I was upset that Eko ate $5 worth of our budget. He said to relax, it was only $2.50.
Looking for trouble.
After a great week in Philadelphia, Eko and I hit the road yesterday – not without Eko giving puppy dog eyes to every hotel employee in one last attempt at a treat binge. This week our home base is going to be Burlington, VT so if you know of any pet-friendly places in the area, definitely share them with us. But first I will have to figure out how to pry Eko away from the window. We have a great view of lake Champlain and Eko has been watching the world go by all morning.
Check back later this afternoon for my report on the National Dog Show from this weekend. I’m putting together the video now. I promise there will be no singing in this one.
The nice thing about montages is that they don’t take up a lot of time, so the day before the dog show Eko and I had the afternoon free to explore some other parts of the city. Eko worked up an appetite doing his best Rocky impersonation, so finding some food was his number one priority (not like that’s a different priority than he always has). On our walk over to the Art Museum I spotted a store called Just Dogs! that advertised its offerings as “The World’s Tastiest Gourmet Dog Treats.” I wasn’t sure if there was some dog that works for the New York Times who hands out that award each year, but I did know that I had one dog food critic who would be eager to put that claim to the test. (Note: Although I have tasted Eko’s dog food out of curiosity, I am referring to Eko as the aforementioned critic.)
There are many reasons I am glad the dog leash was invented. To name a few, a leash prevents Mr. Eko from chasing squirrels, deer or humans. One more reason I was glad to have a leash was when we walked into Just Dogs! Unlike squirrels, deer or humans, the gourmet dog treats would have had no chance to escape a loose ridgeback.
“Just let me off the leash, I promise I won’t touch a thing…”
I have never seen a bull in a china shop, but I imagine it would be a much calmer scene than a Mr. Eko in Just Dogs! Owner Marianne Charbonneau embraced Eko’s enthusiasm and was happy to tell us about all of the home baked treats. It was great to meet someone who was so passionate about pets and passionate about her craft. Don’t take my word for it, I practically had to drag Eko out of the store. If you are in Philly with your pup, Just Dogs! is definitely worth a visit. Just be sure to have a firm grip on your leash. Eko had his fill, but I needed some dinner so we stopped at an ATM before heading over to the Northern Liberties section of the city.
Don’t spend it all in one place
The Northern Liberties section of Philly is an awesome place for dogs – I could barely walk a block before someone would stop me and want to talk about Eko. I have quickly learned that when you travel with a dog the entire world is your friend. There are plenty of restaurants in Philly with outdoor seating, but it wasn’t until Eko and I hit Northern Liberties that I felt like we hand found a truly pet-friendly spot. The waitress at The Abbaye had barely handed me my menu before she returned with a bowl of water and a snack for Eko. If you are looking for some great pet-friendly dining in Philadelphia, you can’t go wrong in Northern Liberties.
Northern Liberties – Where the waiters pay more attention to your dog. And you like it.
You can’t visit Philadelphia without checking in with our founding fathers, but as it turns out the patriots of Independence Hall are not available after dark. In any event, dogs aren’t allowed inside to sniff out the Liberty Bell, so we didn’t miss much. In protest to all dogs who are not allowed in the museum, Eko decided to start an Occupy Sidewalk movement.
Give me liberty or give me treats!
I eventually convinced Eko to hit the road so we made our way over to JFK Plaza aka Love Park. When you’re in the city of brotherly love, Love Park is a mandatory photo op.
The guy in front of us proposed to his girlfriend. I proposed Eko and I get a cheese steak.
Eko and I had a great time on Friday but we called it an early night, so we would be well rested for the National Dog Show today. Check back on Monday for our report.
This Saturday is The National Dog Show, the country’s most watched dog show. The NDS airs nationally on Thanksgiving, but Eko and I are going to get to see all the top dogs up close in person/canine. There is absolutely no way we are going to show up looking like a couple of slouches, so Eko and I did the only reasonable thing we could do to prepare ourselves against such tough competition:
After such an awesome training montage/song I really don’t think there is any way Eko and I won’t be ready for the show. I am also really hoping there is no way Sylvester Stallone will sue/punch me. And lastly, I need singing lessons. Apologies to all your ears.
When you look like I do, you get quite used to hearing the sound of people (especially women) telling you to take a hike. Normally, taking a hike means a long slow walk back to the other side of the bar, but not today! Today we celebrate Take A Hike Day as a time to get out on the trails. Petcentric and 60 Hikes Within 60 miles have partnered to list some of the best pet-friendly hikes across America. You can check out the list here to find a trail near you.
The Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia didn’t make the list, but Eko and I have visited the park multiple times and can tell you that if you’re in the area you should definitely stop by. In fact, Eko was introduced to the whole animal kingdom at Wissahickon:
Even if you didn’t make it out to the trails today, you should check out the list to find some great pet-friendly hikes near you.
When Eko and I decided to take this trip, he promised me that he wouldn’t let all the attention turn him into a dog diva. That promise lasted exactly until we reached our hotel in Philadelphia. After a rainy drive, Eko and I pulled up to the Hotel Palomar in downtown Philly and began to unload. I think the doorman must have been David Blaine because before I had even opened the trunk, he magically appeared and asked if he could give Eko a treat. I happily agreed and thus began the tradition of Eko going up to every hotel employee/guest and sitting down in the hope of getting more treats. Eko’s strategy has worked quite well and he is already a hotel celebrity.
Dogs of any size can stay at the Palomar, and the hotel is stocked with dog beds, bowls, bags and anything else your pup needs when traveling. The Palomar charges no “pet fee” and the front desk is happy to arrange any dog sitting or grooming that you may need while in town. They will arrange grooming for your dog, I mean – but I’m sure they would arrange grooming for you too if you asked. I should probably also mention that humans can stay at the Palomar as well, it’s just that we are kind of an afterthought if we are traveling with a dog. Most people here only know me as that guy who Eko brings around. It would be tough to find a better place in downtown Philly as home base for a dog adventure. A little rain never hurt nobody, so after we dropped our bags off and Eko signed a few autographs we headed out to enjoy the weather.
Eko and I ran along the Schuylkill River as one of our readers suggested. We hear there is a concession stand near the boathouses that leaves out a bowl of water for passing dogs. Eko and I didn’t find any vendor or any bowls, but we had no trouble finding water. Since there was no way we could get any more wet, I figured there would be no harm checking out the Schuykill River Park Dog Run. Like usual, I was wrong. The park is in the midst of a massive renovation so the temporary dog park was turned into a mud pit by the heavy rains. Eko and the only other dog in the park didn’t seem to mind in the least.
Now that I look at it again, Eko may have been playing with a small fox
In case his little fox friend missed any spots, Eko decided to take a good roll in the mud right before we left the park. As we jogged back to the hotel I realized that combining an 80 pound mud ball with a hotel room with white comforters would be an even more disastrous mix than drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth. Luckily I was able to bring Eko to the service entrance and borrow a bunch of gym towels.
Round 1 of 4.
As it turned out, Eko and I got cleaned up just in time for a wine tasting that the hotel was hosting. Now I’m sure this will shock you coming from a guy who still watches Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I don’t know a lot about wine. Thankfully, Mr. Eko was happy to lend a paw.
“Will, this 2005 white has a refreshing citrus flavor and a superb aftertaste.”
Eko and I will be all over the city the next few days, so if you have any suggestions for where we should stop be sure to leave them in the comments or message us on Twitter @WillandEko. Cheers!
Rain may stop NASA from launching space shuttles, but no precipitation can stop this ship. Eko and I double checked our packing lists and hit the road. Here is a short video of us heading out in our red SUV – which we have named Clifford after Eko’s favorite dog.
Drop us a line here or @WillandEko on Twitter if you live in the Philly area and know of any pet-friendly spots Eko and I shouldn’t miss out on.
“A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
– John Steinbeck
Unlike my college finals, traveling with your dog is not something you should try and wing without any preparation. While I could (and did) make up answers on my finals, there is no way to make up the proper vaccinations or supplies for your pup when you’re away from home. Accordingly, Eko and I had to make a few pit stops before our road trip could begin.
Our first stop was to our local vet where Eko got a full checkup and a clean bill of health. I also went to the doctor but was told that since there is no known cure for being crazy that I was free to hit the road as well. After the vet we headed to the pet store to grab some food for Eko.
Before we made it even close to the dog food aisle, Eko became enamored with some of the local residents at the pet store. Eko was convinced that if he just stared hard enough at the birds the glass would disappear and he could get a closer look. Luckily for both the birds and me, the glass stayed firmly in place and we wound our way over to the dog food section.
Eko pulled some Mission Impossible stunts in aisle looking for his food and eventually we found what we were looking for. The great thing about dry food is that it is very convenient to travel with; an easy way to make a pet friendly hotel unfriendly is by making a big mess, so dry food was a great choice for us. We left the store (avoiding the birds) and made a move over to the dog park to say goodbye to some friends. After a good run, it was time to do some serious packing.
There is plenty you can’t control when you’re traveling (weather, traffic, Mister Eko’s firm belief that he should eat twelve meals a day) so it’s important to prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Eko and I hit the road this afternoon for Philadelphia, our first stop on our mission to find the best pet-friendly places in the country. Check out the sendoff video we post this afternoon and be sure to drop us a line on Twitter @WillandEko if you are in the Philly area and know of any great spots to check out.
“I’ve been in the hotel business over thirty years. Never yet have I called the police to eject a disorderly dog during the small hours of the night. Never yet has a dog set the bedclothes afire from smoking a cigarette. I’ve never found a hotel towel or blanket in a dog’s suitcase, nor whiskey rings on the bureau top from a dog’s bottle. Sure the dog’s welcome.
P.S. If he’ll vouch for you, come along too.”
-Unknown Hotel Manager
I find it peculiar that dogs are not welcome at many establishments that are happy to accommodate college kids. I have lived with both dogs and college students, and without a doubt you are more likely to have a civilized meal and a clean room living with dogs. Dogs have been integrated into society through thousands of years of domestication – college kids are just wild animals. Nevertheless, it’s tough to find pet-friendly places to visit, especially when you’re away from home.
That’s where we come in. My name is Will, and my partner in crime is Mr. Eko, my Rhodesian Ridgeback. You can read more about us on our bios page, but the important thing to know is that Petcentric.com is sponsoring our journey to find the best pet-friendly places in America. We’re not looking for places that merely tolerate or accept pets; our mission is to find pet-friendly experiences so unique and fun that your friends will ask to borrow your dog so that they can check these places out too. Now, I’m not saying that Eko and I are going to jump out of a plane together, but if a Navy SEAL happens to be reading this and wants to teach us, who am I to say no?
Some people say that traveling with pets is an unnecessary hassle, but Eko and I are going to prove that traveling with your pet is an experience not to be missed. You can follow our journey here on the Petcentric.com blog, on Petcentric’s Facebook page and on Twitter @WillandEko. We’ll post daily updates, photos and videos about the places we visit, the people we meet and the (mis)adventures we are sure to have. The first stop on our trip is Philadelphia, so if you live in the area we would love to hear about some of your favorite places to take your pet and, if possible, meet you there. The same goes for all of the other cities listed on our itinerary. We’re not familiar with most of these cities so we’ll be using the Petcentric Places app to help us find the best pet-friendly places in the area.
Before we hit the road next week, Eko and I have a lot of packing to do. Well, I have a lot of packing to do; Eko will mostly be lounging. I’m not sure what you pack for an interspecies road trip that will last months – I just know that it all has to fit in one car. If you take trips with your pet, let me know some things that you like to keep handy when you travel. And make sure to check in here, on Facebook and on Twitter to get all the latest updates from the road.
Some people say this world is going to the dogs – Eko and I say, “Let’s hope so.”