We spent the weekend in Taos with this fine fellow, who at three and a half months of age looks to be a small polar bear. He was very popular. Gandalf particularly loved it the last day we were there after we realized the shops were all dog friendly and he didn’t need his vest. If he doesn’t have his vest on he gets a lot more cuddling. That is what Gandalf does best.
To register your pup as an emotion support dog simply go to a site like ESAregistration.org and sign them up, pay for the vest, and you can then bring your trusted friend around with you. There are no requirements, no questions; simply upload a photo of your dog and who the handler is. No one has ever questioned us and by law they can’t keep us from entering an establishment. Gandalf may not be a seeing eye dog but he has his own work, spreading happiness to all he meets!
Taos was in all its holiday glory with the lights and bonfires in place. The shops were dressed festive and the luminarias were lined across the rooftops and along the paths. There is just something about New Mexico for me. I cross the state line (now only two hours away) and I am in my own place of inspiration and peace. As if the vibration of the rocks and trees and sagebrush match the frequency of my blood. One day I will be there to stay. But I am where I am supposed to be right now and a weekend away was good for the soul.
It was a great opportunity to train Gandalf and he was worn out by the end of our trip. He was a really good boy, except once! I let him off the leash because we were about to play ball so he usually keeps his eye on the bright orange tennis ball but then something else caught his eye. A giant tarp. That covered the out of season swimming pool! He ran onto it, like a giant trampoline he raced from one end to the other, his ears back, a big goofy smile on his face, until finally, two heart attacks later, Doug was able to yank him off the side. No harm done, and hilarious to recall, but not so funny as I stopped breathing praying the tarp would hold that giant puppy!
Here are a few tips for traveling with your dog.
Get an emotional support dog registration or wait until summer when patios are open at restaurants.
Even with the vest, try to find a hotel that already accepts dogs. (I highly recommend Blue Sky Resort if you are heading to Taos.)
We drove our mini-van so we could lay his bed out, food and water, and toys. It was much easier to drive around with him!
Carry a baby bag with a bag of food, a quart of water, some treats, a toy, a few washrags, and a few plastic bowls.
Purchase a harness. When training my granddog (a crazy border collie/heeler) and now with my Great Pyrenees, a harness is a life saver! They can’t pull, you have the leverage, and they know they have to be good kids once you put it on them!
Reward sitting, laying down, and any other good behavior with small treats.
Don’t get stressed out. Just have fun with your companion!
Even small dogs can be Emotional Support Dogs. Some dogs were not meant to hang out at home all the time. Without company and things to do behavior problems arise. And if you are going to have a puppy, may as well make him a friend and travel companion. I am glad we decided to get dog!
Note: I must say that I am surprised at the number of nasty remarks I receive about this post (and mind you they will never see the light of day). I want to make it quite clear that I still stand behind this post. Did you know that a fully trained, recognized service dog will run between $25,000-$50,000? There are many people that I know, from wheelchair bound to post-war PTSD, that need a service dog. Having an emotional support dog is very valuable to many people. My puppy is now over a year old, over a hundred pounds, and barks all the time, so he isn’t going with me anywhere more than the bank or dog park. But he really helped me deal with fear and anxiety and if someone needs a support dog, then they should have one. End of story.