World-renowned PR guy Andrew Freeman travels frequently for business and pleasure. But he couldn’t bear to leave behind his two Yorkshire terriers, Tulip and Daisy. “My two little daughters are my babies, and I want them to go with me wherever I go. I say this openly as a gay man: Dogs are the new kids.”
“Everyone’s taking their dogs on vacation now,” says Freeman, whose San Francisco-based PR firm, Andrew Freeman & Company, produces a highly anticipated annual list of dining, drinking, and lodging trends; this year’s list includes hypoallergenic bedding, cocktail food trucks, and vegetable-based desserts (such as celery sorbetto).
He offers a few pointers for flying with furry friends.
“A little touch of Benadryl to knock them out efore the plane ride takes the edge off, because otherwise they get nervous once they’re airborne,” he says. “It’s like packing a kid off for a holiday: Make sure they have their favorite blanket, some toys, some of their favorite food. I also always pack a little pee pad or two. Tulip and Daisy are trained to go on those.”
Many hotels that offer pet programs charge nonrefundable cleaning fees, but Freeman says that’s only fair. “If hotels are being nice enough to let pets stay in their rooms, then pet owners need to take responsibility if their dogs do something to a room, such as chewing its furniture or scratching its walls or damaging its bedding.”
Many hotels offer handouts listing local resources for guests with pets — such as nearby dog parks, animal hospitals, and places to buy pet food. Freeman, however, brings pet food from home. “Five or six cans will last ten days. If I go out for lunch while I’m staying at a hotel, I’ll bring a bag of food back to the room just for them.
“But I don’t like to leave them alone in hotel rooms all that much, because as nice as a room might be, it is still a strange environment for them,” he warns. “If they’re in there alone for a long time, they’ll hear people coming and going in the hallway, and they’re definitely going to have a reaction to that.”
He recommends keeping your dogs with you as much as possible, and checking out dog parks in the city you’re visiting so that they can have fun with other dogs. “I brought Tulip and Daisy to West Palm Beach recently, primarily because I wanted them to meet their grandparents. We stayed in a Marriott that had great services for them. It even had a little grassy contained pen near the pool so that they could play while I swam.”