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Chloe’s Clicks: The best recent dog travel links

You may have noticed that the blog has been quiet for a while (and that I’ve admitted defeat and titled this Chloe’s Clicks “recent” rather than “this week’s”). I have a good reason — a very good reason indeed — and I’ll announce it as soon as possible. In the meantime, forgive me. I’ll get back in gear on the blog — and don’t miss the news and chat on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page.

The troubles at Pet Airways made the news a couple of weeks ago, but the airline is still flying — and expensive though it might be, it’s still the best option for many pet owners (owners of big, snub-nosed dogs like English Bulldogs and Shar Pei, for example, have no other option but driving). I, for one, hope it sorts its problems out and sticks around. I hope it expands the territories it serves. Given the price of checking a pet, or putting him in cargo, on other U.S. airlines (which don’t offer the benefits and level of care Pet Airways does), the cost of a Pet Airways trip isn’t extreme.

This deserves a post of its own, and will get one soon (I hope), but you should know about the latest thing in pet ID tags, which is QR codes (those black and white pixellated squares you see all over these days — in magazines, at airport cell phone parking lots, etc.). mentioned two companies that offer pet ID tags with QR codes. The upside? You can provide a lot of information about your pet, and can update it at will, and a finder can read your pet’s tag with a free QR reader. The downside? Your finder has to have a smart phone, know what a QR code is, and know that free readers are available. I particularly like the PetHub option because it incorporates the ID tag into a flat-surfaced collar — no dangling tags to get caught in things, or make your pet’s fur mat. My other link is to Pet News and Views, which hosted a splendid guest post by Jon Federico about making your own QR code pet ID tag.

Houston’s CultureMap wrote an article about the Best Friends Pet Care “Treat Truck,” then visiting Houston on its national tour (check here for its current and upcoming locations). What’s not to like about an ice cream truck for dogs, featuring human-grade ingredients? Speaking of food, L.A. Country recently opened the door to restaurants who want to welcome diners with pets to outdoor patios. The new policy doesn’t include the cities of Long Beach, Pasadena and Vernon, which have their own health departments (and therefore their own rules), and remember, don’t assume that all restaurants with patios have taken the plunge — call ahead and ask if your dog is welcome, or ask at the door when you arrive.

I was surprised to see the results of a recent survey indicating that the U.K. isn’t particularly pet friendly (now, mind you, that’s in comparison with Germany, Italy, Spain, France and Belgium, which — except for Spain — are probably the most pet-friendly countries in the world). It was particularly heartening, therefore, to see a press release and related articles about Yakima, WA and its new “Wine Doggies” site — designed to make a trip to the Yakima-area wine country easy for visitors with pet dogs. It’s useful, it’s appealing, and I hope lots more regions and attractions do the same thing.

Speaking of bright ideas, the Dog Vacay site launched last week, and got a buzz of publicity — the concept (well known in the U.K., apparently, but new here) is that you can leave your dog in the hands not of a kennel or a boarding facility, but with a pet-loving family or couple or individual. I raised my eyebrows, but now I’m pretty enthusiastic — its success will depend, of course, on getting people to sign up as hosts, and being able to get a really good sense ahead of time what your dog’s host is like. Here’s an interview with Dog Vacay’s co-founder that talks about those issues (and about the idea in general).

The summary report of pet “incidents” on U.S. flight in 2011 came out, and the headlines were a PR nightmare for Delta (for example, “More Pets Died on Delta Flights in 2011, but Why?“). The article I’ve provided a link to actually does a good job of breaking down the numbers and looking closely at the circumstances surrounding the pet deaths. The blame, it appears, often needs to be shared by the airlines (who ignored their own policies) and the owners (who should have realized their pet was unfit for travel).

The same article also references a change in United’s pet policy that attracted a lot of negative attention, and was ultimately partially reversed. United announced that it would, starting March 3, only carry pets who aren’t small enough to travel in-cabin as cargo (not as checked luggage). Because of international regulations, the change would make the cost of bringing a larger pet home from, for example, Japan, very high. Overseas military families with pets (a group who would have borne the brunt of the new policy) responded angrily, and a very short time later, United backtracked — but only for military families. Meanwhile, it’s well after March 3 and United’s web site still says “we have enhanced our animal acceptance policy to transport pets as both baggage (accompanying a passenger on the same plane) and cargo.”  It’s clear as mud, as my mother says, and I urge you to have a detailed conversation with a United rep (and then call back and get confirmation from another one) before finalizing your plans on United.

Something a little lighter is needed after all that, and I have just the link for you: Penny and Pete, two Magellanic penguins, recently traveled in-cabin on a Delta flight from Atlanta to New York, and there’s video to prove it. Enjoy!