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Photo Friday: Scoop law sign from Gearhart, OR

You’ve been wondering when I’d post another scoop law sign, amiright? You haven’t seen one on the blog since March, and darn it, they’re the main reason you read Dog Jaunt! Well, here’s a very peculiar one indeed, sent in by scoop law sign scout Jessica from Gearhart, an otherwise charming town on the Oregon coast:

Photo by @springtidepress, whose Instagram feed is not to be missed

Photo by @springtidepress, whose Instagram feed is not to be missed

I’m usually a little spooked by this hot-dog-limbed human, but add a hot-dog-limbed pup, and put them both in a thick mist like Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait  (except that Warren has articulated limbs, a neck, and a track suit)? Now I’m laughing. Hard to say what they’re looking at — perhaps a future where there is no poop to pick up.

Thanks so much, Jessica! To see other scoop law signs in Dog Jaunt’s collection, click on the “scoop law” tag below this post, or type “scoop law” in the search bone.

Reader’s report: Sleepypod Air (and Olive!) on a United 737-900 plane

This started out as a post on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page, but reader Marie kindly agreed that I could repost it here on the blog, where it wouldn’t scroll away. Olive is a cross between a Sealyham Terrier and a Connemara Jack Russell Terrier (officially, a “Heritage Connemara Jack Russell,” part of a project to ensure the survival of the Irish Jack Russell). Marie bought the Sleepypod Air (here’s my review of it) in the dark chocolate color — very pretty, and a nice change from black, but still dark enough to minimize its apparent size.

As Marie says, she and Olive were in an aisle seat; I don’t know precisely which version of the 737-900 they were on, but in all likelihood their plane had this layout; they were on the right side of the plane, probably in Rows 8-12.

“My new puppy, Olive, and I flew from Boston to San Francisco on a United 737-900. This is a photo of her under the seat in front of me in her Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier. She fit just fine even with the ends not folded up. I confirmed with the flight attendant that they were fine with this. We were in an aisle seat in Economy Plus which made the leg room decent. I am not sure I could handle this in the regular seats.”

A nice fit, even with one of those dratted aisle rails narrowing the available under seat space

A nice fit, even with one of those dratted aisle rails narrowing the available under seat space

Thank you so much, Marie! And welcome to your new home, Olive! I’m tagging this post so that it joins Dog Jaunt’s growing collection of pictures of carriers in action on planes.

Blueberry (and Baret) in France: From rescue pup to muse

One of my favorite Facebook friends is an artist I knew long before she picked up a brush. Baret Boisson began painting as an adult, and she’s entirely self-taught. Her work is enchanting, but I also love the delightful, intelligent essays she posts on her Facebook page about objects she’s collected or encountered, or images that spark her interest (including, most recently, photos of what turn-of-the-century ladies wore hiking — way, way too much; and a couple of the Cottingley Fairies photos — all the buzz in the late 1910’s). Baret and her pup Blueberry spent the past 3 months in France, and after seeing the first pictures she posted, I asked if she’d send a quick note and a handful of photos I could share on Dog Jaunt. Here they are — to see Baret’s work and learn more about it, check out her website, and be sure to “like” Baret Boisson Art on Facebook. Her posts will brighten your day.

“Blueberry is a little mutt whom I adopted last year from, fittingly, a rescue group called, ‘Dogs without Borders.’ They had found her at the South Central Animal shelter and called her ‘Crystal’ because of her one blue eye. I took her home, renamed her, and worked on socializing this tiny, timid creature.

I’m an artist living in Los Angeles and decided that I would take the summer of 2014 to travel around France. I would visit museums, get inspiration and paint. Blueberry was with me during the entire journey abroad, and suddenly I found myself photographing her in the context of these marvelous sights so as to create a perspective — how close a river was, or how big a monument was, for example. Indeed, I was using Blueberry in most of my images, placing her, asking her to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, and then ‘releasing’ and praising her.

The process is collaborative, and Blueberry has become my little muse. We are a team, my little rescue dog and me.”

Blueberry atop a mailbox

Blueberry atop a mailbox

Blueberry in front of Notre Dame, in Paris

Blueberry in front of Notre Dame, in Paris

Blueberry and the allée

Blueberry and an allée in Provence

Held aloft by La Rivière, in Paris's Jardin des Tuileries

Held aloft by La Rivière, in Paris’s Jardin des Tuileries

At Colette's grave in the Père Lachaise cemetery (not dog-friendly, so be cautious re-creating this shot)

At Colette’s grave in the Père Lachaise cemetery (not dog-friendly, so be cautious re-creating this shot)

Blue-eyed pup watches blue-eyed (really!) Lusitanian horses training at Versailles' Grande Écurie

Blue-eyed pup watches blue-eyed (really!) Lusitanian horses training at Versailles’ Grande Écurie

Blueberry and the locks of love

Blueberry and the locks of love (on Paris’s Pont des Arts)

Thank you so much, Baret, for sharing these photos — it’s such a pleasure seeing how much fun you two had together as you traveled around France!

Reader’s report: Recommendation for English-speaking dog groomer in Paris

You’ve met Ralph the Bichon a couple of times now, since his person Anne has kindly allowed me to post pictures from his trips to France. Anne was also the source of a really sensible travel ID tag solution involving an e-mail address that generates an automatic (and infinitely customizable) reply. This July, she wrote to me from Paris with a recommendation for a dog groomer she turned to when Ralph got a glob of gunk stuck in his paw. I’m glad to share her report with you, because finding a good groomer is as tricky as finding a good veterinarian (and in this case, it turns out, the groomer had tools the vet didn’t have).

On a July day about two weeks into their trip, “the temperature hit 92 by mid-afternoon. We were at ‘home’ about 5:30 pm when I noticed that a tar-like gunk was embedded in one of Ralph’s paws. He was totally nonchalant until I tried to remove it; he squealed and the stuff only wiggled. It was really gross — black, thick, and flecked with tiny stones. Hoping there was an easy way to soak it out, I called our groomer in NYC, who said it would need to be cut out.”

Anne took Ralph to Dr. McCarthy, the vet I took Chloe to last fall, and while the experience was positive, his office didn’t have the right tool for the job: “The assistant agreed it would need to be cut out but — lifting a pair of round-tipped scissors longer than Ralph’s leg — said she hadn’t the right equipment and suggested we go to a groomer.”

Anne had already visited Au Paradis Canin earlier in the trip “to pick up shampoo (I had to forget something),” so she knew it was close by. She returned, and groomer Caroline Coutret, “whose English is excellent, remembered Ralph. She looked at his paw, announced (in French) ‘chewing gum,’ and grabbed a clipper from the wall. Three minutes later, the gunk was gone. Caroline refused to take any money. ‘C’est normal,’ she shrugged. So I bought Ralph a toy: on the hottest day of July, he picked a squeaky, bouncy Santa Claus.”

Ralph, celebrating Christmas in July

Ralph, celebrating Christmas in July

A happy ending (“Ralph is fine, I’m relieved, and Caroline is the best”) and a really useful addition to your list of Paris pet resources. Looking back through old posts, it turns out that Chloe and I have been to Le Paradis Canin, but only as shoppers. I’m delighted to learn about Caroline and her grooming skills, kindness, and fluency in English. Thanks, Anne!

Tomales Bay, CA dog-friendly hotel and restaurant: Nick’s Cove

I was contacted by the folks at Nick’s Cove, asking if Chloe and I would like to visit and let Dog Jaunt readers know what we thought of the experience. I instantly said yes, but I felt a bit of a fraud, since Nick’s Cove has long been on my list of places to check out. Then again, it might have taken me awhile to get there: We have generous friends who live nearby, and chances are we would have continued to borrow their house, rather than going to a hotel, however appealing. So take this review with a grain of salt (our dinner, hotel stay, and breakfast were paid for by Nick’s Cove) but make it a small grain, since all the friends who knew where I was heading assured me I’d love the place. I should add that Nick’s Cove did not request that I write a positive review — indeed, they left it entirely up to me to do what I would with my impressions.

A quick orientation: Nick’s Cove is a cluster of cottages with a restaurant — or a restaurant with a cluster of cottages, depending on your priorities — on the east coast of Tomales Bay, in Marin County (just north of San Francisco). Tomales Bay is a long finger of water reaching behind the Point Reyes peninsula, an extraordinarily beautiful place that, thank goodness, is largely parkland of various kinds. All this beauty is only about an hour’s drive from downtown San Francisco, traffic gods permitting, but it feels a world away.

Point Reyes has the waves and the surf; Tomales Bay, behind it, is a more tranquil body of water. Here's part of it on a really perfect summer day.

Point Reyes has the waves and the beaches and the dunes; Tomales Bay, behind it, is a more tranquil body of water. Here’s part of the bay on a practically perfect summer day.

The waterfront part of Nick's Cove, from across Highway 1. I'm standing in front of the other half of the property, looking at the restaurant — the waterfront cottages are to the left, and the boat shack is at the end of the pier on the right.

The waterfront part of Nick’s Cove, from across Highway 1. I’m standing in front of the other half of the property, looking at the restaurant — the waterfront cottages are to the left of the restaurant, and the boat shack is at the end of the pier on the right. Behind me are the “water view” cottages and the Croft (the garden).

Nick’s Cove has been around for a while — people have been eating and relaxing on the property since the 1930’s — and it has the feel of a beloved old favorite (albeit a beloved old favorite that got a nice bit of updating a few years ago, under famed local hotelier/restaurateur Pat Kuleto). The best way I can show that is with pictures of our cottage, one of five along the waterfront (there are seven more across Highway 1, four of which are dog-friendly). We stayed in Al’s, one of the four pet-friendly waterfront cottages (Bandit’s Bungalow is the one waterfront cottage that’s not pet-friendly):

The land side of Al's, with Ruthie's to the right. As you can see, we arrived after the evening fog had rolled in.

The land side of Al’s, with Ruthie’s to the right. As you can see, we arrived after the evening fog had rolled in.

A rose poking through the fence in front of Ruthie's cottage.

A rose poking through the fence in front of Ruthie’s cottage.

The living room of Al's, with a view of the boat shack past the porch. Please note the wood stove, ready for lighting — a source of much coziness later in the evening.

The living room of Al’s, with a view of the boat shack past the porch. Please note the wood stove, ready for lighting — a source of much coziness later in the evening.

The bedroom, also extremely cozy. That's a king-sized bed, and I appreciated the selection of blankets (light cotton as well as a cloud of down, with a back-up hypoallergenic option in the closet) — Marin is a land of many temperatures, and too many hotels would have provided the wrong, or insufficient, blankets.

The bedroom, also extremely cozy. That’s a king-sized bed, and I appreciated the selection of blankets (light cotton as well as a cloud of down, with a back-up hypoallergenic option in the closet). Marin is a land of many temperatures, and too many hotels would have provided the wrong, or insufficient, blankets.

Our bathroom, a nice blend of the updated (that floor may look old-fashioned but it's heated) and the utterly charming (please note the vintage toilet, sink, and bath — all of which worked with modern efficiency).

Our bathroom, a nice blend of the updated (that floor may look original but it’s marble, and heated) and the old-fashioned (the vintage toilet, sink, and bath all worked with modern efficiency).

Moments after we brought our suitcases in, and while I was still unfolding the sheet I pack to protect hotel beds from Chloe’s fur, we were delivered a plate of barbecued oysters. Everybody gets them, not just visiting travel bloggers, and they hit the spot.

The oysters that saved our marriage — so sensible to provide guests with protein, mid-afternoon, rather than something sweet. Here's one place where I got special treatment: Guests normally get a couple of oysters each, but innkeeper Alyssum sized up our need and kindly added two more.

The oysters that saved our marriage — so sensible to provide guests with protein, mid-afternoon, rather than something sweet. Here’s one place where I got special treatment: Guests are normally welcomed with a couple of oysters each, but innkeeper Alyssum sized up our need and kindly added two more.

Nick’s Cove is within easy reach of a variety of outstanding food resources, including some remarkable dairies and farms (as well as oyster beds). They’ve also started a garden of their own, already providing the restaurant with eggs and a certain quantity of vegetables, herbs, and honey, with more vegetables and an orchard to follow. More about the garden later (it’s one of the places where your pet can join you), but all of that means that the restaurant has good ingredients at its fingertips, and our meals, including the room-service breakfast, were excellent. Our dinner (an outrageously good chowder and steak for me, with a tomato salad and a vast pork chop for my husband) was minus Chloe, but she could easily have joined us, in two different ways. There are a handful of outdoor tables, and on a warmer evening (or if we were more warmly dressed), we could have been served at them. Alternatively, that boat shack I’ve mentioned a couple of times is pet-friendly, and you can order take-out, essentially, from it. We walked down the pier to it after dinner, and it’s charming — there are a few tables outside, and inside there are more, warmed by a wood stove and a working piano. Next time we’ll settle ourselves out there, pick up the phone, and order dinner (you choose from the normal dinner menu, and when your order’s ready, the restaurant calls the shack).

Actually, Chloe could have joined us in a third way, but it wasn’t operational during our visit, perhaps because the evening was too cool: Between the restaurant and the waterfront cottages is a small outdoor lounge area where they sometimes set up an oyster bar.

The lounge area: Clearly, I didn’t pay enough attention to the details, but oysters were involved, and your pet dog was welcome. The cottage just beyond the lounge is Ruthie’s, and Al’s is next to it.

The oyster bar lounge area is just beyond that bollard

Chloe, ornamenting a bollard, or maybe it’s a cleat

Other nice touches for travelers with dogs? You’re met with a couple of home-made dog treats and a note explaining the rules:

There is a $50 per pet/per stay fee, I should add.

There is a $50 per pet/per stay fee, I should add.

Our cottage had an enclosed porch and a fenced and gated front yard, which, taken together, meant Chloe could have the run of the place. We latched the front gate and opened both the front and back doors, and Chloe could safely wander at will. (Ruthie’s offers the same opportunity, since it too has an enclosed porch and gated front yard.)

Chloe enjoying the view from Al's little porch (that's the restaurant in the background)

Chloe enjoying the view from Al’s little porch (that’s the restaurant in the background)

The property was very pleasant to wander around, and as I mentioned, dogs may join you as you walk through the garden (in the fullness of time, they’ll be able to join you as you relax and eat up there, too — the hotel has big plans for the Croft).

Ross, the garden manager, surveying chard. Beyond him is a future guest lounge area and an orchard — the garden is just getting started, but it's a sun trap and will thrive.

Ross, the garden manager, surveying chard. Beyond him is a future guest lounge area and an orchard — the Croft is just getting started, but it’s a sun trap and will thrive.

The gardeners among you will understand how pleased Ross is by these early harvests.

The gardeners among you will understand how pleased Ross is by these early harvests.

En route to the chicken coop — all of this area can be explored by guests with pet dogs, but be sure not to let your dog heckle the hens (and of course, pick up your pup's poop).

En route to the chicken coop — all of this area can be explored by guests with pet dogs, but be sure not to let your dog heckle the hens (and of course, pick up your pup’s poop).

Nicolina, another dog-friendly waterfront cottage. Adorable, but tiny — perhaps not the choice for your Great Dane puppy.

Nicolina, another dog-friendly waterfront cottage. Adorable, but tiny — perhaps not the choice for your Great Dane puppy.

Chloe and the boat of nasturtiums

Chloe and the boat of nasturtiums, moored outside the Innkeeper’s cottage

Chloe was perfectly happy at Nick’s Cove, and we were too. If I had to find a nit to pick, it’d be that our cottage, at least, didn’t appear to have working windows, so our nighttime ventilation option was the back door. Leaving it open was safe enough, barring a really determined effort to do us evil, but we feared mosquitos (in fact, there were none, perhaps because of the breeze from the bay — I had an unfortunate encounter with a wasp, the next morning, but that was on the less breezy side of the property). The room music options were also limited (to Reggae Blend, Smooth Jazz, Coffee House, Traditional Country, Soft Hits, and New Age), so next time we’ll bring our wireless Bluetooth speaker with us. There’s no cellphone coverage, but the wifi was adequate to our needs.

My guess is that you, like us, will not miss being powerfully connected to the rest of the world. Nick’s Cove takes you back to a bygone era of vacationing, tempting you to do no-tech things like putting together puzzles, or playing music, or listening to the waves, or watching pelicans make their hunting passes up and down the bay. I appreciated the slightly battered, Adirondack camp feel of the place, and I appreciated, too, the touches of luxury — the vast bed, the heated bathroom floor, the Bulleit bourbon available for purchase in the room. A lot of thought went into providing the packet of lavender bath salts I found right when I was hoping for one; the containers of real cream to go with the (darned good) coffee we made in the room; the extra table, next to the vintage bathroom sink, big enough to hold bathroom gear; the pair of house-made chocolate cupcakes we were handed as we checked out. We liked it all, and we’ll return.

Nick’s Cove is pricey (I didn’t realize quite how pricey until I started writing this post), but if your budget allows, get one of the waterfront cottages. I visited Uncle Andy’s, one of the pet-friendly cottages on the other side of Highway 1, and while it was very attractive, it was a (small, rural) highway away from the water. Other fun things to do with your pup in the area? Check out the pet-friendly trails and beaches on Point Reyes (they’re limited in number and area, but still, good stuff); wander around the charming town of Point Reyes Station (we’ve visited the dog-friendly bookstore, and dashed in to Cowgirl Creamery to pick up a sandwich); or bring your pup with you to Hog Island Oyster Co. or The Marshall Store, both sources of superb oysters (Hog Island has a shuck-your-own option, but shucked oysters are readily available, never fear) and other good lunch/early dinner options. Hog Island is all outdoors; The Marshall Store welcomes pet dogs in its outdoor areas, but not in its building. Keep your pup on a leash in both places, and, of course, pick up after her.

Reader’s report: Air-side pet relief area at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

As you know from previous posts, the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has multiple pet relief areas. I’ve visited one of the areas serving Terminal D, and reader Giuliana shared info and pictures from one of the areas serving Terminal C (there’s another outdoor pet relief area at the southern end of Terminal C, and there’s one serving Terminal A — if you visit them, please report!). In addition to its outdoor pet relief areas, DFW is also one of the rare U.S. airports with a pet relief area on the air side of security — meaning that you don’t have to exit the airport and return again through the security line to let your dog use the bathroom. Reader Laura visited it recently, and kindly sent a picture and a quick report.

Kathy's picture of the DFW pet relief area on the air side of the security line.

Laura’s picture of the DFW pet relief area on the air side of the security line

The pictures are a pleasant touch, and, also on the bright side, the room contains a sink and water bowls (as well as the litter box you can see in the upper left corner — hard to imagine any of my cats being relaxed enough to use it, and if your dog, like Chloe, has a disgusting weakness for cat “cookies,” keep her away from it). On the negative side, that’s a very small patch of fake grass, and it will likely become as unpleasant as the one in Seattle’s air-side pet relief area. I do wish more airports would take a leaf out of Washington/Dulles’s playbook, and invest in a room with a large, washable (or at least rinsable) surface.

However, it exists, and that’s cause for celebration. To find it, says Laura, make your way to Terminal D and look for Gate D-18: “It’s right next to gate D18; there are signs, then it’s down a hallway in an unmarked room, which was weird.” Basically, she says, it’s “an empty storage room.”

Thanks so much, Laura, for your generosity in collecting and sharing this info! It’s such a help to other travelers with dogs. I’ve added this post to Dog Jaunt’s ongoing series of reviews of airport pet relief areas. To see others, visit Dog Jaunt’s handy guide to airport pet relief areas. Please note that the other U.S. airports I know about that currently have air-side pet relief areas are located in Detroit; Minneapolis; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; San Diego; Seattle; and Washington D.C. (Dulles).

Reader’s report: Dog-friendly river cruises in Germany, Holland

The fact is, it’s hard to find dog-friendly sailing/cruising opportunities, unless you own your own boat or can talk your way onto a friend’s boat. They exist, don’t despair (never despair!), but they’re rare. I list several in Bone Voyage, my book about dog travel — and isn’t it time you bought yourself a copy? — but this week I learned from reader Jenna that the German company 1AVista Reisen offers four different river cruises focusing on travelers with pet dogs (though guests without dogs are also welcome — “Selbstverständlich sind auch Gäste ohne Hund herzlich willkommen”).

Jenna is eying the next available cruise, an 8-day trip on the Rhine and Moselle rivers that heads south from the cathedral city of Cologne (Köln) to Koblenz, then turns southwest to follow the Moselle River to Trier, the oldest city in Germany, and home to eight UNESCO world heritage sites. The ship (the 50-cabin MS Normandie) docks several times a day so guests can walk their pups on land (if your dog needs a break between shore visits, there’s a pet relief area set up on the “Sonnendeck”). On the return trip to Cologne, the ship stops in different locations along the rivers.

Other trip options include a 4-day Rhine River cruise that takes you past Koblenz (and I think past the Lorelei rock — oh, the romance!); a different 8-day Rhine/Moselle cruise; and an 8-day cruise northwards from Cologne to Utrecht and beyond, to Volendam and Enkhuisen on Holland’s coasts, before returning to Cologne on another branch of the Rhine (you can, if you like, tack on an additional short Rhine cruise that heads south from Cologne).

Bacharach is one of the stops on the 4-day Rhine cruise (photo by Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus)

Bacharach is one of the stops on the 4-day Rhine cruise (photo by Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus)

Reading the list of stops on the trip Jenna is considering brought back very happy memories of childhood trips to the Rhine and Moselle valleys — not to be missed by anyone with an interest in history and castles and mythology. And wine — this is prime wine country, after all, and the mountainside vineyards that add so much to the scenery produce some superb Riesling (and other wines too).

Your dog must be leashed, but she can be with you in all guest areas, including “im Salon, Restaurant, an der Rezeption oder an Deck.” You’re requested to bring your pet’s own food. There is a size restriction (your pet can be no more than 50 cm tall — just under 20″ — at the shoulder), and there are breed restrictions (“Gefährliche Hunderassen gemäß der Hundeverordnung des Landes NRW wie Pitbull, Bullterrier, Rottweiler, Bulldog etc. werden niche befördert”). There is a small fee for your pup: on the longer trips, it’s € 80 (€ 40 on the 4-day cruise).

Thanks so much for the lead, Jenna — Chloe and I will follow in your footsteps as soon as we can!

Reader’s report: Pet relief area at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) — Terminal C

Speaking of reader Giuliana (responsible for my last post about JetBlue’s recent pet policy change), it’s high time I passed on her report about the pet relief area at Dallas Fort Worth International’s (DFW) Terminal C. You may recall that I’ve located and written about two of the pet relief areas serving DFW’s Terminal D, but I didn’t have time to get to the other areas at Terminals A and C. I asked for reports from any of you passing through DFW, and Giuliana responded to the call.

Thank goodness she did, because DFW’s website is very thin on guidance: All it says is that “Designated grassy areas [are] located on the lower level outside security.” Terminal C apparently has two pet relief areas, one at either end; Giuliana visited the one at the northern end, near Gate 2 (there’s another one at the southern end, near Gate 39). According to Giuliana, “It was a little hard to find if you don’t know about of it ahead of time. If there were signs in the terminal, I didn’t see them. You walk down towards gate C1, but you have to exit at C4, go down the escalator and then continue walking outside in the direction of C1.”

Here’s Giuliana’s picture of the northern Terminal C pet relief area:

As you can see, it’s an unfenced bit of sloping lawn, provided with a pole bearing poop bags and a trash bin, but nothing else.

Thanks to Google Maps, I can give you this overview of where that pet relief area is:

Terminal C from above — the red arrow points to the pet relief area

Terminal C from above — the red arrow points to the pet relief area

And this street view:

The pet relief area from above — Terminal C parking to the right, Terminal C baggage claim behind and to the lower left

The pet relief area from the service road that runs down the backbone of the airport, looking east (pretty much where the arrow is in the previous photo) — Terminal C parking to the right, Terminal C baggage claim behind and to the lower left. You can just see the poop bag pole at the tip of the lawn closest to the terminal.

Giuliana was pleased to find that the security line nearest the pet relief area was easy to re-enter: “A bonus was the security area coming back in near the relief area was small (didn’t seem like they were set up for huge lines). There were only 2 people ahead of me, both crew members.”

She was also happy to report that Puddy, her Cairn Terrier (then weighing 11 lbs. and measuring 11″ at the shoulder and 15″ long), fit comfortably in a large Sherpa carrier, which in turn worked fine under her seats on a Boeing 737-800 and a 757 (both American Airlines): “I wasn’t able to get dimensions, but he fit under the seat both side/longwise (there was a bump under there to get the bag end under, but not awful). I chose to orient him sideways though so I could rub his side with my foot, which comforted him on takeoff/landing. A couple inches of the bag stuck out, so I just put my legs on either side.”

Thank you yet again, Giuliana, both for the info and for your extreme patience! I’ve added this post to Dog Jaunt’s ongoing series of reviews of airport pet relief areas. To see others, visit Dog Jaunt’s handy guide to airport pet relief areas.

JetBlue now lets you reserve on-line an in-cabin spot for your pet dog

This is a two-part update, and I owe both parts to reader Giuliana, who wrote first to tell me that JetBlue now allows you to reserve an in-cabin spot for your pet online. As of at least June 16, the language on JetBlue’s JetPaws page stated that “Pets can be booked online or you can call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).”

That’s unusual — previously, of the major U.S. airlines, only Virgin America and United (carried over from Continental’s policy) let you make your pet’s reservation at the same time you make your own online reservation. I celebrated noisily on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page, because it’s a real convenience for travelers with pets — otherwise, you’re forced either to (1) make your own reservation online, then quickly call and add your pet to your ticket, hoping that there’s room in the cabin for her; or (2) make both of your reservations over the phone, incurring the fee for phone reservations.

Previously, JetBlue had sweetened the deal by waiving the phone reservation fee for calls made by travelers with pets, but those days are over. Now, they really want you to make all of your reservations on-line; as Giuliana discovered, they’re adding a big nudge in that direction by adding a $25 fee if you call to make your pet’s reservation. Tucked away in the FAQs — which you wouldn’t necessarily consult when planning your trip, because the FAQ link is located under the “At the airport” section of the JetPaws page — is a new note saying that “Pets may be booked on jetblue.com or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) — a $25 booking fee will apply for reservations made over the phone” (emphasis in the original). That is, of course, in addition to the normal $100 (each way) pet fee that the airline charges.

So how does it work? I started making a fictional reservation for mid-July, and I learned that your pet gets added to your reservation at Step 4 (“Extras”) in the process, right after seat selection. Here’s a screen shot of what it looked like:

This is a little cramped, since I wanted to capture both the top of the page (showing where I was in the booking process) as well as the "Jet with your pet" entry

This is a little cramped, since I wanted to capture both the top of the page (showing where I was in the booking process) as well as the “Jet with your pet” entry

Put briefly, if you are planning to travel with your in-cabin pet on JetBlue, make reservations for both of you on-line to avoid significant processing fees. Hat tip to JetBlue for making on-line booking available (and thereby tacitly assuring you that your pet actually does have a reserved spot in-cabin — those spots are limited in number, and many airlines make them first-come-first-served), and for its continuing policy of awarding you frequent flyer points for your pet’s travel as well as yours. And another hat tip to Giuliana, for bringing both changes to my attention!

Backpack carrier for a larger small dog: PetEgo’s Pet At Work Travel System

I owe this post to reader Catie, who told me that PetEgo now offers its P@W backpack carrier in a large size — I’d admired it before, but the product back then (the current small size) was too small for Chloe. Long story short: The large Pet At Work carrier is a fine size for a larger small dog like Chloe, and with a couple of tweaks, it’s a wonderful addition to our carrier collection. Please note that I paid full price for our P@W Travel System. I will always let you know when I’m reviewing a product or a service that has been paid for (or provided at a discount by) someone else.

Chloe, ever patient, tries out the Pet At Work carrier

Chloe, ever patient, tries out the Pet At Work carrier

The concept behind the Pet At Work Travel System is appealing: You carry your pet to work (say, for example, on public transit) in the backpack part of the carrier, and when you arrive at your workplace you pull a large Pet Dome out of its slot in the carrier (which also has a padded sleeve for a small laptop) and let your pup recline in that. That scenario doesn’t happen in my life (I work at home, and my husband keeps a Pet Dome at his workplace), but I can imagine biking with Chloe on my back to a destination — a coffee shop, or a park — where it would be good to have a Pet Dome for her to lounge in. It’s more likely, however, that I would leave the Pet Dome at home and use its pocket to carry the gear I normally carry in my purse. It’s a rare pleasure to run into a pet carrier that includes space for human gear too:

I've pulled the Pet Dome out of its slot (you can see it resting against my foot) to show you the space it leaves available. That sleeve on the right will hold a 15" laptop, and the main part of the compartment would hold all of my gear (and I'm a gal who carriers a big purse). The tether actually belongs in the pet compartment to the left, but I've pulled it out of Chloe's way and flopped it in here instead. I wish PetEgo allowed you the option of detaching the tether.

I’ve pulled the Pet Dome out of its slot (you can see it resting against my right foot) to show you the space it leaves available. That sleeve on the right will hold a 15″ laptop, and the main part of the compartment would hold all of my gear (and I’m a gal who carries a big purse). The tether actually belongs in the pet compartment to the left, but I’ve pulled it out of Chloe’s way and flopped it in here instead. I wish PetEgo allowed you the option of detaching the tether.

The downside of doing that is that you lose structural support: The collapsed PetDome provides a lightweight but sturdy foundation that the rest of the backpack hangs from. Carrying a laptop helps, but even with just a heap of stuff from my purse (the last picture, below) in that pocket, Chloe didn’t list too much.

The P@W carrier with the Pet Dome in its slot. Plenty of room for Chloe, and her "floor" is pretty level.

The P@W carrier with the Pet Dome in its slot. Plenty of room for Chloe, and her “floor” is pretty level.

Pet Dome removed, and replaced with my small MacBook Air laptop. A bit more sag in Chloe's "floor."

Pet Dome removed, and replaced with my small MacBook Air laptop. A bit more sag in Chloe’s “floor.”

No Pet Dome or laptop, just random purse stuff. This is the worst-case scenario; while Chloe's "floor" is angled, she didn't seem unduly concerned about it.

No Pet Dome or laptop, just random purse stuff. This is the worst-case scenario, in terms of structural support; while Chloe’s “floor” is angled, she didn’t seem unduly concerned about it. If I thought I’d never carry a laptop or a Pet Dome, I might consider getting a piece of thick foam cut into the same shape as the collapsed Pet Dome, and slip that into the laptop sleeve.

As longtime Dog Jaunt readers already know, Chloe is a large small dog (she weighs about 13 lbs., stands about 12″ tall at her shoulder, and measures about 16″ from nape of neck to base of tail), and I have to shop carefully for carriers that fit her. Add the large Pet At Work backpack to the list — when all of its gussets are unzipped, it offers a space that is 16.5″ wide, 11.5″ deep, and about 16″ tall (the width and height have a fair amount of give, since the “walls” and “ceiling” of the space are nylon mesh). That’s plenty of room for her to sit up, shift around, and view the world. It’s also just enough room for her to lie down in a tight circle, but if I anticipated that she’d be doing a lot of resting, I’d pack the Pet Dome.

The following picture shows the pet compartment at its largest, with both of its gusset zippers unzipped. In this configuration (the only one that works for Chloe, or other dogs her size), the carrier has two entrances, one on top, and one on the back. As you can see, the back entrance’s “door” can be rolled up and secured (with Velcro); in that event, you’d likely want to use the provided tether to discourage your pup from leaping out.

Roomiest pet compartment option (both gussets unzipped)

Roomiest pet compartment option (both gussets unzipped). Two rods in nylon sleeves, sewn to the “ceiling” of the pet compartment, keep the top propped outwards: Swing them up and use the Velcro tabs on their ends to attach them to the upper corners of the compartment.

If you have a small pet, you might prefer this following configuration, with only one of the gusset zippers unzipped. The top entrance is no longer available, but the side and back panels still provide a lot of cross-ventilation.

It's worth nothing that with one fewer gusset unfurled, using the Pet Dome compartment as a purse won't make the pet compartment floor tilt as much

It’s worth noting that with one fewer gusset unfurled, using the Pet Dome compartment as a purse (that is, removing the Pet Dome) won’t make the pet compartment floor tilt as much.

These are the only two pet-carrying configurations available; once you close the second gusset zipper, you’re left with a compartment that could hold a sweater or, given that a couple of mesh panels are still exposed, gym clothing.

In both of the pet-carrying configurations, the “floor” panel (a piece of what feels like thick plastic, encased in nylon), can be pulled away from the Velcro tab securing it to the wall of the pet compartment and laid flat, where it’s held in place by gravity and friction. Softness is provided by a small pad, nylon on one side and fleece on the other, which you lay on top of the floorboard. It’s not secured to anything, and scoots around under your dog, especially while you’re hoisting the carrier onto your shoulders.

Chloe really dislikes that scooting, and I plan to fix it with more Velcro. The same “male” Velcro tab that holds the floor panel to the wall of the pet compartment will make itself useful again: I’ll sew a strip of “female” Velcro (the softer, loop side) to the pad, and that’ll provide one point of stability (since it’s the softer part of a Velcro pairing, and therefore won’t catch on your dog’s fur, you could sew strips to both the nylon and the fleece sides of the pad, if you care about reversing the pad in hot/cold weather). I’ll sew an additional female Velcro strip on each short end of the pad. There may not be enough slack in the nylon covering of the floorboard to allow the matching male strips to be sewn on; if not, I’ll use stick-on Velcro strips for the floorboard. The result will be three points of stability for the pad, which will greatly improve Chloe’s outlook on life.

Aside from her objections to the shiftiness of the provided floor pad, Chloe clearly approves of the carrier —  even after the jostling that occurs while I wriggle out of the straps and swing her down to a chair or the floor, she’s in no hurry to hop out.

Snoozing happily.

Snoozing happily.

I like it too — the thought that went into its features pleases me, and it’s well-made. The shoulder straps are comfortable, and I like how the same padding that protects your laptop also cushions your back. A simple strap at the top lets you pick the carrier up vertically (picking it up by the tops of the shoulder straps would tilt the bag, potentially disconcerting your pet). A long, low pocket just below the back “entrance” is big enough to hold small items like a roll of poop bags and treats.

One last thought: It occurred to me that the Pet At Work backpack might work as an in-cabin carrier. You’d have to take the Pet Dome out as you arrived at your seat, and gently rotate the carrier onto the strap side, so your dog ends up resting on the padding that usually protects your back. The two props that support the pet compartment will now be holding one end of your pet’s “roof” up. Deploy some more Velcro to secure the panel that’s normally the floorboard in place — you need it to support the other end of your pet’s roof, and it no longer has gravity on its side in this orientation. The overall height of the rotated carrier, minus the Pet Dome, is about 11″, with plenty of give (but be gentle with those two support rods), and the length and width are both about 16″. For a dog Chloe’s size, I’d do it only if I was traveling with someone else, and could poach some of their legroom for the Pet Dome — as soon as we leveled off, I’d unfold the Pet Dome and nudge her into it from the carrier (how convenient that the carrier’s usual top entrance acts as a side entrance when the carrier is under a plane seat!).

How does the Pet At Work carrier compare with the Canine Casual, another soft backpack carrier that works for larger small pets? As far as the space available for your pet goes, they’re close — as you can see in this picture, the pet compartments are about the same height and depth; however, what you can’t see from this angle is that the Pet At Work space is about 1-2″ wider than the Canine Casual space. The Pet At Work carrier is therefore a bit roomier than the Canine Casual.

Please note that the pet compartment for the Canine Casual (on the left) includes the area behind the powder-blue, grommeted panel; the pet compartment for the Pet At Work (on the right) ends just to the right of the

The pet compartment for the Canine Casual (on the left) includes the area behind the powder-blue, grommeted panel; the pet compartment for the Pet At Work (on the right) ends where the mesh ends (the solid area to the right is the Pet Dome compartment). It’s worth noting, though, that if the Pet Dome is removed, part of that space becomes available to your pet, since the inner wall of the Pet Dome compartment is thin nylon. In the picture of Chloe snoozing, her bottom was pressing into the empty Pet Dome compartment.

The Pet At Work carrier has more mesh ventilation panels, but I don’t mean to criticize the Canine Casual by saying that — I still think the Canine Casual carrier’s mesh panels and giant grommets provide good ventilation. Both are dark, which is fine for cool weather, but not ideal for warm weather (one Dog Jaunt reader reports that she found the large Pet At Work carrier in a tan color, so I’ll keep checking the PetEgo listing to see if it becomes available again).

The Pet At Work carrier minus the Pet Dome weighs about the same as the Canine Casual (2.96 lbs. versus the Canine Casual’s 2.86 lbs.), but with the Pet Dome on board, the Pet At Work System weighs nearly 6 lbs. The Pet At Work System is significantly more expensive ($150, on Amazon, versus about $80 for the Canine Casual).

The two carriers perceive the same need (a backpack carrier for a larger small dog, who may also want to spend time lying down) but address it in a different way: The Canine Casual carrier expands, with the help of a gusset, into a mesh tent, while the Pet At Work carrier stows a mesh tent (the Pet Dome) in a separate slot. Which one you choose will depend on how large your larger small dog is, and which price tag your budget can handle.

Amazon link: Pet at Work Travel System (large) from PetEgo