Woof Woof Stays at the Westin in Portland, ME

Woof Woof had his first visit to a Westin when he was 7 weeks old. He was on his trip home to New York from Texas, doing his first travel article his dog parent, me, for Costco Connection. Now, Woof Woof’s two and this is photo on the same bed. You can click here to see the original pic, i.e. his puppy photo.

Woof Woof loves Westin hotels in general, but the Westin in Portland, ME had some special dog friendly touches. We were given Maine chocolates for humans to go with Woof Woof’s treats that happened to say Woof Woof.

Every inch of the hotel smelled like dog. Woof Woof’s nose barely left the floor. He’s very entertained by the smell of other dogs. The hotel is so dog friendly, there was barely a moment we didn’t see a dog pass by. Large canines were just as common as small ones. A St. Bernard was a guest at the same time Woof Woof was.

In the room, he loved the human bed and his special Westin dog bed. Oddly the room was too many floors up. Woof Woof prefers floor 6 or below so he can see and hear people on the ground. The only change we would make next time is asking for a lower level room. While I like the skyline view, Woof Woof doesn’t. Both he and I would happily stay at the Westin again.

How to Get an International Health Certificate for Your Dog

In our Woof Woof Travels episode on Finland, we were’t kidding when we said it took several visits to the vet before Woof Woof qualified to travel to Finland – or nearly any European country.

But you can drop your number of visits to with these tips:

1. Speed up International Health Certificate Approval by microchipping your pet now.

For European countries, any vaccines that were done before microchipping don’t count. Woof Woof had to wait 21 days after micro chipping to leave the country. If you’re not traveling for awhile ask your vet to microchip your dog on your next visit. Then any vaccines given during your vet visit.

2. Learn the rules now.

Every country may have a different rule on what shots and tests you may need and when they need to be performed. For instance, Woof Woof needed a dewormer within 10 days of his trip for Finland, but he didn’t need this test for Denmark. If he had not had this test, he wouldn’t have gotten to meet Santa in the Arctic Circle. Should any dog be denied that priviledge? Look up the rules for rules for pet travel for the country you are travel to on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website, you can find the link and other helpful resources for pet travel on our resources page.

2. Fill out the international health certificate form slowly.

The problem with a form that has to be filled out so close to the travel date is that a mistake on the form can cost you valuable time, possibly the whole trip. So you don’t have to postpone your travels, fill out the form carefully and double check that you’ve filled out everything that was asked of you. Preferably, fill out the form before you leave the office, so you can have your veterinarian or an assistant help you insure it’s filled out. You will have to mail the form into a state department that may be in another city.

3. Send the form FedEx (or other overnight service recommended and don’t forget the return envelop.

The international health certificate generally has to be filled out pretty close to the travel date. If you decide to wait to send the form regular mail, you’re taking chances. Always both send it overnight and provide the prepaid envelop to send it back via the same method. Remember to always have a solid place for the certificate to arrive back to you. I was in canada when Woof Woof’s form was returned. I selected for the certificate to be sent to a FedEx pick up location for when I returned home.

Revisit your veterinarian if needed, and always check guidelines as soon as soon possible. The good news about the complications is that it’s because countries in the European Union are rabies free. Your dog will be safe, and they’ll be more traceable to get back to you if lost when microchipped.

Pet Friendly Hotel Review: Holiday Inn Express Tucson Airport

Whether it’s the first day or the last day of your vacation, sometimes you just need a hotel that’s close to the airport and offers everything you need for a restful stay from a shuttle to the airport to a great breakfast and a gym to workout afterwards. And of course, the warm welcome your dog or cat needs and deserves. That’s exactly where we’d place the Holiday Inn Tucson Airport.

It’s not a place to spend a whole vacation, but it’s a great place if you’re working at nearby offices or passing through Tucson for a day or two. For humans, there’s a pool and hot tub. The pet fee is reasonable at $25 per pet and works for the whole stay. All pets are accepted, so you can bring your dog, cat, ferret, parakeet, etc.

Woof Woof loved the free breakfast offered to all guests, and it was pretty healthy for him. He ate an egg white omelet and half a bagel. The room was comfy, but it was the staff that made his stay. He couldn’t walk the lobby without a staff member stopping to pet him

Pet Friendly Hotel Review: Sheraton Harborside Portsmouth

Portsmouth, NH is pure beauty with all the New England charm and colonial homes you’d expect. It’s situated directly on the water. Woof Woof loved smelling the sea air and walking across the bridge that within a mile or two led to Maine. It’s just an hour drive away from Boston and the same from Portland, Maine.

The Sheraton Harbourside hotel was just as charming as Portsmouth itself. Woof Woof had an array of room choices available to him from standard rooms to suites that are dog friendly. He was given a homemade dog treat made by the pastry chef, Lea. She offers them to all the canines staying in the hotel.

When Woof Woof entered the suite he stayed in, he barely sniffed it. He didn’t look at the view. He just gave an approving this-is-home-for-a-few-days look. He alternated his room time between the bed and a comfy couch while I watched TV.

With the exception of when we ordered room service, the lobby was much more interesting to him. The restaurant area is in enveloped by two curved staircases with pillars separating seating from the lobby. He loved climbing up and down the staircase. Marcia, who works in both the hotel and room service, brought Woof Woof extra slices of bacon.

When he retired to bed, he was grateful for the dog bowls the hotel provides for a few sips of water. Definitely a warm place for any canine visitor.

Woof Woof Meets Santa Claus in Finland



Canine Nutrition: Is Bok Choy Your Dog’s Next Chew Toy?

Don’t be shocked if your dog has a surprising taste for broccoli, cauliflower, or kale. Woof Woof devours bok choy the same way he does steak.

With his penchant for veggies, I wondered how much human food is good for him, and what nutrient value it adds to his diet. So, I asked Dr. Jennifer Larsen, associate professor of clinical nutrition at the University of California Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital, for her best advice on dogs and fruits and veggies. Read more

Woof Woof’s Guide to Art Gallery Etiquette

With Tips from Jessica Dawson and Rocky, canine curator of the first ever US art show for dogs

When Woof Woof went to an art exhibit, he was more interested in greeting every gallery visitor than in the art work, but now I know why – none of the art work was at his eye level. I never would have thought about that until I interviewed Jessica Dawson, curator for Dogumenta. She’s an art critic, who’s been taking her dog Rocky to art galleries for years.

How do you know if your dog is interested in the art work?

Rocky may yawn with disinterest, turn away, or look intently. He’s a bit prudish and turns away from work that’s of a more risqué nature. She points to pieces to get his opinion. And with Dogumenta, he really is not only helping to pick the pieces but working with the artists as they create their work. If he turns away, they know he’s displeased. While the canine color palate is yellow, blue and gray, they can still appreciate texture and other aspects of art. Read more

How Woof Woof Met his Intern, Bollywood Lead Actress Reeth Mazmuder

You know the old song lyric “I was working as a waitress at a cocktail bar when I met you” Woof Woof’s lyric to Reeth would be “I was sitting on my dog mom’s lap in a coffee shop when I met you” But instead of the line with “Don’t you want me,” it would be “Of course, you want me, I’m an adorable, smart dog, why would you leave me?”

Here’s the full version of the lyrics to the Human League song adapted by the Canine Human League:

I was sitting on my dog mom’s lap, when I met you
you picked me up
wouldn’t let that man you were with hold me, too.
didn’t want someone new

Now 4 months later on, you’re my favorite intern
Success is easy with canine smarts
Don’t forget your holding me where I am now
And you can give me treats, too.

Of course. Of course, you want me.
I’m a smart dog, why would you leave me?
Of course. Of course, you want me.
I’m adorable, why would you leave me?

It’ll be too late when you’ve finally changed your mind
Your work visa will be expired and we will both be sorry
Don’t you want this doggie?
Don’t you want me, oh?
Don’t you want this doggie?
Don’t you want me, oh?

You were sitting on your dog mom’s lap, when I met you
That much is true
The four months we’ve had have been such good times
You hardly ever bark. (or You’re always behaved)
The twinkle in your eyes, our walks in the park
I still love you
But even then I knew I’d go home to India
I guess it’s just what I must do

Of course. Of course, you want me.
I’m a smart dog, why would you leave me?
Of course. Of course, you want me.
I’m adorable, why would you leave me?
It’ll be too late when you finally changed your mind
Your work visa will be expired and we will both be sorry
Don’t you want this doggie?
Don’t you want me, oh?
Don’t you want this doggie?
Don’t you want me, oh?