Fling Poop and Skydive with @GoPetFriendly and @ThisOneWildLife!

Fling Poop and Skydive with @GoPetFriendly and @ThisOneWildLife!

Rod Burkert of GoPetFriendly Skydives

It’s been a year since the GoPetFriendly RV was parked in our driveway and, boy, do Tim and I miss it. Taking a break from traveling the country reviewing the best pet-friendly places to visit, Amy and Rod Burkert and their dogs Buster and Ty spent a full month with us, although not by choice. Here’s how that happened.

We Blew Up the RV

GoPetFriendly RV

To make our week-long guests more comfortable, Tim had an outlet installed to run the RVs air conditioner. Our attempt at being good hosts went bust. Once connected, flames shot from the fusebox. The microwave went Ffffft. Well, the whole RV went Fffft, really.

And so we made the best of a month of repairs, but not before Amy, navigator extraordinaire, got us lost for 2 hours in my own home town. And we killed my car battery. And we jammed my hood shut on said battery – with two freshly altered rescue dogs in the back seat on a 90 degree day. After all that, we were still nowhere near even. But we were still laughing. Should I mention that all this happened on the same day?

Can I Get a Fffft for Friendship?

Our husbands, who had never met before, fast tracked a friendship that Amy and I already enjoyed. They talked RVs and lifestyle while Amy and I resized our wedding bands. As a foursome, we celebrated our wedding anniversary, Tim’s birthday, and Rod’s birthday, all within 2 weeks. Amy and Rod dog and house sat during my grandmother’s memorial service and crashed our nephew’s graduation party. Everything we did was fun. Even flinging dog poop was a game, which was the only way to survive our clan of four big dogs in a single dog yard. But the best was the 4th of July…

Can I get a Fffft for Fire-free Fireworks?

Happy Birthday CupcakesStumped on Rod’s birthday present, Amy suggested an iPad, and other fun thoughts. Rod, a pretty content guy, had no pressing wants. But he did have a bucket list, and on that bucket list was skydiving.

On the Fourth of July, Rod was about to fall from the sky like a firework. He just didn’t know it. But his good friend Tim wouldn’t let him go it alone. Why make Amy the only widow when we could do that in pairs too?

With the RV in for repairs, the Burkerts moved a few things into our man cave for their extended stay. Solid footwear was not one of those things. So we told Rod we were going on a hike in Saratoga and that he ought to wear something more stable than sandals. At the shoe store, we stifled our snickering as we watched Rob prepare himself for what could be his last birthday wish – given our luck with vehicles and fire.

Can I get a Fffft for a 200+ MPH Freefall?

As we pulled into the the small airstrip and passed the skydiving sign, Rod thought we were on our way to a trail head. Amy dropped the bomb. Rod said “Nooooo” with wholehearted conviction, as if it would change the plan. Threatening rains prolonged dreadful anticipation, but then the skies cleared and the plane took off…

Tim Clune and Rod Burkert

Amy and I weren’t the ones in need of new shorts, but Saratoga Skydiving Adventures provided us with complementary thongs all the same – which we promptly modeled for our brave fellas. We may not be crazy enough to jump from a perfectly good airplane, but we rock all the same.

Saratoga Skydiving

It’s just a vote. It can help a dog. Vote Saratoga!

It’s just a vote. It can help a dog. Vote Saratoga!

VOTE SARATOGA! Help Dog House Adoptions!

Asking for votes to help my dog rescue feels like staring down your hot, steamy bowl of delicious free time while salivating on your slippered feet. Like any good dog, I’m doing it anyway. I’ll either get shooed off or you’ll give in.

Please, I beg of you. Give in. This contest is EASY, FAST, ADDICTING, and FUN!

VOTE SARATOGA SPRINGS BEST CITY FOR PET TRAVELERS!

Vote!

The first three rounds have been nail biters, cities screeching by with a single vote in the final hour. Saratoga made the Sweet Sixteen dance. If Saratoga wins the Final 4, I’ll give all the prizes to Dog House Adoptions. That means we all win by helping homeless dogs in Upstate, NY!

WHAT MAKES SARATOGA SPRINGS DOG FRIENDLY?

Saratoga isn’t just pet-friendly hotels and scenic parks. With it’s 40+ dog-friendly downtown businesses featuring a sticker to signify that entry with your dog is cool, no questions asked, it’s a model city for every destination pet travelers want to go.  I wrote all about it here.

Defeating Sonoma, Vancouver, and Sante Fe for being the dog-friendliest, now Saratoga faces it’s greatest challenge, Annapolis, MD. Their voters are fiercely committed. We need the same. So, get your March Madness on and GET IN THE GAME!

VOTE SARATOGA SPRINGS BEST CITY FOR PET TRAVELERS!

Vote!

WHO IS DOG HOUSE ADOPTIONS?

Dog House Adoptions

With just 5 core volunteers and terrific help from upstanding and committed dog lovers, Dog House Adoptions has spayed, neutered, vaccinated and rehomed 33 Rensselaer County orphaned dogs since our founding a year ago.

Our dogs come from the streets. When not claimed from their 5 day hold, the towns expect them to be put down. But we step in…

We care for the wounds of dogs, body and soul, and celebrate the healing of these discarded and vulnerable pups.  We earn the precious gift of their trust and watch them blossom when nurtured with love. Then we seek the perfect companions for each one, sending them on to a joyful life with a family of their own – orphans no more.

The work is constant and our love never wanes – from the minute these dogs arrive until, well, infinity. Just because they leave us doesn’t end our caring.

HOW DOES MY VOTE HELP DOGS AGAIN?

Dog House Adoptions

To continue our work requires more funding. If Saratoga wins, the following prizes will further our fundraising. Wouldn’t these entice you to bid at our birthday party?

  • A three-night stay in the super pet-friendly Kimpton hotel of your choosing
  • a plethora of pet travel gear from Kurgo valued at over $300
  • dog food, supplements, and treats from The Honest Kitchen
  • a Critter Zone air purifier, a convenient travel bag set, complete with folding bowls, from Petmate
  • a snazzy matching collar and leash set from 2 Hounds Design
  • and a Sherpa soft-sided pet carrier.

It’s just a vote. It can help a dog. You can feel good about it. Please… I beg you.

Dog House Adoptions

VOTE SARATOGA SPRINGS BEST CITY FOR PET TRAVELERS!

Vote!

Best City for Pet Travelers? VOTE Saratoga Springs!

Best City for Pet Travelers? VOTE Saratoga Springs!

Saratoga Springs  Best City for Pet Travelers

What’s the best city for pet travelers in 2013? Top voted cities will win the annual Best City for Pet Travelers Tournament hosted by GoPetFriendly.com!

Saratoga Springs, NY beat Sonoma, CA in round one;Vancouver, BC in round two; and Sante Fe, NM in round three. While dog parks and pet-friendly hotels are nice, Saratoga has much, much more!

What Makes Saratoga Springs
“Best City for Pet Travelers?”

Saratoga Springs has made a concerted effort since 2009 to increase the dog-friendliness of it’s downtown business district, thanks to Melanie Dallas of Sloppy Kisses, a treat boutique for dogs, and Adrianna Flax of Saratoga Arts. Dog-Friendly Downtown is their brainchild.

DOG-FRIENDLY DOWNTOWN
THE WAY IT WORKS:

Dog-Friendly-DowntownThe blue sticker pictured here, when displayed on participating storefronts, acts as an invitation to walk in with your dog, year round and no questions asked.

Strut right in with your best friend to retail establishments, hotels, restaurants with outdoor dining options and even art galleries. That’s right. Dogs and their humans can see some of the region’s highest-quality contemporary art at The [dog-friendly] Arts Center gallery space!

Visit Saratoga Springs’ Dog-Friendly Downtown website for an interactive map listing all participating businesses and their possible size or food related limitations. According to Dallas, “You can shop, you can eat, you can go to the gallery, go get your nails done, and you can do all that with your dog.”

Sloppy Kisses

For more about Saratoga’s Dog-Friendly Downtown initiative, history, and growth, watch Dallas’ interview on Saratoga.com.

VOTE SARATOGA SPRINGS BEST CITY FOR PET TRAVELERS!

Vote!

DOG-FRIENDLY – ALL YEAR LONG

Howl-o-ween ParadeFor the Howl-o-ween hound
Join Sloppy Kisses for their Annual Canine Costume Parade/Contest!

Have a booze hound?
Yappy Hours are a frequent event. In 2012, they took place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. every other Thursday, May through September. Prior hosts have been The Mill at Round Lake, Gideon Putnam Resort, Saratoga State Park, The Mouzon House, and The Inn at Saratoga.

For the Patriotic Pups
The Patriotic Pooch Parade marched down Broadway as part of Saratoga’s All American Celebration on July 4th.

Is your hound a history buff?
Samantha Bosshart, Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation executive director, led a 2012 tour of the fine homes on North Broadway. Prominent residents included Lucy Skidmore Scribner, George B. Cluett, William B. Gage, Henry Hathorn, and Senator Brackett. Dog treats and water were provided along the route, and the walk was followed by “Yappy Hour” at The Ice House on Putnam Street.

VOTE SARATOGA SPRINGS BEST CITY FOR PET TRAVELERS!

Vote!

WHAT DOG-FRIENDLY LOOKS LIKE:

I took Shamus, my Newf, to shop the shops on Dog-Friendly Downtown Day one year. Afterward, we hit up a rockin’ Yappy Hour at The Putnam Den where Mayor Johnson, his wife and their recently adopted dog Chase mingled with other dog lovers. After a day of meeting & greeting, dogs and owners were well acquainted. We were all “Snacks? Drinks? This party is ON!” Then it was off for a patio dinner with Amy and Rod from GoPetFriendly.com. This is where we met for the first time and where our idea for co-founding Be the Change for Animals was born!

VOTE SARATOGA SPRINGS BEST CITY FOR PET TRAVELERS!

Vote!

THE PARTICIPATING PACK

The best part is that the program is growing. Dog-Friendly Downtown welcomed 4 new businesses for 2013 so far: Dog Friendly Downtown ProgramLucia BoutiqueYellow BoutiquePaperDolls of Saratoga and Saratoga Saddlery & International Boutique. More than 40 participating establishments have joined the pack, escalating totals from last year’s 30+.

Note the providers featuring lovely Upstate New York wines, Sonoma. We’ve proven you’re not the only gig in wine country. And Vancouver, we have you in our sites next.

VOTE SARATOGA SPRINGS BEST CITY FOR PET TRAVELERS!

Vote!

 

Saratoga Springs may be notorious for race horses, but Mayor Johnson wouldn’t mind if it were notorious for dogs too – and that’s no sour grapes. C’mon Saratoga fans! Show your support for Dog-Friendly Downtown!

 

WHO WINS WHAT?

Because I nominated Saratoga, and if I win the Final 4 with your help, I’ll give the following to Dog House Adoptions in Poestenkill, NY for their (our) first birthday fundraiser in May… So, we all win by helping homeless dogs!

The tournament champion will receive: a three-night stay in the super pet friendly Kimpton hotel of their choosing, a pleathora of pet travel gear from Kurgo valued at over $300, dog food, supplements, and treats from The Honest Kitchen, a Critter Zone air purifier, a convenient travel bag set, complete with folding bowls, from Petmate, a snazzy matching collar and leash set from 2 Hounds Design, and a Sherpa soft-sided pet carrier.

Dog House Adoptions Banner