Dog Travel Disasters – Learn From Our Howlers!

June 10, 2015

Travel is always peppered with mishaps. And then you add a dog to the mix…

Here’s our 5 Worst Dog Travel Disasters & what you can learn from our mistakes:

1. PROJECTILE VOMITTING – Santa Barbara, California

So we’re checking in to probably the most exclusive hotel we’ve ever stayed in (Jackie and JFK honeymooned here and Oprah is a regular diner) and Bodie is so beside himself at all the attention he’s getting and the delicious chunky treats and gulping down water and then having another treat and another because they just think he’s so darn cute and then suddenly – whoosh! He throws up all over the priceless Persian rug. Naturally this would be the precise moment a posh young couple walk in to view the property as a prospective wedding venue. And you know what? The impeccable staff didn’t even bat an eye. They just handed us our key and told us they’ll take care of everything. Mortified I turned back to apologize one more time as we reached the door and saw them rolling up the vast rug, which I now see covers the entirety of Reception, for the dry cleaner. I am forever grateful that cost was not added to the bill.

And the moral of this story is:

Go easy on the new treats in a new place. (At least until you’re in the privacy of your own room.)

2. BITTEN – The Oregon Dunes, Oregon

This was entirely my fault. The sight of mile upon mile of full Lawrence of Arabia style sand dunes was just too glorious. I unleashed Bodie and then began running myself, whipping him into such a frenzy with my whooping and taunting that he decided to take me down, just as he would another dog, by clamping onto me with his teeth. I went down hard, shocked at the pain and the punctured denim.

And the moral of this story is:

Be mindful when teasing your dog. It may seem all fun and games but their play can get out of hand so allow for a cool-off period if you see his or her excitement escalating. (This picture taken shortly before The Incident…)


3. STORM AT SEA – San Francisco, California

Now on paper San Francisco is a wonderfully dog-friendly city. They even passed a law to rename pet-owners as guardians to give the pets more rights (in terms of being treated humanely as opposed to being viewed as ‘property’.) I was so excited to be taking Bodie on a trip around the Bay, viewing Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge but when we went down to the gangplank we were told, No dogs on board. I was baffled, it had all been pre-arranged. ‘Only the captain gets to decide,’ the surly sailor told me. ‘Well, why don’t you ask him then?’ I countered. Seconds later we were waved on. Only to wish we’d been rejected. The rain was tipping down and we were told we couldn’t be anywhere near the other passengers which meant no shelter for us. The mists swirled in so we couldn’t see anything and we were too far from the speaker to hear the commentary. Bodie hated the feeling of the engine juddering beneath his paws and the smell of engine oil and swell of the turbulent sea was making me feel sick. This was one of the worst wet, cold, miserable hours Bodie and I have endured. And to think we could’ve been eating fish and chips on Fisherman’s Wharf.

And the moral of this story is:

Not everything that humans think of as fun is enjoyable for a dog. And if it’s absolutely tipping down, be prepared to switch up your plans.


We’re Leaving Las Vegas, possibly singing along to Sheryl Crow, doing 70mph on the busy 15 freeway to Utah when Bodie, who is chilling on the back seat, accidentally sets his paw on the automatic window button. Seeing the open window as some kind of invitation he then begins to climb out of the freaking car. I literally had to turn around and use both hands to wrestle him back in by his back legs, while still driving at 70mph. Horrendously heart-stopping.

And the moral of this story is:

Always take control of child locks on the doors and windows in your vehicle and, most importantly, invest in a quality dog seatbelt like Sleepypod’s Clickit.



I drove over 500 miles from Portsmouth, VA to Newport, RI just so I could bring Bodie with me on my book research trip but ended up seeing very little of him. Which suggests he made some new friends and was out carousing until the wee small hours but in actuality it was rather less fun-filled than that. We were staying at an Airbnb apartment and, after an exhaustive trek along Cliffwalk, I dropped Bodie back home for a snooze while I went to tour the Newport Mansions. I was just about to have a cuppa in the Chinese Tea House when my phone rang – it was a woman informing me she had Bodie at the local animal rescue center. I said that couldn’t possibly be the case since he was relaxing back at our vacation pad. My brain could hardly comprehend the empty rooms that greeted me.

How the Harry Houdini had he got out? It was then I noticed the open window above the sofa. Surely not. Surely Bodie hadn’t thrown himself out of a second story window?

He had. He then wandered off down the street collar-free and a nice Salve Regina university student had found him and turned him in. I had to pay a fee to get him back and of course was so grateful I made an extra donation. Bodie’s only sign of having performed such a daredevil stunt was the tiny nick on his ankle. And the expression on his face was pure: ‘Terrific! You’re here! Where to now?’

As there was no latch to secure the window and I still had lots of non dog-friendly research to do he was obliged to spend the rest of our stay boarding at the Newport Animal Hospital. It was the only way I could be certain he would be safe. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so shaken up – the thought that he could have broken assorted limbs in the fall or got knocked down by a car or that I might simply never have seen him again… It chills me just to think of it.

And the moral of this story is:

Double-check all possible exits in an unfamiliar pad. Leave your dog’s ID collar on indoors and most importantly check your dog is micro-chipped and all your contact info is up to date – that’s what saved the day.

What can I say? It’s a good thing Bodie has such a positive outlook:



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  1. Pingback: Bodie's Guide to Dog Friendly Hotels in Palm Springs - Bodie On The Road

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