away…

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Filed under AAA, aromatherapy, au natural dog, blog hop, dog toys, dog travel, dog treats, doggie bags, drive, driving, Happy Thanksgiving, K9 travel, keep pets safe, pet blog hop, pet travel, Uncategorized

holiday tips for the road

If you are going to the Rapture today, have a great time…

Cici and I had fun driving around for two years… these are a few things that kept us safe and sane. With Memorial Day weekend coming up, these tips are helpful for holidays and can also be good for summer travel with your pooches.

l.  Comfy and cozy and restrained. I had Cici all set up in the back seat with her own blankets and bedding, toys and bones to chew on. Familiar stuff. She could stretch out and snooze while I drove. Or gnaw on bones. Whatever she felt like doing was ok with me because she was out of the way. No coming up into the front of the car or sitting beside me. I did not strap her in but now have a harness for her that attaches to the seat belt which I will use when/if we go on another road trip.  We have been invited back east in June, not sure yet if we will go.

2.  Speaking dog language. I sing songs to her, making them up as I go along. She has learned that when I sing the beach song that means we are going to the beach and she perks up. Or when I sing the doggie park song, she’ll be ready to play with doggie pals. One of the sweetest sounds is the yum yum song, meaning we’re gonna go eat some food. Salivation.

3. Give me a potty break. I take frequent breaks/stops along the way to our destinations and often times intentionally stop at places I know that she will enjoy, if possible. Beaches, dog parks, pet friendly wineries as well as shopping malls and pet stores. When we have the time to do this, it definitely breaks up the monotony of the road and makes the traveling easier and more fun.

4.  Time and traffic. We usually were not in a rush to get anywhere, so our time schedule was flexible. If we had to be somewhere at a certain time, I’d leave more than enough time to get there. When traveling on a holiday weekend, go a day or two ahead if you can or a day or two later to avoid the rush hour traffic.  Same with summer travel. Be aware of times when traffic gets jammed up and take a different route, if possible.

5. Unexpected things will always happen so prepare and expect an adventure. Bring car oil, gas can, a flashlight, a spare tire, camping gear, water, extra dog food and treats, towels, pillows, clothing, extra cash or credit card and other items you might need (shampoo, scissors, bandages, ointments and creams and oils) just in case.

6.  Maps and driving directions. Keep in glove compartment. I am not always good about this. I know the general direction or city/place and then get there and not know where to go and have to search online or on my computer. Keep phone numbers and addresses handy, too.  If you have a cell phone/I-phone, probably makes this easier. I have yet to succumb to the 21st century on this one but if you are traveling alone, especially in desolate areas such as the desert, having a cell phone is a good idea. Hopefully, there is a connection/dial tone when you need to use it.

7.  Be a good guest. Bring your best manners with you. And pet waste bags. If renting a car, cover the seats with sheets and keep your pooch in a crate or harnessed to a dog bed in the back seat. Let the fur fly somewhere else than in the rental car or you might have to pay a hefty fee. Also, be sure of the rental car company’s pet policy before you get to the rental counter. At the pet friendly inn, hotel, motel, B&B or campground, find out ahead of time their do’s and don’ts, nearby places to visit including restaurants where you can take your pooch and fun dog friendly activities in the area.

8.  Be considerate. Not everyone loves dogs and some people are afraid of dogs. And they don’t have to nor do some like pit bulls and other big dogs. And they do not have to either. Of course, rude comments, aggressive behavior and insults are not acceptable and discrimination is unwarranted. But if your dog is well behaved, does not run up to strangers, knock babies over, lick kid’s ice cream cones,  bark or yap incessantly, share fur and drool everywhere or jump up on tables, people and furniture, a better time will be had for all. Make sure your fur baby is a good ambassador for the breed and species.

9.  Accidents may happen. Bring your vet’s phone number, medical records, ID tags, photos of your pet and other info with you, just in case. Also any medications and a pet first aid kit (like the green one we suggested).

10.  One is the loneliest number. Dogs do not like to be left alone in a hotel room, strange places or even in the familiar confines of your car. Do not ever leave your four legged friend unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days, the temperature in your vehicle is unbearable, 120 degrees, even with the windows slightly open. In addition, your pet could be taken away by unscrupulous pet thieves looking to make a quick buck.

11.  Does your Dog Have a License? If you and your dog are going to share the driving, be sure that they have their Pet’s Driver’s License. Kidding but Cici does now have her Pet Driver’s License, with all her ID listed on it plus a photo of her on it. Between this, her collar ID tag, microchip registered, she is all set to get up and go. Cannot wait for someone to ask for my driver’s license, I will definitely show them hers.

Now it’s time to take a Blog Hop road trip catching dogs with Life with Dogs and Two Cavalier Dogs online, here be the code


Filed under AAA, Adventure, auto club, blog hop, dog travel, driving, happy holidays, K9 travel, pet travel, pit bull, rental cars, Uncategorized, women travel, women writers with dogs

a long and winding road…

a pit bully story with a happy ending, yay!   since today is national pet safety day, seems like you should know about how to safely travel with your pit bull… (also check out this post about a wonderful pet travel package including a harness, a must have for traveling with dogs).

Michelle Sathe, a features writer for the Santa Clarita Valley Signal, a Southern California, newspaper, decided that she would take a road trip to raise awareness about pit bulls and adoption issues with a homeless pit bully named Loren for her 40th birthday.  She had been caring for Loren as a volunteer at a no kill shelter, the Brittany Foundation. Together, she and Loren drove to the east coast (29 states) and back in 50 days! a remarkable feat in and of itself…

Their journey together is told in her book Pit Stops

some of the places they went to were downright scary, others inspiring. The people they met, the same. But through it all, Loren was a sweet, calm, loving girl…

Their journey reminded me a lot of mine with Cici. How people responded to Loren and how Loren kissed/licked back, showing off her belly, too.

There is some kvetching/complaining at times when the road gets too long and the journey too deep and lots of food to comfort. At the end of the book is a resource directory of pit bull rescue organizations and other pertinent info.

Her website has excerpts from the book, that you can read.

Michelle had a lot of support for her journey and is planning another trip next summer with a different dog since Loren has been adopted (finally) by a loving person.

Cici and I are considering a cross country trip next summer, too…  but that discussion is for another post.

If you are curious about what it would be like to travel with a pit bully, then be sure to pick up a copy of Michelle’s book.

$1 from each copy of “Pit Stops” will benefit The Brittany Foundation no-kill dog rescue in Agua Dulce, California, where Loren came from and more than 70 dogs currently await their forever home.


Filed under AAA, Adventure, animal books, animal rescue, bigotry against dogs, book review, breed specific laws, breeds, dog travel, K9 travel, keep pets safe, pet adoption, pet care, pet friendly lodging, pet rescue organizations, pet travel, pit bull

tips for innkeepers

here are a few tips that I have compiled from inns that are doing well even in this economy and those that are not…


* provide dog treats, dog bowls, dog beds and other doggie amenities, it is very much appreciated

* if you want pet owners to clean up dog waste, please provide plastic biodegradable bags as well as nearby waste containers…

* please provide a safe, easy access, clearly marked grassy area, fenced, if possible, where dog owners can take their dogs

* keep guests coming back by making your guests feel special with little extras, gifts and goodies for pets and pet owners

* make our stay memorable, for instance, the MacCallum House breakfast was divine and so was the unique hot tub in the private yard not to mention the private limo to the wine country that allows dogs

Sally’s breakfast at Howard Creek Ranch inn is also memorable because it is hearty, no skimpy or stingy portions, guests can eat as much as they want and the food is fresh and down home delicious

Best memorable views is a three way tie between Agate Cove Inn, Little River Inn and Greenwood Pier in Elk…

* the Stanford Inn was the first in the area to offer pet friendly lodging before it was popular and their zenlike property is memorable, as is their pet friendly dining with superb award-winning vegan cuisine

* offer amenities such as WIFI and phone so that guests who want to stay connected can and those that don’t do not have to take advantage of the service

* offer complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea and cookie…  the Sea Foam Lodge delivers piping hot muffins to each guest’s door, a breakfast to remember…  the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park and other locations that provides guests with fresh hot baked cookies daily and complimentary wine and cheese in the afternoon

* have pet friendly and knowledgable staff available (concierge, front desk) to answer questions, arrange tours and make suggestions

* stand out, be distinct, give us something to write home and tell our friends and associates about


* please don’t discriminate against certain breeds and sizes of dogs

* why nickel and dime visitors to death with extra charges for phone calls, tempting treats and foods in the fridge, and charges for other amenities, if you charge $200+ a night?

* make us wait forever to get into the room and rush us out of the room in the morning

* housekeeping is important and necessary and so is landscaping but please have staff be as quiet and unobtrusive as possible, no one wants to listen to lawnmowers all afternoon. you want us to enjoy our stay, right?

* please don’t use chemicals, green, enviro safety is in, please use safe nontoxic odorless products to clean the room

Remember, if your guests have a choice between staying at a clean fresh modern motel with internet access in the room, free phone calls that serves breakfast with lots of options (eggs, cereal, muffins, bagels, english muffins, and toast)  for $50 a night or paying $100-250+ a night at your inn with no internet access, no phone and no breakfast, why do you think they would choose your inn even if they can afford to do so just because your inn is located in a popular destination, was successful in the past, is historic or?

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Filed under AAA, California, dog travel, four paws up, inns, K9 approved, K9 travel, pet friendly lodging

here a blog, there a blog… dog cars blog…

My blog, in case you have not noticed, has a new name and face lift… what do you think?  Anything else that you’d like to see that is not here?

Thanks to the good folks at for their post about us…

I was strolling through the Internet one day and lo and behold I found this blog… about dogs and cars… what a great idea… and filled with great tips and info about traveling with dogs in cars…  what cars are the best, how to travel with a Great Dane, fuel friendly cars, police cars in living color and much much more…

so I reached out and emailed and voila… a pet connection was made 🙂

next time you want to know about the best car to drive your puppy around in, go visit and tell them CeliaSue and Cici sent you !

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Filed under AAA, Adventure, auto club, blogging, dog friendly, dogs, four paws up, K9 approved, mutts, publicity