How appropriate: An article on Five Tips for Traveling With Your Dog. I recommend it! Since it’s an airline blog, it also discusses how to make your dog comfortable while hurtling through the sky at impossible speeds.
Wonder what my five pet travel tips would be? I sat down to think about it and got as far as one—the most important one: Give your dog time to sniff his new surroundings.
On our quest for interesting places and activities, Molly and I have been to a few places now, each armed with our own unique equipment to help us remember our visit. I have a small, cheap, not-for-dummies camera. She has a small, irreplaceable, high-tech, user-friendly nose.
We are frequently at odds while trying to use our devises. I could start a collection featuring blurry photos that resulted from Molly tugging on the leash while she was trying to use her device. At the same time, I’m sure she could write a list of things she never got to olfactoraly record, because I was trying to snap my photo. It doesn’t comfort her any that the picture was for the blog.
And neither can I tell her that her need to acquire an olfactory orientation to a new place is unimportant. A dog’s primary sense is her sense of smell. That’s just a fact pet parents traveling with their dogs have to deal with. A dog isn’t just satisfying her curiosity, either. We humans glance a place over to see if it feels safe. A dog smells a place over.
Thus I’ve gotten used to the idea of seeing a site twice. First, I walk around with Molly and let her satisfy her nosy curiosity. It doubles as a great opportunity to show her what places are off-limits to the paws, like a door leading to a restaurant or café. In a small space, like a building she was invited to see, we may circle it twice so she can really get comfortable in her new surroundings.
Only after her need is satisfied do I whip out the camera and the notebook.
Under ideal conditions, that is. If I’m pressed for time, I still try to give her a chance to sniff the smells. I may ask her to sit and stay while I snap my photo, then give her a minute to follow the tantilizing aroma that was taunting her while she sat there.
Humans go places to see the sights. But Molly has made it clear to me that she goes places to sniff the smells. If we’re going to enjoy our travels together at all, we should both have the chance to record our memories in our own unique ways.