Senior Rescue Dog Now Travels the World – An Interview
I am thrilled to welcome Scarlett of “Petite Suitcase” (a blog we love!) and her darling Chihuahua Alfie to the Montecristo Travels “special correspondent” interview series — the series in which we prove we are not the only ones travelling with our pet(s) and an attempt to bring together a community of people passionate about both their pets and travel. So welcome, WELCOME! I am extra excited because we are featuring another SENIOR DOG! So… without further ado let’s get this Interview going!
First off can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? Who is who; do you have a basecamp town or country or are you nomads? How did you two find each other?
I’m Scarlett and I live in Italy with my husband and my dog, Alfie. Alfie and I found each other 5 years ago thanks to the Humane Society in Reno. You know the booths at the mall with the cutest rescue dogs? I saw her little tongue sticking out and knew I had to have her. They were reluctant to tell me she was 10 years old, but I thought, “Perfect.” I was living in a small apartment and I wasn’t interested in a very active dog or training a puppy. I asked how much and I will never forget how she responded, “She’s $25… but if you have a grandma or something, we do free seniors for seniors.” My heart melted. Oh and the byline on her name tag, “Chunky, old dogs need love too.”
How many countries have you two been so far? Do you have a favourite (I know that is such a tough question!) and where was it the biggest challenge and why?
Since moving from to Europe from California, Alfie has traveled with us to France, Hungary, Germany and Italy. I don’t have a favorite, but staying in Italy is definitely the easiest because it’s convenient to take a train or drive. Matera and Positano were two of the most challenging places we have taken her because she is too old to do all those stairs! We usually carry her in a bag or a sling a fair amount on most trips, but those destinations really stand out to me because there were SO MANY stairs. My husband really got the short stick on those trips!
I have to ask — what do you believe is the best part about having a pet with you while you travel? I know that for us, having a pet brings a variety of enhanced experiences; the most unexpected and best one is that we aren’t treated like tourists. People think we live there and so the entire “vibe” changes. We don’t feel targeted by the tourism industry. What is your take?
I’m usually taking a bunch of photos so I stick out as a tourist with or without Alfie. I do think people can be friendlier and more interested in making conversation when you are traveling with a dog though. One of my favorite things about traveling with Alfie is that I never feel alone when I take her on my solo trips. I love having an aperitivo with her in a piazza and people watching.
Do you base your activities on pet friendliness? If you do leave your pet unattended how do you go about making sure your pet is safe?
Whether we are out exploring a new city or wandering a Christmas market, Alfie comes along for most of our activities unless it’s too hot or cold. There have been a few museums she wasn’t allowed in, so we will leave her in the room if we plan on visiting one. Alfie is an older lady and quite lazy, so she’s quite content staying in a hotel room. We have a doggie cam, so I can say with 100% certainty that she literally sleeps all day!
What is the big #1 tip you would like to share to make their lives easier when they set out for the first time with a small dog?
You know your dog the best. You can gage when they need to rest or when they are scared. Also maybe start with a shorter trip, closer to home. A transatlantic trip might be a little much to start off with.
… and invest in a sling bag! What have you learned about your dog on your journeys? Something you are convinced you would not know had you not taken this adventurous route. For us, it was tapping into fearlessness. The three of us (because I always knew this about myself) know that being 8” off the ground is not an impediment to full out adventure travel. We learned not to underestimate endurance. What about you?
Had I not taken her all these places, I would have no idea how she makes people smile! Of course she lights up my day, but I’ve the faces of grouchy old Italian men melt like gelato in August when she trots by with her Yoda ears flopping and tongue sticking out. And another thing, she HAS to have her head propped up when she’s in the carrier! Her tongue is always sticking out though, whether we are traveling or not.
How do you choose where to go next? Do you feel boxed in or limited by having your dogs as your travel partners?
I take a look at our bucket list and see where it is feasible to travel with Alfie. I am so excited to bring her to Strasbourg for Christmas this year. I only feel limited by airline companies. Alfie is not an emotional support dog, so we are limited by the airlines that will allow her to fly. Popular budget airlines like Easy Jet and Ryan air don’t accept dogs… and some airlines charge a hefty fee. I’ve actually paid more for Alfie’s two square feet on the floor than my actual seat on a flight a few times. I feel like these fees are only enforced to discourage passengers from brining pets, and that’s a shame.
I totally agree!! We feel that way about the fees too! In hotels as well as airlines. Do you have your favourite photo ever with your travel buddy while travelling? What’s the photo and why?
As you can imagine, I have several! : ) One of my favorites is our photo in front of the Eiffel Tower. I just loved the rags to riches subtext: senior rescue dog tours the City of Lights.
Oh that is a good one! I wish we had more time and I hope we meet up someday! THANK YOU so much for taking the time to chat with us today. I can’t wait to see where you are off to next and I assure we will continue to follow you! I love that you are showing the world that having a dog and travel are not mutual exclusive!