When the box is more fun than the contents – HaliPawz


Spend money on dog toys, dog chooses box instead

My dogs love cardboard.  Zipper, my Jack Russell, will rip open any box he can sink his teeth into in order to see if there is anything in the box for him.  I have ordered toys from the Horseloverz auction for them.  When the box arrived, I put it off to the side and got busy with other things.  I left the house, came home, only to find the box open and two of the dog toys destroyed already!

Bella, my Neapolitan Mastiff, doesn’t seem to care about the toys, instead, she has a love of cardboard boxes.  She will snag any piece of cardboard she can and walk around with it like it’s the best toy she has ever been given.

I love my fur babies.  It is never a dull moment with them around!

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Traveling with pets? My go to hotel is LaQuinta when available – HaliPawz

I love travelling with my two dogs.  They are part of my everyday life, so it only makes sense I enjoy them when I am on the road as well.  When I moved from Michigan to Missouri eleven years ago, I learned how to travel better with my one dog, Jake, because I was on the road so much for work.  Even traveling home for a visit, I had to plan accordingly because it wasn’t always easy to find a place to stop if I drove.  When I flew, Jake had to be in a travel carrier and travel as cargo.  I hated it.  I was always worried something would happen to him.  It caused me to choose car as a way of traveling instead.  A thirteen hour drive without stopping can make for a long trip, especially when I was traveling after working all day.

Then I discovered the LaQuinta hotel chain!  They quickly became my go to hotel chain of choice.

Let’s discuss the reasons why:

LaQuinta currently operates over 830 locations throughout the US, Mexico, and Canada.  I know they have grown quite a bit over the last few years, so they are becoming easier and easier to find in a location I am traveling to.  Of course, I have emailed them more than once to open one up in my home town of Port Huron, Michigan so I can stay there when I go home to visit family.  Maybe one day!  They may not always be in the prime spot in the city, so if you are hoping for an ocean view room, or a location right in the heart of the city you are traveling to, then you may want to consider a different hotel, but they are usually within a close proximity of where I want to be.

LaQuinta is affordable!  Yes, cost is a huge factor for me when I travel.  I try to find the best priced location when I travel and I have found LaQuinta to participate in many of the travel discounts available.  This is an important side note, LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS!!!!  You should NEVER pay full price for any hotel.  Don’t always assume the discount option you chose the last time is the cheapest option this time.  I will write another blog about traveling on a budget later.

The rooms are nice.  Now, I do want to put in a disclaimer.  If I am not familiar with the location, I will call them to find out if they are a corporate location or a franchise.  If they are a corporate location, I will book with them in a heartbeat.  If they are a franchise location, I will first look to see if there is another location within the same proximity.  If there isn’t, I will go and look for reviews, study the pictures, and I will have to consider if I still want to book at the location.  Not every franchise location is bad, but there has consistently been a difference in the quality of the rooms between the franchise locations and the corporate locations.  The corporate locations have been redesigned.  The rooms are nice, the colors are cheery, the staff always seem to be friendly.

Speaking of staff, the staff is another reason I like to choose the LaQuinta hotels when I travel with my dogs.  With the exception of one location in Georgie, I NEVER feel like traveling with my dogs is a pain to them.  I never feel like I have to hide the fact my dogs are with me.  The staff seem genuinely happy to see them.  They greet them.  They smile when they see them.

All of their locations, with three exceptions, are dog friendly in the US.  I have never travelled outside of the US with my pets, so I can not speak for their Mexico and Canada locations.  I was told the reason the three do not is because of where they are built, there is no grass for the dogs to be taken outside, so they cannot be welcoming of pets.

They have a great rewards program.  If you do any traveling, always look into the hotels rewards program, but I can attest to LaQuinta’s being great.  It is so easy to earn free nights or turning the points into gift cards, airline miles, charitable donations, magazines, or even luxury resort partnerships.  I use mine for free nights except one time I turned it in for a gift card.  Redeeming for a free night is extremely easy.  You can do it on their website or by making a phone call.  I have never had a problem redeeming points, even at midnight ten minutes before I arrived at the hotel because I was driving overnight and got tired.

Their rewards program is on a tiered system, where the more you stay, the quicker it is for you to earn points towards a free night.  I have been at the Platinum level every year except this year.  I am not traveling as much so I am not staying in any hotel as much as I used to.  Another nice thing about their rewards program is you usually receive a follow up survey about your stay.  While you do not earn any points for filling it out, I can speak from personal experience someone DOES indeed read them and follow up.  On the rare occasion I have had a bad experience, I receive follow up rather quickly and even received a partial refund on my stay because of the situation. I can probably count on one hand how many times I have had a bad experience, so when it does happen, it doesn’t deter me from the brand, just that location.

One of the best reasons for choosing LaQuinta when traveling with pets is because they do not have a breed restriction, a size restriction, or a number’s restriction.  They are just as happy to see my 100lb Neapolitan Mastiff Bella as they are to see my lovable, Jack Russell Terrier Zipper.  Of course, Zipper wins them over because he constantly tries to jump up on the counter (a bad habit he was taught at a LaQuinta we frequented often shortly after I adopted him).  There are a few locations that ask you to fill out a pet release where you include your cell phone number.  There are some that state the animal can not be left in the room unattended.  I find these are usually at the franchise locations.  I have never had a problem at a corporate location.

Most of the corporate locations have designated areas to walk your dog, including pick up bags.  The property is usually well maintained, so you don’t have to worry about stepping in messes left from lazy dog owners.  The dogs are not allowed in the breakfast area, for obvious reasons.  They do not want dogs in the area where food is served.  They are usually welcomed in the lobby area provided they are behaving and leashed.  Again, the only exception I have ever had is the location in Georgia where I was clearly informed they were not allowed in the lobby and I had to remove them.  It stunk because I was with a large group, my entire family was staying there, so I would have preferred to have my dog with me instead of locked up in the room, but I respected their wishes.

Speaking of breakfast areas, they have a decent continental breakfast.  There are always waffles, one of their signature items, but then, depending on the location, they may have biscuits and gravy or hard boiled eggs, in addition to the traditional continental breakfast items.

So, the next time you are getting ready to plan a trip and your fur babies are going with you, consider staying at a LaQuinta if one is available in you area of travel.  You can visit their site, which is easy to navigate, at LQ.com.  It is important to remember, as pet owners, you are responsible for your pet.  If they have an accident on the floor, CLEAN it up.  If they are chewers on doors, don’t leave them unattended.  Even if your dog is well behaved off leash, when you are staying at a hotel, USE A LEASH!  Not only is it probably a requirement where you are, but you also don’t know what other dogs are going to be traveling.  Just because a dog travels, doesn’t mean they are dog friendly.  My Jack Russell is not dog friendly.  More than once, I have had to tell a dog owner to recall their dog because it comes running up to mine off leash.  I am always quick to say he isn’t dog friendly from a distance but too many owners say, “Oh, my dog gets along with everyone.”  Those are the owners who ruin it for everyone else.

I want to note I wrote this blog completely to help other owners.  LaQuinta was not aware of this blog at all.  I do want to say a special thank you to one LaQuinta.  I never formally thanked the La Quinta Inn Little Rock at Rodney Parham Rd  1010 Breckenridge Dr., Little Rock, AR for their amazing support towards me and my late Rat Terrier Jake.  Jake was suffering with cancer and our last trip was to Little Rock.  We had been there many times, so the staff knew him and me very well.  I am sure the same staff is not there as this was back in 2008, but his last couple of days here, he lost control of his bowels.  He stopped eating.  He, sadly, had a horrible accident in the hotel room.  I knew the end was near.  I took him to a veterinary down there and they were able to get him rehydrated and we took the chance of getting him home to Kansas City, to his cancer specialist.  When I told the staff about the accident and offered to pay extra for cleaning, not only did they tell me to not worry about it, but they were genuinely concerned about him and me.  When I notified them of his passing, many of them I had encountered throughout my stays signed a card and mailed it to me.  I have never forgotten how wonderful they were.  I had ever made a collage for them to hang up, but circumstances happened and I wasn’t able to return for a couple years.  By then, they had a new manager and it didn’t seem fitting to give them the collage.  Even with new staff, that particular location will always hold a special place in my heart.

Zipper in Little Rock.

Zipper in Little Rock.

I hope this helps the readers the next time they are getting ready to travel with their pet(s).


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Dogs, Couch, Sleep…Bad Combination

I know all the reasons I should not fall asleep on the couch. Common sense tells me to just take my butt to bed but it isn’t that easy. You have to understand, sleepy brain has been shown to be as dangerous as drunk brain when it comes to driving, so I have to believe it impairs the thought process in general. I have never been drunk, so I have nothing to compare it to….so to make me feel better about my silly decisions in this post, I am sticking to this theory!

I feel I need to include a little backstory. Tuesday was spent working all day. Literally all day. My creative juices were flowing so I was on my laptop practically all day. I started a new project about 11:30pm Tuesday night and finally closed the laptop at 4:30am Wed morning. I went to sleep around 5am and was back up around 8am. 3 hours is enough for me to function but then I’m tired the next night. I felt it was important to explain HOW tired (it helps with my sleep brain theory)! I fell asleep, sitting in the chair, watching TV. I woke up to a Great Dane trying to get in the chair with me. You see, that’s a key point! I didn’t wake up on my own, I was FORCED to wake up. Startled even. Ok, startled may be a stretch. I guess Titan decided I had been away from him too long and wanted to be closer. Titan, a one year old Great Dane, is very needy affectionate.

Sitting in a chair with a Great Dane that cannot seem to get comfortable is not easy, even when I’m awake, but downright annoying when I’m tired. I stand up with the intent to go upstairs to go to bed. I shut off the lights (the REAL reason I’m always receiving “you use more electricity than your neighbors” letters. I’m about to head upstairs when my sleepy brain kicks in.

First, I would have to put the gates up because Titan and Bella are both counter surfers. You can understand….those SUPER HEAVY gates I use that are so cumbersome to put in place. There are so many of them. Sleepy brain kicks in and reminds me if I just crash on the couch I’m standing next to, I wouldn’t have to mess with the gates. They don’t counter surf when I’m downstairs with them. Sleepy brain…you have a valid point. Now, I’m not that easy. Sleepy brain doesn’t win that easy! I argued a little. The gates aren’t heavy at all, there are only two, and I walk right by one as I head upstairs.

The stairs. The dreaded stairs. Sleepy brain reminds me I have 30 stairs to climb to get upstairs and I have to dodge flying missiles on my way up. Reality, I have 13 stairs. The flying missiles are the three dogs fighting each other to be the first up the stairs. The first one in the bedroom gets the prime spot they want on the bed. At least, that’s what I think goes through their mind in the race upstairs. Sleepy brain tells me I am too tired to fight them and won’t have the strength in my voice to just tell them to wait as I walk up. Sleep brain is pretty convincing. Just as I am about to win the debate in my head, Sleep Brain reminds me I left a few things on my bed earlier in the day. That is the winning argument. I don’t have the energy to clean them off and with three dogs vying for a spot, not moving them is not an option. Sleepy brain does a little victory dance as I lay down on the couch.

My couch was comfortable pre Titan. It had thick cushions along the back that you can just sink into. After coming home multiple times to those cushions laying on my deck, thanks to an over active Great Dane puppy who has an affinity for taking thinks out my dog door, I removed all the cushions. Without the cushions, it’s just a hard back surface. Of course, it’s also a lot wider without the cushions.

As I’m laying down, trying to get comfortable, I’m also keeping two piranhas dogs at bay. They are both eager to jump up on the couch with me. I get settled with my blanket over me. Within 5 seconds I have Titan climbing over me to lay down by my feet and Zipper, my Jack Russell, jumping up to lay up by my chest. Zipper has dog aggressions from time to time and still hasn’t fully accepted Titan in the house. I’m always on alert when those two are near each other because Zipper can get aggressive when he’s laying with me. He’s fine if Titan is asleep first but if he’s up near me first, he doesn’t always let Titan up. Yes, the 18lb dog rules the house.

I keep the ottoman near the couch so Bella, my Neapolitan Mastiff, can also be close. She is such a good girl. She’s happy to just chill on the ottoman, away from all the dog drama. She isn’t very cuddly at night. I think her Mastiff side kicks in and she’s on guard duty. The irony is, when she DOES want to cuddle, she just pushes the other two out of the way and claims her spot.

You would think this is where my story ends, but it isn’t. It is really where it begins! You see, I’m sound asleep, oblivious to the devious mind at work, until I am forced awake by a cold, very wet, nose. Ugh! Titan had just gotten a drink and felt I needed to be awake with him. Lucky me. I close my eyes to go back to sleep. Titan begins pacing. I’m so tired I don’t think a lot about it. I tell him to lay down and start dozing. I feel a heavy head plop on my arm. I start to doze again. Titan wakes me up again.

What is his problem?

I slightly shift and realize his dilemma. He had climbed off the couch and the evil one (Zipper) had moved down to where Titan had vacated. Zipper NEVER lays at my feet unless it’s to torment Titan. Titan knows he is the underdog in this house. He doesn’t dare try to move Zipper. I chuckle to myself, remind him he shouldn’t have moved, adjust my pillow, move to my side, and proceed to try to go back to sleep.

After hearing Titan pace a little more (he REALLY wanted on the couch) I finally fall back to sleep. Knowing this standoff was happening, I couldn’t go to a deep sleep because I was worried Titan would push his luck and Zipper would try to attack him. I love Zipper dearly. His Jekyll and Hyde personality is something I have come to accept, even though it drives me crazy.

Next thing I know, Titan is climbing over me and stretches himself alongside me. I’m proud of him for figuring out a solution. The issue is, I am NOT a small woman. Titan is 130 pound dog. I honestly don’t know how this is comfortable for him. To add humor to all this, Zipper immediately leaves his post by my feet to crawl up and lay along my arm. Now that his tormenting Titan is over, he wants back up closer to me. The problem is, now his head and Titan’s head are right by each other. Titan moves A LOT. I could see it happening. Titan moves, wakes Zipper up, and Zip attacks him. So much for me going back to sleep. I notice they are actually touching. Zipper lives by his own set of rules. You can’t touch him, but he can touch you.

Luckily, they both seemed to have a mutual understanding and I finally fell back asleep for about 45 minutes. Even now, as I type this up, I am using the mobile app so they are comfortable. There has been numerous shifts on their part but they are happy because they get to be near me.

In the end, that’s what we are here for isn’t it? Their happiness? I am pretty sure they believe it is.

I really need to sleep in my bed tonight!



A little post note…as I was finishing typing this up, getting ready to get up and log on to the laptop to clean it up and correct any spelling, I thought it would be funny to share that Bella decided it was her turn to lay with me so she pushed the other two away. Once she was up, it was clear Titan wasn’t happy. He’s trying to hard to find out how he can get some love as well!

Have a great day everyone!