The Best Interview With City Dog Expert!

I am thrilled to welcome City Dog Expert to the Montecristo Travels “special correspondent” series. The series where we prove we are not the only ones traveling the globe with our pet(s). The first step in building a community of people passionate about both their pet and travel.  So welcome WELCOME!

First off can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? Who is who; do you have a basecamp town or country? How did you all find each other?

My name is Kimberly and I am an actress, dog behaviourist and dog lifestyle expert. I started City Dog Expert in 2013 as a resource for dog owners in Urban Environments. I am currently owned by 3 rescue dogs Houdini, Folly and Jester.

The Best Interview With City Dog Expert

Kimberly with Houdini!

Houdini is a rescue from Animal Care and Control in NYC (Harlem) and was picked up 7 minutes before he was PTS. He was riddled with behavioural problems and both human and dog aggression. It took me about 6 months of hard work with him to turn him into the wonderful dog he is today and he is the perfect travel companion.

Folly is another Animal Care and Control rescue (this time from Brooklyn). She is a Brooklyn girl through and through and was handed into the shelter as a puppy with 2 broken front legs. Thankfully she healed fast and was a welcome addition to my family. Folly is super loving but at times a little Brooklyn attitude appears when she doesn’t get her own way!

The Best Interview With City Dog Expert

Houdini, Folly and Jester!

Jester is the baby of the group. He was originally rescued from a puppy mill ring in Liverpool by a lovely family.The poor little thing was severely sick with parvo and it was hit or miss as to if he would survive.Sadly, once he was on the mend and out of the vets, there was a cancer diagnosis in the family and they couldn’t look after Jester anymore. I then adopted him after a 12 hour round trip to Liverpool and back in 1 day!!

We often have foster dogs added into the mix also. The maximum we have had is 7 additions. Thankfully all the dogs get along very well.

How many countries have you all been to so far? Do you have a favourite (I know that is such a tough question!) and where was it the biggest challenge and why?

We have spent most of our time travelling within America. We have done nearly all the states on the East Coast (and lived in NYC for 6 years and Florida for 6 months), Canada, Scotland, England and France. We are currently living in London but who knows where will be next.

Our favourite place to live is either London or France as they are both so dog friendly. The dogs come into restaurants and cafes with me and are welcome in shops, markets and on public transportation. I have never been turned down entry (yet).

The biggest challenge when travelling with dogs is knowing the law for each country ahead of time. Most of the time, the vets are very good at making sure you have the correct paperwork and vaccines but you must always double check yourself. When flying from NYC to Paris, we had to have everything stamped at the airport the day before travel. There was a mistake with the signature being in the wrong place so we had to get a cab back to Manhattan, go back to the vets and go back to JFK again. It was a very expensive day in cab fares!!

Thankfully within the EU the Pet Passport scheme is much easier and is a lot less hassle.

The Best Interview With City Dog Expert

I have yet to talk to the dogs about the Brexit situation ….

I have to ask — what do you believe is the best part about having your pets with you while you travel? I know that for us, having it brings a variety of perks; 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?

You have absolutely hit the nail on the head, having a dog with you prevents people taking advantage of you as a tourist which is very nice. It is also a great way to instantly make friends in a new country. As I do so much travelling alone, having the dogs with me (or at least one) acts as a real ice breaker. A dog lover is a dog lover, no matter where you are from. We will have an instant connection in our love of animals.

The Best Interview With City Dog Expert

The trio in France!

Also as a single female traveller, having the dogs with me adds a sense of security as I feel less likely to be a victim of crime with my dogs. It also helps me feel instantly settled and confident as there is the assurance of familiarity and home. If I am not confident in a new environment, my dogs get anxious so it is in their best interest for me to relax (especially if it is somewhere unfamiliar)

We know a lot about flying in-cabin with a small dog. Can you walk us through what it means to have multiple dogs? Are people’s concerns warranted? Do you have a favourite airline? Does anyone in your crew fly cargo? What is the big #1 tip 

you would like to share.

I try and avoid flying if at all possible. Within the USA, I used to fly often with the dogs and never had any issues with 2 or 3 dogs. However, the last time I travelled transatlantic, the airline forgot to put Folly on the flight. I was absolutely traumatised by the experience. American Airlines were very apolegatic about the experience and paid for all my expenses until Folly arrived but it wasn’t an easy event to forget. I still have dreams about the French cabin crew meeting me as I left the plane telling me that my dog was missing!! *Quelle horreur*

Within the states, Delta was my preferred airline as I always found the staff and crew very accommodating.

The Best Interview With City Dog Expert

Folly and Jester on the train … on the seat!! Trains in the UK are super pet friendly!

What have you learned about your pets on the road? Something you are convinced you would not know had you not taken this adventurous route.  For us, it’s the fearlessness that seems to come out when on the road and the fact that we are far less likely to coddle “the small dog”. We learned not to underestimate endurance. What about you?

Sometimes our fears hold us back. This is especially true with travelling with pets. My worst fears were my dog barking or howling, pooping or peeing in an inappropriate place, jumping up at someone etc. Thankfully every time I have travelled with my pets, they have made me want to cry with pride. What I thought would be a dreadful experience, turned into moments of such pleasure. One example is Harley Quinn my old beagle who was an absolute terror on a daily basis (mostly due to health issues) strutting through Orlando Airport walking perfectly to heel, sitting every time I stopped and settling immediately in a duration lie down whenever I sat down or on the flight- behaviours she would often refuse to do on a daily basis.

The Best Interview With City Dog Expert

These three? NO problem! Seen here in London.

We often travel within the UK and the dogs are just perfect on the train with passengers often commenting on how well behaved they are.

Travelling with dogs forces you to step outside your comfort zone and try new things and go to new places without embarrassment or the shame of trying. Often I have been scared to do new things outwith my comfort (or fitness) level and going on trips with the dogs have taken me sailing, diving, mountain climbing, etc If I get tired, bored or embarrassed it’s ok as my dogs will never judge me turning around and going back home. They don’t care if it’s only half a mountain they climb as long as we climb it together.

How do you choose where to go next? Do you feel boxed in or limited by having your dogs as your travel companions? 

Great question. The only thing that holds us back on our adventures is my own limitations. Most hotels can become dog friendly if an extra deposit is paid and within the UK transport connections are so fantastic that I can be within Paris 2 hours or Scotland within 4!!

Some countries sadly have very strict quarantine laws (Australia) so that wouldn’t be a possibility for us in the near future. However, within Europe the possibilities are endless. I work on the philosophy that if I can get there, my dogs can get there. Speaking of which, we are off to the seaside.

I will not keep you! THANK YOU so much for taking the time to chat with us today. I can’t wait to see where you are all off to next and I assure you we will continue to follow you on your blog, FB page and on Instagram! I love that you are showing the world that having multiple dogs and international travel are not mutually exclusive!

Thanks so much for a fun interview!


72 Comments on “The Best Interview With City Dog Expert!

  1. What an inspiration and had great that you travel alone with your dogs. I would love to travel more and take Miss Edie with me but I am always worried about doing it alone. And I did not know dogs had passports! Great interview

    • City Dog Experts are a great resource and yes, Kimberly travels solo with her three dogs so it CAN be done!
      We – on the other hand – are indeed a couple so it’s possibly a slightly easier thing – but I am not sure that it true either.

    • You only get Passports in the EU.
      Sadly when travelling from America, we just had boring paperwork that needed stamped.
      The passports make it so much easier

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences! Since Magical-Dawg is a 90+ pound German Shepherd, airline travel is not something we’ve attempted. He does love car trips, though (thinks it’s HIS car!).

    • Riley my old retriever was 100lbs so it is possible. He flew over from the UK to Scotland. He was checked luggage but was treated like a celebrity at the airport. The staff at JFK didn’t want to give him back 😉

  3. Can’t say enough good things about this post! Really great interview, informative answers, GREAT photos (and I love the captions!), and such a unique perspective on pet travel. Really really enjoyed it!

    • Aw… THANK YOU! we do try and keep interesting people coming in to these interviews. To show that we are not alone, that there are different ways and that it is fun! Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Loved this interview. I am not familiar with traveling much with my pets, I have only done that locally and this was great information. Dogs are most definitely ice breakers. I never think twice about asking a stranger about their dog and if it’s OK to pet them!

  5. This interview really proves that nothing is impossible! Travelling with three rescue dogs, wow that’s amazing! I love the concept of them being her travel companions, it’s so inspiring! I had a lot of fun reading this interview – you always find the coolest people to interview!! 🙂

  6. We’ve only ever traveled domestically with Gremlin but these stories have inspired me to dig a little deeper with our travel plans! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Great interview. I was wondering how she travels internationally with three dogs… as it’s usually one dog per passenger in the cabin right? Do the other two go in cargo?

    • It depends on the airline.
      Some allow 2 small dogs in the same carry case (mine are small enough that I can fit 2 in one carrier without being over the 20-25lb limit).
      One of my dogs was a service dog at the time which made it a lot easier but he has since retired.
      Otherwise, checked luggage is an option. It sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. It isn’t the same as cargo thankfully

    • yeah … cats are a slightly different story I think. Although my great aunt travels all over Europe with her two siamese … on leash!

  8. I really enjoyed this interview. What a nightmare that American Airlines forgot to put her dog on the plane! I think it must be a real treat to travel with your dogs.

    • Yeah, it wasn’t a fun experience.
      I have since learned to always make sure that the pets are loaded before take off. If you have put in a request before the plane takes off, it cannot leave without the pilot having made that check.
      Folly was “checked luggage” when she was left behind (which isn’t the same as cargo).
      I think I was more frazzled than she was as the mistake was noticed instantly on AA’s end and Folly spent another night in NYC at the JFK pet centre. They even let me talk to her on the phone to make sure she was ok before she was on the next flight to Paris (crazy pet mum!)

  9. Wonderful interview! I love reading about dogs going International because it’s something I haven’t done with my dogs yet. We’ve travel extensively within the U.S. from East coast to West coast but never Internationally. I have one small dog who would be easy to travel with outside the US because she fits in the cabin. My Husky however, would not be feasible. I won’t put my dog in cargo, I’m not comfortable with that. I just love the photo of the dogs on the balcony in France, they are Tres Chic! I think my first International trip would be close, perhaps to Bermuda or the Caribbean. Then I can work up to Europe!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Some airlines allow big dogs in cabin now. They are all starting to gradually change their policies.
      The more of us that travel with our pets, the more force there is to support a change.
      Folly was “checked luggage” so not cargo. It meant she was allowed to wait in the waiting area with me and then had her own escort onto the flight (or not as the case was).
      She did however have an extra day in NYC without us so I am sure she was happy 😉

  10. What an interesting interview. The fact her dog was never put on the airplane was crazy! I would be beside myself. I love to travel and explore new destinations, however, I am an extremely nervous flyer. The thought of one more thing to worry about on a plane ride (my dogs) prevents me from ever wanting to travel that way with them.

    • It was nerve wracking the first few times but most Airlines are huge pet lovers and they just loved the dogs.
      What happened to Folly was a total fluke and I have never heard of it happening to anyone else before or since.
      I have learned since to always insist the pilot checks for my dogs first. She flew “checked luggage” so it wasn’t cargo

  11. Fear can really stop someone from trying new things. We have had that same fear many times. . the what ifs, the questions, and so on. Sometimes taking the leap is the best idea!

  12. I am always impressed by how dog-friendly UK and France are. Annoying that Ontario does not allow dogs in restaurants and most shops. I have not travelled with Kilo too much as he gets very stressed but must be nice. Gorgeous dogs and pics.

    • Europe in general actually. I actually find Italy (especially Tuscany) to be WAY more pet friendly than the UK or France! Greece too! 🙂

    • Ontario and NYC were tough cities as they aren’t very dog friendly.
      However, the more of us that travel with dogs and ask for dog friendly services, the faster things will change

      • … and I think we need to keep bugging, nagging and annoying the shit out of those in charge to make it happen. But also be good examples for what that change may look like.

    • They really do need to make flying with big dogs a better situation. Although head over to The Tropical Dog. Shark and owner Maria travel internationally … big dog style! From France, Morocco … Columbia … 🙂

  13. How wonderful that you rescued these cuties!! I too travel a lot with my pets. We’re currently based in England, and will be spending a few months a year in Spain. My dogs and cats traveled a lot between the U.S., Canada and England so knowing the rules is the most important thing. Just because we share our lives with pets, shouldn’t mean we can never see the world!

  14. Love this! If you feel constrained by worry about travelling with pets this is a great post. The key is making sure your pup (or cat!) is happy travelling which some born show-off pups and cats will have no trouble with!!

    Europe’s pet passport is this so useful, and we brought our cats to New Zealand with little trouble (although they went in the hold and I wanted them with me in the cabin!!!).

    • I wouldn’t say that my pets were born show off pups. I had to teach them to be ok going in a carrier and travelling. They were all rescues, so I didn’t get the chance to train them as puppies.
      It helps practising at least a few weeks in advance- rewarding them for staying in their carriers for extended periods of time, etc. Putting them in the carrier when you go shopping, on buses and subways so they get used to different sights and sounds.
      If your pet is nervous, a carrier is a safer option than having them by your feet in cabin.
      I take treats with me to give to them on the journey and also use dog lick sticks for take off so their ears don’t pop.

  15. I really agree that people tend to go a little soft on you and or they don’t bother you if you’re touring with dogs or pets. Great interview too!

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