The Sage Connection

Travelling with pups, nostalgia and advice

Life and travel with Mr. Muggs, ‘a nuttzo terrier and I adored him,’ and tips and pointers for traveling with our canine companions


For twelve years I was the pet parent of the most fascinating, frustrating and adorable yorkie in the world. And I am the first to admit I was stupid over that dog. When I found this little nugget of gold, I was living in Texas without any family close by, so he became the most important being in my world.

His name was Mr. Muggs, and just like I used to do with my children, I used his full name when he was in trouble – which was most of the time. Otherwise, he was known as Muggs.

Mr. Muggs never once came when he was called. Apparently, sit and stay commands were for sisses. He failed (ignored) several trainings by professionals.

He took himself for walks every chance he got, which seemed to be every time the door was opened, and every neighbor I had, (God bless them) stocked up on cheese whiz to help me catch and bring him home from his walkabouts.

He enjoyed opening the car window while I was driving on the freeway (until I figured out how to lock them and found a safety belt for his car seat.)

I had to travel for my work and he went with me. Hotel rooms, business offices and board meetings were his second home, and he was adored by all everywhere we went.

He had a stroller (to prevent any chance of Parvo when we went out), and beds in every room in the house but slept in my bed. He would wake me up by shoving my shoulder with his paw when he wanted breakfast and generally outfoxed me at every turn.

He was, in the words of his vet, a nuttzo terrier and I adored him.

He passed shortly after I moved to Olympia and I mourn his loss to this day. I sometimes think the universe sent me Bella Rose, (the smartest dog in the world) to make up for the twelve years I had a dog smarter than me. At this point in my life, a dog that comes, sits and stays is a comfort.

So, it seems rather ironic that I recently came across some information on the Growing Bolder website that had some very informative tips about how to travel with your dog.

According to Growing Bolder, traveling with a dog can be the best experience ever — or a nightmare in the making. With millions of new pet owners since the pandemic began, including many older adults, going on a trip with your favorite canine companion might require a learning curve.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said about one in five households, or 23 million people, adopted a dog or cat during the pandemic. Whether the adoptions were from boredom or isolation or both, animal welfare advocates rejoiced with the news.

Today people are making plans to return to an office setting, or travel beyond their own communities, for long-overdue reunions with grandkids and friends. So, what does this mean for new dog owners who also have post-pandemic travel plans?

Flying with a dog:

I met a woman in Cabo San Jose that runs a rescue shelter and sends dogs all over the United Sates by air. She does this by convincing tourists to take the dogs with them when they return home to the proper destination of the adopted pet. The person adopting the dog pays for their travel.

Most of the dogs she rescues are small, so they fit under the seat of the passenger, but she advises that each airline has its own policies, so if you plan to fly with your pet, you should check for specific pet policies. Dogs weighing more than 20 pounds must fly as cargo.

Federal regulations prohibit shipping live animals as excess baggage or cargo if the animal will be exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees or above 85 degrees for more than four hours. That means the time of year, and time of day, can affect whether or not a larger dog can fly with you.

Driving with a Dog:

If traveling with a dog by car is your mode of transportation, a crate or dog seat belt can keep them safe while in a moving vehicle.

And I strongly suggest you lock your windows to avoid accidental openings.

Some dogs get motion sickness. Puppies are more likely to get sick in a car than an adult dog. The American Kennel Club says there are several ways to prevent anxiety and motion sickness in the car, including having your dog travel on an empty stomach and keeping the temperature cool. Medications are also available from your vet for longer trips.

Car seats for small dogs (or cats) allow them to see out the window, which they seem to enjoy, and local pet stores sell car seats and/or seatbelts that attach to their harness. Safe travel means everyone gets to enjoy the experience.

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below.