This past winter was full of fun, but also a bit stressful for my little shih tzu, Nappy. In February, we decided to get away from the freezing cold of the Midwest and traveled by car to Florida. The day came when we were all packed including Nappy’s toys, food, and his favorite blanket.
The road trip was uneventful. He positioned himself at the back seat of the car, amidst his favorite squeaky toy of a Coney Island hot dog, his favorite chicken jerky treat, and his little blanket. He curled up and ready for the road trip. The only time he moved was when the car slowed down and looked out the window to see what was going on. Of course, we had to make a few stops to eat, use the bathroom, and he was there, right along with us. We stopped to get some Kentucky fried chicken, and sure enough he had to have some. (I made sure I cleaned all the spices and removed the skin. I only gave him plain chicken breast). You can imagine what I had to pack to make sure that I had everything for my little shih tzu (water, paper towels, plastic bowls, and of course some clean wipes).
The two day trip went quite well. The first night we stopped at LaQuinta at the outskirts of Atlanta. It’s the only hotel that will accept pets without charging an arm and a leg. We stayed at LaQuinta in one of our previous trips to Florida when Nappy was a year and a half. Since Shih tzu’s have a good memory of where they have been, he remembered the hotel. Sure enough he remembered the entrance to the hotel, and since most hotels look the same – especially chain hotels – he knew exactly where he was going.
We settled in for the night, we had a good night’s sleep and the next day we headed on our way. We arrived in Naples, Florida (our final destination) the eve of the second day. The house we rented was quite spacious and the owners had no problem with us bringing a little dog.
The next day, we needed to explore Naples. We took Nappy with us, and drove around the city. It wasn’t too hot so it was all right to leave Nappy in the car and run in the store. The temperatures ranged from sixty to seventy five degrees and that was pushing it. It was not a hot February for the snow birds in Florida. We tried to find a few beaches where we could take Nappy and exercise him a bit. There are not that many places in Naples that are dog friendly. They don’t allow dogs anywhere in their parks or their beaches. The only beach that we found was a small beach half hour north of Naples, called Bonita Beach. And when I say small, it was small. There were other dogs, big and small, running around, in and out of the water. The sand was not that great. It was more of a brown color beach than the light sand color that I am used to, as in Gulf shores. I guess it was all right for dogs. I didn’t like Nappy getting all dirty, and he didn’t like it either. We tried to stay for a while, but Nappy was not a happy camper. He ran away from any other dogs that tried to get close to him. (I’m telling you, he thinks he is human). After a while we decided to leave and got him home to clean him up.
Nappy enjoyed staying at the house more than any other dog that I know. He was content, being around his toys and his food. He didn’t mind much if we left him there. As long as he got a treat, he stayed by the door waiting for us to come back.
The house we were renting had a big in-ground pool, and Nappy was happy to just run around it. We had a few running laps chasing each other. He enjoyed that more than the doggy beach.
The month went by and we had to leave Florida. The two day return trip seemed longer this time since we were all anxious to get home. I’m sure Nappy felt the same way. Not that he was able to articulate his thoughts, but I was able to see his excitement when we got home. As soon as we pulled in our garage and let him out of the car and inside the house, he ran around so happy to see his toy box still there, and his food bowls placed in the same spot as before we left. I’ve never seen a dog run in circles, being so happy to come home.
That was not the only trip that Nappy took this year. There is a longer trip that he took when he came with us to Europe the end of March. Stay tuned for Part 2 of Traveling with my Shih Tzu.