Maine offers options to pet owners who would rather not leave part of their family behind


By Linda Galway
Freelance Writer

Fran and Tim Buck loved their Japanese Chin, and they hated leaving him behind when they traveled, so it was an easy decision for them to go “pet-friendly” when they purchased the Mollyockett Hotel in Bryant Pond seven years ago.
“People really don’t want to travel without their pets if they can possibly bring them along,” Fran noted. “So we decided as long as people were good about their pets, we would allow them, because pets become part of the family.” So far, so good.
The Bucks have three rules:
1.Pets cannot be left in the room by themselves, even if crated, because when dogs hear strange noises or people talking, they can become protective and bark, disturbing other guests.
2.Pets are not allowed on the bedding; Fran has spent hours hand-crafting the comforters, “so we are protective of those,” she added.
3.No prolonged barking, because that would disturb other guests.
All the rooms are considered “pet-friendly,” but they are given thorough cleanings and airings all year long on a regular basis.
The hotel doesn’t charge extra or take a deposit if a dog is part of your entourage, “but we do have the credit card in case there are damages, and the owners are responsible for damages,” Fran said.
The Mollyockett Hotel has a back yard for walking the dogs, but owners are responsible for removing the excrement. There are no size restrictions for the dogs, but Fran doesn’t ever recall having a Great Dane as a guest.
“One time there were three goldens (golden retrievers) in one room,” she related. “I’m not sure how they made room for all of them!”
Although dogs are allowed at the Mollyockett Hotel, Fran would discourage anyone from traveling with a cat if they don’t absolutely have to. “We prefer not to have cats,” she said, “as they tend to mark their territory and claw, and people tend to leave them in the room.”
Luckily cats, in general, are more content in their own surroundings and can easily stay for days without attention as long as they have a litter box (or boxes) and ample food and water. It’s usually much easier on pet and owner if someone checks on them every few days rather than having them on vacation with you.
Renting a Maine vacation home, cabin or condo might also turn into a pet-friendly vacation, but there are typically fees or deposits for bringing along your pet to any of these “pet-friendly” destinations. However, owners may find this a small financial sacrifice if it means Fido, Fluffy, Tweety or Peter Cottontail can come along for the ride. There would also be a fee if you had to pay a house sitter, pet-checker or boarding kennel.

The State of Maine has regulations regarding pets at state parks and on public lands. Because the state recognizes that “pets are an important part of many camping families,” there are a few rules to follow.
1.Pets are not allowed on beaches or in the Sebago Lake State Park Campground;
2.Pets must be on a leash not exceeding four feet in length and must not be left unattended.
3.Pet owners must immediately clean up fecal deposits left by their pets.
A good resource to consider before booking your next hotel, motel or inn is the Internet site, www.bringmypet.com. Remember, though, that taking your pet with you during the summer months means making sure your vehicles are parked in the shade and have adequate ventilation without risking your pet’s security and safety. That’s one reason we always purchase vehicles with retractable sunroofs.

SIDEBAR:

What to pack?

Pet carriers
Leashes
Collar
ID tags
Food/water
Bedding
Security blankets and toys
Pooper scooper*
Litter supplies
Shot records
Medicines
First Aid kit
Grooming supplies


*Plastic bags also work well; put your entire hand inside the bag, grab the poop and pull the bag down over your hand keeping the excrement inside. Dispose of it in a proper receptacle. For large deposits, I suspect more than one bag would be required…


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