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An adventurous terrier named Shorty presents a dog’s-eye view of Nevada.
Photo: Robin Cobbey (all)
My name is Shorty, and I’m a Wonder Dog. People wonder what kind of dog I am…get it? Mostly terrier, as it happens, with frowsy yellow hair. I weigh 40 pounds; I’m mature, responsible, quiet, and friendly; and I like to go for car rides. I don’t care if it’s just moving across the yard or a trip to Laughlin and back the long way around, I like them all.
I love being part of the action, living life to the fullest, and running with the pack…
But enough about me. This is about traveling with your dog, and here is the first rule: Remember, it’s a whole different experience for us dogs than it is for humans.
From a dog’s perspective, it doesn’t make any difference what the accommodations are like. As long as it’s warm enough and my humans are nearby, I’m happy. They bring in an old bathmat—my traveling bed—from the car and put down my water and the Otis Spunkmeyer Cookie Dough bowl of kibble, so I know this is home base. Other than that, all I really need is three walks a day and the chance to pee here, pee there, sniff here, and sniff there.
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, Caesars Palace went out of its way to cater to me—and the little complimentary containers of designer dog food are simply delicious—but most of the benefits are to my humans. They get a very nice room, all the amenities in the world within reach, the rest of the Strip right outside, and they have me here with them, too!
For them, the walk across the great marble-floored lobby is full of sensory interest and excitement; for me it’s a surface nearly as slippery as ice, and I can’t get any traction with my claws. The place is kept so glistening clean that the smells are trivial or nonexistent—so while my humans are flirting with enjoyment overload, I’m disoriented and having trouble avoiding panic.
One nice thing about being a dog, though, is you don’t get all grouchy; you just forget about it and move on to the next thing. But this time my “next thing” turned out to be a sudden medical emergency—an inflammation under my tongue that hurt so much it made me yelp.
I rode in a taxicab to Tropicana Animal Hospital, where Dr. Renee Lewis treated my ailing mouth, and I started feeling better right away. Vicki Fitzgerald was the valet supervisor at Caesars, and, after we checked out, she came over while my humans were loading the car. I like to get in first and then let them pile their stuff all around me. Vicki petted me and gave me some love. I love you too, Vicki.
It’s just a short, ears-flapping-in-the-wind ride from Las Vegas to Boulder City. My people like El Rancho Boulder Motel, but I felt like we should broaden our horizons for this assignment, so we went across the street to the Boulder Inn and Suites. Nice, too. Actually, I only have two categories: nice and okay. My people have more, but I get along with just the two, and even two might be splitting wiry terrier hairs. I really like the Falcon Ridge Hotel in Mesquite, also in Southern Nevada: well-kept lawns and a fountain to drink from and splash around in (see photo at left).
Ely is a nice place. Its air is not so dense with urban aromas as Las Vegas, and it’s full of pet-friendly lodgings, including two of my favorites. The Hotel Nevada, downtown, is the first hotel I ever stayed in. It’s where I took my first elevator ride. What a baffling experience that was! You get in a tiny metal room, and when the door opens…you’re somewhere else! Wild. Of course, I wasn’t much more than a puppy then, and I’m quite nonchalant about elevators now…although I still haven’t figured out how they work.
At the northern edge of East Ely, the Prospector Hotel & Casino (pictured below) has recently transformed an entire wing of rooms into a dedicated pet sanctuary. All of the rooms have been renovated, and they are all getting tile floors. My hair doesn’t stick to tile, I noticed, and any remnant scent of the room’s previous tenants has been expunged. I’m not sure I like this. The big fat pillow-beds are okay to sleep on—practically a necessity with a tile floor—and the “doggy zone” behind the hotel is the size of a football field.
Elko is a lively city, and we stayed right downtown in a room above the Gallery Bar, which now operates as a boutique inn with a handful of freshly renovated rooms and a shared bathroom down the hall. I think this must be what Europe is like, but the smells are pure Elko: delicious. Three excellent dinner houses waft their kitchen fragrances through air that’s been soaked in sagebrush and lightly seasoned with fresh cut alfalfa and a hint of local livestock. Sweet.
The Winnemucca Inn is another favorite of mine. I like the walk to The Griddle, and I don’t mind waiting outside the kitchen while my humans are inside eating breakfast. With smells like these, I’m never bored. Old favorites, mostly—bacon, eggs, ham, and sausage—the classics but wreathed with pancakes, hollandaise sauce, maple syrup, and a pinch of lightly scorched potatoes. When we’re back in the room again, what do I get? Kibble.
For the grand finale of my Nevada tour, we went to Lake Tahoe and stayed at Harveys. It’s beautiful there! That night I looked down from our window on the pine forests gathered close around the big hotel. Far across the lake, shimmering silver in the moonlight, more dark forests climb toward the snow-covered summit.
It’s so spectacularly beautiful that I’m embarrassed to say I could be just as happy anywhere. The key is that my humans are happy, and now that the lodgings’ operators see me as an old friend instead of a problem, my people can almost always find a place that suits them. And that suits me, too—as long as I get to go along.
WORTH A CLICK
Read about Shorty’s journey from the perspective of his owner, David Toll (pictured below with Shorty at Ely’s Hotel Nevada).
Shorty’s 5 Tips When Traveling With Your Dog in Nevada
1. The key to traveling with dogs is choosing the place you want to stay—not because there are so few options, but because there are so many. There are lots of variables—surcharges, for example. Caesars Palace charges $50/night for your dog, while the Hotel Nevada charges nothing. Most others fall somewhere in between.
2. Bring some of your dog’s favorite belongings: bed, blanket, toys, bowl—any familiar item is reassuring in strange surroundings.
3. As soon as you check in, find out how you can get your dog to a vet if you need one in a hurry.
4. Remember that other guests might not be thrilled to have dogs as neighbors. Ask them how you can minimize their unease.
5. Find the approved pooping zone, and clean up after your pet. At home in Gold Hill I’m the last of the free-range dogs, but when I travel I like to be tidy.
Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Harrah’s Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, Bally’s Las Vegas, Rio Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, and Imperial Palace roll out the red carpet for traveling dogs, with PetStay. Guests are greeted by several canine-friendly in-room amenities including a mat, food and water dishes, disposable waste bags, and dog treats.
Each PetStay resort hosts a designated pet area within the hotel, equipped with welcome packets that direct guests to outdoor relief areas and dog-walking routes. Additional Information about dog-friendly items for purchase and nearby dog services (such as grooming, walking, and veterinary care) is available upon check-in. caesars.com/petstaylasvegas, 800-427-7247
We appreciated the doggy bowls and treats at check-in. The pet relief area was very well maintained, and there was an ample supply of waste bags at the park. The fourth floor was surprisingly quiet for so many dogs on the premises. I would advise friends and family that the Rio is a great place to travel with their dog(s).—Anne Yuhas
I was very impressed with PetStay! This was the first time that we were able to bring our small dog. We will definitely come more frequently because of this feature.—Kathleen Koerner
I recently booked two rooms for this upcoming weekend. I was so excited to find out that you have rooms that accept dogs. We always travel with our dog, and we were finding it harder and harder to find a nice place to stay that accepted dogs. We are very excited to stay at Paris.—Cynthia Jacob