Take The Trauma Out Of Traveling With Pets



Traveling back and forth from Colorado to Arizona two times a year for 10 years has made inveterate travelers of our pets. My husband takes three cats in his truck and I take two dogs and a cat in my car. From our experiences and that of others we offer some helpful tips.

Cats are easy travel companions. Our cats think of the car as a safe haven and never try to get out while in transit. If you have a skittish cat, you may want to keep it in a carrier or in a harness. A pillowcase is an inexpensive, space-saving way to carry a cat to and from the car. They may meow for a while, but then they pretty much shut down and endure.

They like to find a cozy, secure space and stay put. We prepare for their comfort by covering the seats with old blankets or sheets, which keep the fur off the upholstery. They will soon show you where they prefer to snooze, and then you will know where to place a favorite pillow or kitty bed.

We set a litter box on the floor in case of emergency, but they usually won't eat or drink till we reach a motel, and rarely use the box in the car. If we need to get out of the car, we shush them back away from the door, if they look like they want to get out. Ours have never wanted to risk the uncertainty of that unfamiliar outside world. We always take our cats inside the motel room to be with us at night. We bring their litter box, food and water in for them. They are glad to get out of the car, even though it's a strange place. We make sure we leave the room very clean so as not to give the motel management reason not to accept pets!

Dogs travel much like cats, with the exception that they need to get out, just as their people do, for potty stops, treats and a drink of fresh water. We have never used kennels for transporting our dogs because they take up too much room and our guys are well-behaved car passengers.

We look for gas stations and rest stops that have pet-friendly, grassy areas or vacant lots. In order not to make our dogs unwelcome, we carry a good supply of plastic bags for scooping poop and we place whatever comes out in a proper receptacle.

Dogs need to have collars, ID tags and leashes when they travel. Ours have their own travel bag filled with food, toys, brushes, meds, etc. Though they are used to being off leash in safe, familiar areas, on the road we always keep them leashed when they are out of the car. Taking a dog for a short walk in the fresh air breaks the monotony of a road trip and refreshes the driver for a safer journey.

We find that when traveling with pets, it is best to plan ahead and research lodging options. Travel guides from AAA are excellent references for finding pet-friendly establishments. You can call ahead and reserve a room, asking for one that has an exterior, ground-floor entrance near the back of the building closest to an area for walking the dog. Have a great trip with your best friends!

We have some very nice cats and dogs available for adoption from the animal shelter, located at 812 S. McLane Road. Here are just a few:


Hershey is a loveable, 2-year-old spayed female Shepherd/Chocolate Lab mix. Her rich, brown coat and sweet demeanor inspired us to call her Hershey. She has a lovely form and is not very big. She was picked up as a stray on Edelweiss Street in Payson. Miss Hershey is a wonderful dog to take for walks on leash because she is gentle and obedient. Being out in nature makes her happy and relaxed. She is hoping to find that very special family that will take the best care of her and include her in their daily activities. Hershey is a sweet kiss just waiting to come home to you.


Carmen is a petite, 6-month-old spayed female short-haired orange and white princess kitty.

She was found as a stray and had been living on her own in the forest, so her coat is thick and warm. We have been brushing her lots and she enjoys it.

Carmen is an especially sweet and pretty kitten who will be most appreciative of the comforts of a safe home with a caring family.


Emmylou is a splendid, one-year-old Catahoula/Ridgeback mix. She was found near Diamond Point, east of Payson together with Abby, a similar dog who, we presume, is her mother. Emmylou and Abby are very closely bonded and we hope to find them a home together. Emmy will do well in a supportive home where she can receive consistent training, love and socialization. Her breed is strong, independent and fiercely loyal and requires a commitment of time and energy from prospective adopters to training and active exercise, at least a minimum of one hour a day and preferably more. This will make her a content and balanced dog that will be a pleasure to have around.


Dallas is a super-friendly, one-year-old neutered male Shepherd/Shar Pei mix. His plush, sunset orange coat is medium length and low maintenance.

Dallas has a happy spirit that manifests itself in great facial expressions and tail wags. He is a very well-behaved boy on leash walks and makes you proud to be seen with him.

This smart pup is more than willing to learn to please his family and become a faithful companion.


Calliope is a whimsical, one-year-old spayed female long-haired golden brown tabby cat.

Her coat is just gorgeous because volunteers have been brushing her regularly and she loves the attention.

She is a rather small-sized cat and she tucks onto your lap so sweetly. You will love her gentle disposition and elegant charm!

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