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Summer travel plans can cause stress for your pets

June 16, 2019

You will be having lots of visitors in the upcoming season. That would include everyone from people you’ve met waiting in line to use the bathroom at the rest stop on the turnpike to strangers you’ve nodded to while pumping gas at the local station.

No doubt, one mention of living at the beach and that doorbell will be ringing faster than pulling a burning piece of toast out of your Magnolia-style toaster. Be prepared for not only their company, but also random stuff they think you need for the beach. Things like portable grills, blow-up inner tubes, boxes of Preparation H and cardboard likenesses of George Forman.

Now, some of those folks will be bringing their pets, too. The funny thing is that pets, especially dogs, are ambivalent about traveling, particularly if it involves getting into a car. Canines are very picky about other passengers. If there’s no one beside them, it means they will be going for a run or some other type of exercise. They aren’t sure how they feel about the long trips.

And they don’t mind the car-pooling groups, because they know those little people will be getting in trouble, with threats ending in phrases like “We will turn the car around” and “Wait till I tell your father.”

No, that’s not a problem. It’s safe when other people get into the car. But the gossip they hear at the dog park is that they have to be careful because some brothers and sisters in the canine world have been known to get in the car and never return. Where did they go?

The more knowledgeable mutts have hinted it has something to do with the veterinarian’s office. This has caused a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights. Some have kidney overload just thinking about it. Luckily, most dogs have owners with a medicine cabinet full of prescription drugs. Just make sure you have a can of oil with you; those medicine cabinet doors are always squeaky.

One item that is a sure sign of trouble is the sight of a suitcase. That can’t be good news. Dogs really don’t like that packing bit. They start to pace, chew their nails or hum under their breath. Some of them consider calling any crisis hotline.

On the one hand, dogs want to go on the trip with the rest of the family; they don’t want to be left behind. And especially if it means putting up with that crazy dog sitter with hair the color of an orange highway cone. It already has given most of them cataracts. Also, the woman constantly whistles through her teeth whenever she eats oranges. There seems to be a problem with pulp.

But if the trip involves visiting someone’s mother-in-law, dogs will reason that they would rather stay home and watch a press conference with any politician running for office. Now that says it all.

A dog will sit across from you and watch what you pack. His eyes will grow big hoping for sympathy. But there is that one item that is a sure giveaway, though, the dreaded bathing suit. That means a trip to the beach. Egad! There will be water and sand and lots of rules! And the worst news ever, very few crumbs. It’s all about ice cream at the beach.

And there will be no great solid shoes to chew on; everyone wears those rubber flip-flops. And the traffic! Even a pet can dread the near-miss, bumper-to-bumper, no-signaling chaos.

So don’t forget your paw-printed visitors this summer.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.