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Rest stops don't (usually) have poop bags

On a trip to Maine one weekend, besides racking up many hours of driving, we gained some important insights about traveling with our dogs:

1. The term “dog walk” at thruway rest stops means a strip of ground too disgusting for anyone’s feet or paws. Watch for glass, garbage and other debris, and bring your own poop bags.

2. “Low balance” at two consecutive EZ Pass tolls will mean “No cigar” at the third toll.

3. Try to arrange for a hotel room on the first floor. Frequent potty breaks from the 3rd floor with an elderly terrier gets old pretty quickly.

4. Bringing your dogs’ beds is a waste of valuable cargo space, since one dog will invariably sleep under your bed and the other will sleep on it.

5. To prevent barking opportunities, rearrange the furniture in the hotel room in such a way that will minimize canine access to the windows.

6. Scout out restaurants with outdoor seating, or resign yourself to spending significant time eating takeout in your car or hotel room.

7. The number of days spent in a hotel room is proportional to the odds of an accident on hotel carpeting, which leads to #8.

8. Bring bottled water or dogs’ delicate digestive systems will rebel, which leads to #9.

9. Keep well supplied with pre-moistened wipes. And check to be sure they haven’t dried out, which they tend to do when you need them the most.

10. Do not feel guilty about eating Fritos, ice cream cones, and M&Ms in front of your dogs while traveling. Okay, they can have one French fry each. And a little vanilla frozen yogurt. Hey, it’s their vacation, too.

11. To eliminate the possibility of misunderstandings, pre-arrange a meeting place when one person keeps the dogs occupied while the other person shops.

12. Resist purchasing organic dog biscuits. My dogs insisted that I add this to the list.

13. Keep a close eye on dogs as the ocean looks suspiciously like a really large Adirondack lake, but regrettably, does not taste like it.

14. Enjoy seeing the sights through your dogs’ eyes, ears, and paws!

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