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Julee Meltzer | Good Sam Blog | Click link above for full article
"I'm Too Old to Have a Dog"
This statement has been made to me so many times, I cannot even count how many. Yet, it turns out that a dog (or any pet) can be an elderly person's lifeline. There are so many reasons why you should consider getting a dog and traveling with one:
One of the biggest problems with getting older is that old people often can lose a lot of family and friends and thus feel lonely, even while out traveling and RVing. But, a pet can chase away all of that loneliness. And let's face it, for full-timers, sometimes we can get a little disconnected from
the world, but a dog will make new connections and friendships faster than you can say "Here Boy!".
The physical contact of petting an animal is relaxing, and some studies have even shown it leads to lower blood pressures in people with high blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels in those with high levels .Studies have shown that faithful pets can:
• Lower blood pressure
• Lower cholesterol levels
• Lower triglyceride levels
• Decrease feelings of loneliness
• Encourage activity in seniors
• Offer a sense of security and safety
• Enhance social activities
• Offer affection and unconditional love
• Ease the loss of a loved one
• Offer a sense of feeling needed and wanted
• Offer fun and entertainment
• Decrease feelings of isolation
In 1980, a clinical research project at Brooklyn College, New York, studied heart-disease patients after their discharge from the hospital. Dr. Erika Friedmann, Ph.D., professor of health and nutrition sciences at the College, tracked each survivor, studying their medical histories, lifestyles, families, relationships - every documentable detail. Co-researcher Dr. Aaron Katcher, M.D., reported:
"The presence of a pet was the strongest social predictor of survival...not just for lonely or depressed people, but everyone - independent of marital status and access to social support from human beings."
Surveyed Attitudes of the Elderly Regarding the Benefits of Pets:
• Talk to their pet 95%
• Pet helps when they feel sad 82%
• Pet helps when they physically feel bad 71%
• Touching their pet makes them feel better 65%
• Confides in their pet 57%
Conclusion: Pets are an integral component of the social support network for many individuals and therefore probably contribute to public health and well-being.
Do you have a dog that you take with you in your motorhome? Or any pet at all that you keep close to you? They are more to us than just furry companions - they're family members, or as I hear them called "fur babies." How do your pets keep you company on the road?
If you and your dog are inseparable, don't let the National Park System's pet rules stop you from taking a dog-centric vacation to our national treasures.
A growing assortment of pet sitters, upscale boarding facilities and dog-friendly people hotels are making it possible for pets and humans to have unforgettable adventures in and around popular national parks. To get your trip planning started, here's a short list of great pet care services near national parks in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Utah.
Leashed dogs can visit Denali, but they're limited to walking on paved surfaces other than the Roadside Trail and the Bike Path. When you want to experience the heart of Denali, drive just seven miles outside the park and check your pup into Tonglen Lake Canine Resort & Kennels, the only dog boarding in the vicinity. More than just a kennel, Tonglen Lake offers grooming, training and massage along with upscale boarding and individual or group play in a 60' by 100' arena, starting at $26.50 per day.
Oregon: Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park gives dogs and people a few more recreation options than other parks. For example, both pets and people can enjoy spectacular lake views on the paved Rim Village promenade walkway and also are allowed on four different area hiking trails. Whether you're camping in a Crater Lake campground or staying at a pet-friendly motel near the park, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care proprietor Jamie Lesko will give you the freedom to explore the park while she or one of her 10 pet care associates stay with Rover. This licensed, bonded, and insured pet care provider can help with same day notice.Snaggle Foot's service area includes the entire southern Oregon region with rates starting at $10 per hour.
Washington: Olympic National Park
Leashed dogs have freedom to roam at Olympic National Park, which features several spectacular pet-friendly beaches and trails. But with over 922,000 acres of hiking and backpacking options, your visit wouldn't be complete without deeper exploration into sensitive areas that don't allow dogs, such as the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the best examples of temperate rain forests in North America. To have the best of both worlds, drive to the town of Forks and stay at the adorable Haags Cottage, which allows well-mannered canines. When you want to go hiking, your hostess Diana can provide pet sitting services as long as you make advance reservations.
California: Yosemite National Park
Visitors to Yosemite National Park can enjoy a handful of the park's most famous sights from paved walking trails that allow dogs, as well as a few obscure pet-friendly trails, such as Wawona Meadow Loop. But for visitors who really want to get acquainted with Yosemite's fragile ecosystem where dogs aren't allowed, the loving care of Ruff-Inn-It Dog Boarding is ready to help. Owner Mandy is a life-long dog lover, stay-at-home mom, and former animal shelter worker who provides dog boarding services at her 1.5-acre fenced property located 50 minutes from the park. Mandy can handle last-minute requests, but prefers at least two days' notice. Rates start at $25 per hour; she can be reached throughDogVacay.com, a web-based service that connects freelance dog sitters with pet parents.
Utah: Five Parks, Many Options
Utah is a dog lover's destination. With five national parks and a select group of quality dog care providers near all of them, it's easy to take solo trips into the national parks and enjoy hiking time with your dog in more pet-friendly recreation areas just beyond NPS boundaries – all in one epic vacation.
Start by making the rugged pet-friendly town of Moab your first base camp. Arches andCanyonlands National Parks are both located minutes from town where Karen's K9 Campground is equipped to care for your dog by the day or overnight. Owned and managed since 1978 by the founder of the Moab Humane Society, Karen says that her “Doggie Disneyland” gets rave reviews because of its numerous wading pools, shady play areas and air-conditioned kennels for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Day care starts at $25 and discounts are given for multiple pets. Reservations are strongly advised.
As you can see, with a little creative planning it's entirely possible to experience America's best national parks with your favorite canine companion. Remember, though, not to leave your pet in a vehicle with all the windows rolled tightly closed and no water. That's a deadly combination.