Pet Savvy Travelers Good Neighbors

Originally posted February 2007
by Michelle Harrell aka “Poodlemama”

Michelle's Magical PoodlesNow that you’re at your winter destination with your favorite furry friend, you’re away from familiar surroundings and your own backyard. This means the doggies must go for a walk. But, do you know the rules in the area you’ve decided to call your snowbird home? For instance, on Pensacola Beach bringing a dog onto the beach can cost you a fine of up to $500. For the most part, there is ample signage posted but I’ve run into a tourist or two who didn’t know and gasps when finding out what they their afternoon walk with fluffy could have cost them. Usually, the Beach Patrol will be friendly enough to give you a first warning if you’re from out of town.
Even though most areas also have a strict leash law, not everyone adheres to this rule. We’ve all encountered the dog that appears out of nowhere, roaming the streets looking for food, fun or adventure. It’s easy to panic but this will only create a bigger problem.
If a strange dog approaches, try and steer your dog away very calmly without running. If it’s a very small dog,
maybe pick your dog up until the other dog has passed by.
If the strange dog shows signs of aggression, speak in a very authoritative tone so the dog knows who’s in charge.
As Caeser Milan, the Dog Whisperer says, “be the pack leader.” If a dog persists to be a problem, the last resort is to call Animal Control. They will usually try and locate the owner and give them a first warning.
If getting fluffy off the leash helps to get some of that energy out, try one of the area dog parks. For safety purposes, I suggest choosing one with a separate area for the big dogs and the small dogs. Having small poodles myself, this has become a priority. Having fun is only fun if it’s safe.
Now there’s the issue of being a courteous, good neighbor. I happen to live in a typical suburban familyoriented neighborhood. The kind where kids still build forts, ride their bikes and roller skate in the cul-dusac.
I’ve gotten to know plenty of my neighbors by simply walking my three poodles. I was astonished to hear one of my neighbors tell me that I was the only dog walker that actually carried a plastic “pick-up” bag.
She thanked me and told me how much she appreciated my thoughtfulness. I’m sure this is one of the kindest gestures and is appreciated by locals and other tourist alike. Keeping our beautiful area beautiful means we all pitch in.
Until next time, happy trails and tails!

Michelle’s Magical Poodles is a show full of classic and traditional circus style tricks. For more information about Michelle and her Magical Poodles, please visit her online at