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Pet Travel Experts Respond to Frommer’s Christopher Elliott

GoPetFriendly.com WinnebagoIn a recent post for Frommer’s blog, Christopher Elliott says traveling with pets is “ridiculous.” I take issue with that.

Apparently, the story started with Mr. Elliott requesting advice when the plans he’d made for the care of his three Bengal cats fell through before he and his family left on a cross-country roadtrip. He received a far different response than he expected – some pretty scathing comments from, as he describes, “foaming-at-the-mouth pet fans.”

Mr. Elliott goes on to highlight three pet related episodes that took place on airplanes over the past 11 years and, from there, concludes that “no cats, dogs, or pigs belong on a plane, in a hotel, or a rental car … unless maybe you’re moving somewhere.”

Clearly, I disagree, but everyone has a right to their opinion. What I take issue with is his categorization of people who want to travel with their pets as misguided, anthropomorphizing, and morally righteous. He also sees the need to throw in the fact he’s a carnivore … I’m not sure what point he’s trying to make with that. Should we be concerned for the welfare of his pets, or is he insinuating people shouldn’t travel with their cattle?

Most disappointing though, is Frommer’s involvement. You’d expect their blog to include articles that support and inspire travelers. Instead they gave Mr. Elliott a platform to insult and degrade a substantial segment of the traveling public.

Sixty percent of pet owners said they traveled with their pet in 2010. Considering 115 million households have a pet, that’s a lot of misguided, anthropomorphizing, morally righteous people, wouldn’t you say?

Mr. Elliott, who seems to enjoy stirring the pot, drew the ire of some of the more radical and outspoken pet lovers out there. He then proceeded to toss us all in the same basket, perhaps hoping for more contentious responses … and the corresponding spike in traffic that would result. Well, I won’t be baited.

I have no problem with you not taking your cats on your road trip. In fact, I agree that your cats will probably be happier at home than with you, your wife, and three kids in a car for weeks on end.

As for me, I’d much rather travel with your cats across the country than your kids. That doesn’t make me misguided or anthropomorphizing. Nor does it make me morally righteous. Actually, it makes me extremely common.

We are a society of pet lovers and each year more people discover the joy of including their pets in their travels. Sadly for you, Mr. Elliott, we’ve become a market force, and businesses will continue to recognize and devise products and services to accommodate us. GoPetFriendly.com is here to support that movement, and we have some advice for you: Get used to it, because we’re here to stay.

 

Read more from other responsible pet owners who travel with their dogs at DogJaunt, The Road Unleashed, and Will My Dog Hate Me and their responses to Chris Elliott’s blog post.

If you think we’re pawsome, recommend us to your friends! One quick click of those buttons on the left is nearly as good as a big, sloppy kiss – helping us grow our audience and ensuring we can keep delivering the quality pet travel stories you love. Thanks for being wooftastic!

 

  • Melspetpals says:

    Amen!

    I also loved the comments about traveling with his cats vs. his kids. I’m so with ya!

    What bothers me about some people is that they tend to lump all pet lovers into teh same category. We’re either radical nut jobs who are anthropomorphizing our pets or we’re not. I had no idea we were lacking in such diversity. 

    Personally, I would love to take Daisy and Jasper with me on my trips because I enjoy their presence and find joy in their joy. But, I am also smart enough to realize that it would be too stressful to take them with me, most especially Daisy, who tends to stress easily in new situations. 

    I guess I can be a pet lover AND be able to reason things out without anthropomorphizing my pet. Who knew?

  • Hi Y’all,

    Let me at that Chris Elliott!  I’ll just knock him over and his cats and I’ll go on vacation while he recoups from havin’ the wind knocked out of himself. 

    Didn’t y’all see him trip?  BOL 

    Come on kitties, I don’t bite!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  • Kenzo says:

    Glad you don’t let him get away with his ridiculous statements!

  • […] Amy Burkert at Take Paws, the GoPetFriendly.com blog: Pet Travel Experts Respond to Christopher Elliot […]

  • Mr. Elliott is one miserable dude! The story about the 300 pound pig that was allowed to fly in first class is not a good example of good pet travel. There is no way that animal was a “therapy animal” and I’m sure that it’s owners paid off some doctor to write a note.

    While I respect everyone’s right to have safe & comfortable travel in an airplane, substitute the word “pets” with “small children”. With all the crying, tantrums and odd smells that I have been subjected to, I’d rather sit next to a dog than a baby.

  • You know I am a huge fan – and a passionate dog lover who travels with my herd – but may I politely dissent?

    The original post states that he had care plans arranged for his cats, those plans fell through, and he was asking for ideas about how he was going to make sure the cats were cared for.  The “last piece of the puzzle” was last only because the original plans fell through.

    The third comment to that first post was a suggestion that he was an irresponsible pet owner because he was leaving his pets in someone else’s care.  And it exploded from there.  Really?  That first post actually sounded like one written by a very responsible pet owner.

    I do agree that he went off the reservation listing three examples in 11 years of flights disrupted by animals in his second post.  But I have also seen people do really crazy things with their animals on flights (including one recent time where I saw a dog defecating in an airport hallway while the owner held the dog’s leash).

    He then does go way out of bounds by suggesting people should not travel with pets.  There I agree with you 100%.

    So, I think his first post was fine.  Then I think some of his commenters and his rebuttal went out of bounds.  Frankly, I think some of those commenters were “foaming at the mouth” and did not help all of us pet lovers out.

    Frankly, I would no more want to travel with someone’s ill behaved dog then I would want to travel with their ill-behaved children.  But I have no issue with traveling with someone well-behaved – whether human or animal (and, yes, I have seen some very well mannered children in my travels – there are still many great parents out there).

    The point I always agree with you is that we animal lovers have not only a right to travel with our animals, we also have a RESPONSIBILITY to others to make sure that our furry friends are well behaved during those travels.

    As always, my utmost respect and wholehearted support for what you do!

    • Of course you may dissent – we welcome alternate points of view here. And, actually, I agree with you – Mr. Elliott didn’t deserve the bashing he got on his first post. Although, in my experience, counting on relatives for pet care is inherently problematic.

      What he probably should have realized is that pets are a touchy subject. A quick perusal of any article discussing allowing pets at the outdoor seating section of restaurants would uncover that! He opened himself up when he asked for advice and when he got more than he wanted he lashed out at a whole bunch of people that didn’t deserve it.

      I think you and I agree that this last post on the Frommer’s site is unprofessional – certainly not journalism. And because he and Frommer’s are such big names in the travel industry, I felt it was necessary to respond.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      • I totally agree his second post was unprofessional and not journalism.  He should have stuck with his original post and moved on.

        Too bad he did not handle responding in the same professional manner you just did! 

        P.S. – The Herd is preparing for another RV adventure soon – though our adventures are still week long vacations.

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