20 Sep 2013, 8:36am
Colorado Pet-Friendly Travel Telluride Travel:
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Traveling Like a Pampered Pet and Other Tales from the Road

Tino and DaVinci at Home at Country Lodge Montrose

Tino and DaVinci at Home at Country Lodge Montrose

DaVinci Warming Up My Bed

DaVinci Warming Up My Bed

Ahhhhh, travel. It often means the best of times and the worst of times—typically all within the same day. Living in Telluride, Colorado, a remote mountain town, poses added challenges, especially when it comes to airports and airlines. On the plus side, the Montrose/Telluride airport is small and easy to deal with—the kind of place where you can get away with showing up just minutes before boarding your flight. The hour-and-a-half drive there from Telluride also ranks as one of the most scenic in the country—perhaps the world—affording dramatic views of 14,000 foot peaks and sprawling ranches right out of a Ralph Lauren advertisement. (Actually you do drive by the Double RL Ranch, Ralph and Ricky Lauren’s spread, on your way to Telluride from Montrose.) Also, once you arrive in T-ride and discover the raw beauty of this unspoiled place, the fact that there’s not a stoplight within fifty miles or a big box store or other signs of “the masses,” you realize the effort required to get there is more than worth it. The advantages to finding paradise in a remote locale are innumerable, particularly in the winter when visitors and locals alike praise the mountain for its many fine qualities including the fact that you ski or ride right up to the lift at Telluride Ski Resort without even having to pause long enough to snag a Kleenex in line.

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Dogs on Vacation

DaVinci & Valentino Heading Out on One of Their Road Trips

DaVinci & Valentino

Mighty Valentino Testing Out the Red Rock in Moab, Utah

Mighty Valentino Testing Out the Red Rock in Moab, Utah

Warning:  This story includes tons of adorable photos of pups.

Woof, woof. Bark, bark. I’ve never seen so many happy dogs in my life as those that have padded, trotted and trounced through our little mountain town of Telluride, Colorado these past weeks. Little, big, short-haired, long-haired, well-groomed or scruffy, they all have an air de vacances, a certain joie de vivre that makes it clear they’re happy to be a part of their mom and dad’s vacation as well.

As a confirmed cat person, I hadn’t had much experience traveling with dogs up until over a year ago when I went on a road trip with my friend Mary Dawn (MD) and Valentino, her beautiful Bernese Mountain dog. Our travels, which I recount in my story, Travels with Valentino, culminated with the choosing of DaVinci, a new brother for Tino. As of last fall, we thought DaVinci was big enough to accompany us on a couple more trips:  one to Moab and Salt Lake City, Utah; the other to Denver, Beaver Creek and the Vail Valley. I tell you, these dogs get around. And wherever they go, they are greeted with a fanfare of enthusiasm that makes me happy to just be tagging along. Here are some of the highlights from the best pet-friendly properties we visited on our jaunts:

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Cat Vacations

Clara, Chubby and Bored

I’m feeling batty. Or maybe I should say catty, as in catlike—not spiteful. My cats and I have been cooped up all summer long working on my book, “A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France.” It has been a productive summer, but now we’re bored, tired of being inside all the time, weary of looking in the fridge or staring at our dish to see what kind of savory treat might perk us up in between time logged at the desk and on the couch.

Lately I’ve been dreaming about cat vacations. I’ve actually been fantasizing about taking a trip with my two babies, Leo and Clara. So I googled it. And boy was I disappointed with what I found. I read about a cattery—a cat boarding place—in England and then perused a piece on soothing cat vacation stress. I saw an article on cats and vacations from petMD and gazed at lots of pictures of people’s cats on vacation. Cat Island Vacations on TripAdvisor came up along with Kenya Vacations, experts in big cat safaris. My interest was piqued by Artistique Acres Pet Resort, but I was in the end disappointed to learn that their cat cottage presents just another option for boarding your cat.

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Travels with Valentino

Valentino Checking in to the Sonnenalp

Valentino Checking into the Ritz

Anyone that knows me or reads this blog, likely knows that I’m a cat person. I’m a writer and a single woman, so of course I have two cats, Leo and Clara. I love all animals actually. I’d like to adopt a dog someday, but that will come the day I move out of my one-bedroom apartment. Plus there’s so much to know about taking care of a dog—they’re a whole different animal from cats!

I became a doggie-mom in training of sorts this past spring when I did a road trip to Denver (a six to seven-hour drive from Telluride) with my friend Mary Dawn. In the eight years I’ve known MD, she’s always had two Bernese Mountain dogs, gorgeous animals that have since become my breed of choice. I wanted to see the Yves Saint Laurent show in Denver and MD was headed to check out some puppies at Wagontale Bernese, breeders just outside of Fort Collins. (Her noble Smokie Bear had passed away just a few months prior and she was ready to adopt a new baby.) So we thought it made sense to combine our interests and make a trip out of it. Valentino, her handsome Berner, was to escort us throughout our travels. (How appropriate that a dashing fella by the name of Valentino accompany us to the YSL doings.)

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