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Toby and Jonathan

Must Love Dogs and Travel!

Toby on a househunt
Toby on a househunt in The Lot, Autoire, France
Toby dog on his bed in St Paul de Vence.

Of course, you love your dog or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But traveling with your dog, or not traveling with your dog, might be something you are questioning. 

 Toby or not Toby? 

That is not the question, as we take our dog, Toby, wherever we goest. 

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them… so said Shakespeare.

For our dog, Toby, we tried pet sitters, house sitters, and boarding. It was not only expensive but none went well.

Pas du tout! (not at all)

Not to Toby would mean more than just the expense and worry of boarding or hiring a petsitter; it would mean spending the entire time pining, worrying and whining (us, not him), about those slings and arrows. We just could not enjoy ourselves! Separation anxiety, moi?! Certainly, after hearing the sea of troubles the people in Lahiana, Maui, who had left their dogs (okay, and cats) at home… perish the thought.

Of course, things can happen when you travel, so you have to be extra vigilant when traveling with your best friend. Our last travels were plagued by the pension protests. We avoided major cities altogether and altered our course a few times due to the passionate nature of the French. 

(Our French friend told us we were lucky to have observed such history, the manifestations. We’re not so sure). Things are always more blown up in the media than they actually are, but we still ran into some pot banging and riot police. “Hey! We’re just tourists! Coming through?” It was a rare time when we labeled ourselves as such, preferring the Bodaine traveler’s tag.

But, for some people, taking their dog with them on a plane is a question, particularly those with dogs weighing over 15 pounds. Placing a dog in the hold of an airplane is downright dangerous, and in our opinion, should only be done for very long periods of stay if at all. It would be better to take a Transatlantic ship overseas (perhaps a future post!).

For dogs under 15 pounds, who can fly in cabin? Well, they don’t actually fly around in the cabin; one would hope that never happens. You know what we mean. Just taking the cost of boarding your dog vs even the exorbitant pet fee airlines are now charging $200 overseas each way last we flew), the cost decision of taking a Toby with you weighs in the favor of taking Toby. Note that all airlines won’t fly pets overseas (American won’t, Delta will).

Toby with Geese in Sarlat, dreaming of duck pate
Toby in Rothenburg Ob Der Tober Restaurant waiting for steak, Germany
Toby waiting for his steak at Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Toby runs up stairs at Anao Plage, Beaulieu Sur Mer
Toby runs up stairs at Anao Plage, Beaulieu Sur Mer
Toby with Assistant to Master in Tourrettes, France
Toby with Assistant to Master in Tourrettes, France

Travel Story

We were once waiting in the Delta lobby in ATL (though CLT is nearby, we drive to ATL to save a flight transfer, as there are no direct flights from CLT, an American Hub)… as a lady was admiring Toby. “So many people coochi coo at me and want to pet my head,” Toby says. “It’s so annoying! And if youthful, they tell Master, or Assistant to the Master, “Why, my Grandma, she has a dog just like that!” Boy does that tick Master off to a flea! He really needs a Sentry collar, before he bites someone’s head off.

Where were we? ATL, Delta lobby, right. So, Master gets into a conversation with this lady, who looks very sad and lonely. She loves to travel and travels often. 

Once upon learning that we were heading to FRA and the Alsace region, she shared her love for Strasbourg and even Frankfurt. Frankfurt? Did someone say Frankfurters? Toby loves hot dogs! Assistant to Master won’t let him have any (sneak sneak).

Focus! Right, the lady is sad. Her eyebags droop, maybe the right one more heavily than the left. Her dog, it turns out, is a big dog, maybe a Rottweiler? No, a Mountain Dog, that’s right. BIg a$$ dog! Sometimes, she said, she takes him in the hold, but it’s getting hotter these days on the tarmac and this trip for her to Brussels is a short sprout. 

Much to Assistant to Master’s chagrin, Master starts to complain to the lady about the pet fee. Exorbitant, ain’t it?  “Oh, I’d pay that in a heartbeat,” the lady says. “If they’d only let me bring my dog, I’d buy him his own seat. First Class!” 

Toby, Elena and rose.
To Toby.
Toby dog
To Toby.
Man with Dog in st Paul De Vence
To Toby.

What about ESA – Emotional Support Animals?

A thing of the past? Most likely. They used to take Toby for free as an ESA (Emotional Support Animal). You see, Toby’s master was well qualified, as he was in a helicopter crash into the ocean and three other aviation incidents, so he gets a bit nervous – Toby, not him – for having a master with such bad luck. But don’t be fooled by all the FB ads trying to sign you up for bogus ESA. All those people who brought ostriches and snakes onboard as ESA ruined it for everyone. That left a big hole in the ESA scam businesses, so you can’t really blame them for trying. A scant few airlines still take ESA, but they’re probably not flying where you’d like.

Psychiatric Service Animal

There is another option. You could have your dog trained as a Psychiatric Service Dog. My daughter, Amanda, is a licensed therapist, so she was able to qualify her dog. It’s not easy, and people are lining up to take your money for that, but your dog really only has to obey a few commands. Here’s her guest blog post about taking her dog, Boo, wherever she travels.

Travel by Ship

If you have the time and spare change, there is another option, and one we may take if one day our pocketses get lined with gold… Cunard Transatlantic. It may cost a boatload of money – a grand for Toby and 5 for the luxury cabin. He’s worth it! As is the master and assistant to the master.

 So, Toby or not Toby; it’s not really a question for us. 

Toby on ship

You can further Toby’s travels and enjoy more stories, travel information, and photographs through purchasing a print, bag, mug, and much more through our galleries within Fine Art America. May we suggest using the filters to target your interests via “Collections” (top left menu). Enjoy!