10 Things Uga (and Other Mascots) Can Do on Gamedays This Football Season

Saturday afternoon college football is a fall tradition for millions of Americans. And for more than 50 years, University of Georgia supporters have cheered on the Dawgs with a four-legged fan: the white Engish Bulldog mascot, Uga. Since he was collared “Uga X” five years ago, Que has spent every home game supporting the Dawgs from the air-conditioned doghouse on the sidelines at Sanford Stadium. Although the handsome pup is an essential part of the team, no live mascots are permitted on the field this season as part of the NCAA and SEC social-distancing plan. Suddenly, Que has a lot more time on his paws this fall. So what’s a Dawg to do? Here are 10 things Uga X and other mascots can do with their free Saturdays.

1. Swap Gameday for a Game Day

Dogs can play with puzzles and interactive games to stay active.

Time to go for the Hail Mary pass. – Photo by @sodapupdogtoys

With all the open weekends this fall, it’s the “pawfect” time to engage those four legs and big brain with an interactive doggy game day. Interactive dog toys can improve a dog’s overall health and happiness, so much so that he won’t even realize he’s missing kickoff. Try the Zacro Dog Snuffle Mat, which doubles the oxytocin by rewarding foraging with food. Not sure if your pup is up to the challenge? Try a simple strategy game using a treat-dispensing toy like the MuttsKickButt Natural Rubber Football for a game of hide-and-seek.

2. Take a Timeout for Retail Therapy

This fall take your dog to shop at one of the pet friendly stores.

“I made a snap decision and bought them all.” – Photo by @pembroke_retriever

Some of our favorite stores welcome dogs inside, which means this fall Uga and the other college mascots can sniff out deals while shopping for anything from seasonal décor at Michaels to supplies for a backyard dog park at The Home Depot. To find a store where four-legged customers can get carted around the aisles by your side, search our pet-friendly shopping directory.

3. TAIL-Gate

This fall celebrate college football with pet-friendly tailgate.

Snacks on snacks on snacks. – Photo by Erin Ballinger

Things are going to look different when it comes to the way college football fans tailgate during the 2020 season. That doesn’t mean supporters on two legs and four can’t chow down on snacks and participate in some traditional pre (and post) game revelry. We suggest Uga X jersey up at his own private backyard tailgate, where he can lap a dog beer and indulge in these delicious and Fido-approved refreshments while watching the game.

4. “Snap” Fall Portraits

Fall is the perfect time of year to capture some new festive photos of your dog.

“This one’s going on my Finsta for my real fans.” – Photo by @ugaathletics

Uga isn’t the only four-legged mascot to grace college football sidelines (he’s not even the only Bulldog). With competition so fierce, it’s imperative he keep up with his social media presence. This season off the field is an opportunity to capture some new festive photos, whether he’s competing for #1 Furry Fan or just needs an updated portrait for the mantle.

5. Get a “Dog”ree

Uga X could go back to dog school this fall since he won't be at the college football games.

He’s an athlete and a scholar. – Photo by @ugaathletics

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Since he won’t be on the college campus for football games this year, Que could take the time to get that degree he’s been pining for… or at least learn some new skills. These dog schools would be happy to have him enrolled and offer unique classes on anything from how to be a therapy pup to mastering the Canine Quoit.

6. Cheer for Apps and Brews (and Football, too)

Watch college football with your dog at a pet-friendly sports bar or restaurant.

“That’s not a nugget.” – Photo by @ugaathletics

College mascots and football supporters of all breeds will love the festive atmosphere of game day at a sports bar and restaurant almost as much as the tasty morsels that might drop under the table. This season, watch the game on a big screen on a pet-friendly patio with your wide Retriever. You might even bump into Uga there, too.

7. Go Long

Uga X could go on a pet-friendly getaway this fall.

“That’s definitely more than 50 yards…” – Photo by @ohhh.my.gio

Pet-friendly getaways offer a chance to take a break from the commotion of everyday life. If an escape from reality is just what Uga needs this fall, there are plenty of places where he is welcome, whether he’s looking for something completely off-grid or just a spot to rest his paws. If that sounds like exactly how you and Fido want to spend weekends this fall, check out these tips for booking a vacation rental with your canine companion.

8. Down, Set, Hike

Uga and other college football mascots can see fall foliage.

“Those are big goalposts.” – Photo by @kitkat.dellinger

Instead of sitting on the sidelines, off-duty football mascots can embark on a hiking adventure to see the changing leaves this autumn. Although Bulldogs aren’t known for having especially great hiking stamina, they are excellent travelers. If a day on the trail is off the table, Uga can join his family to take in the fall foliage at one of these vacation rentals with a view.

9. Trade the Uniform for a Costume

Uga the University of Georgia Dawgs mascot in his Halloween costume.

Just your friendly neighborhood Spider Man. – Photo by @ugaathletics

With so much more time on his hands, Que can plan the best “Howl-O-Ween” costume ever! Here’s a roundup of a few of Fido’s friends in their best Halloween dog costumes from 2019 for inspiration.

10. Visit Fans and Friends Virtually

University of Georgia mascot, Que, also known as Uga X.

Who wouldn’t want to meet this handsome boi? – Photo by @ugaathletics

Whether Fido is a University of Georgia fan or just a fan of having famous friends, he will be able to meet Uga virtually this season. Que’s human, Charles Seiler, says the Dawgs mascot will make remote appearances during games this fall and even conduct video calls from home. UGA’s athletics department has also announced plans to roll out a feature where fans can click on a button and be able to see Uga X enjoying everyday life at home in dog-friendly Savannah.

This post from BringFido originally appeared as 10 Things Uga (and Other Mascots) Can Do on Gamedays This Football Season.

Great American BBQ Trails to Explore with Fido

A culinary road trip is a wonderful way to get first-hand insight into the heart, soul and cultural heritage of a place. These barbecue trails present the perfect opportunity for you to eat your way through some of the most unique, delicious, and authentically American eateries with Fido by your side. Although the smoky, saucy cuisine will certainly be the highlight of your trip, you’ll also get the chance to explore some of the coolest towns in the American South on these dog-friendly adventures.

A Big Texas BBQ Trail for Pups with Big Appetites

Eat at pet-friendly Texas Barbecue restaurants.

“Meat me in Texas!” – Photo by @the_brisket_frenchie

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the brisket. Beef brisket, pork ribs and sausage are among the most commonly barbecued meats in the state, and methods and flavors of serving Texas barbecue vary regionally and culturally.

Total Route Distance: 320 miles

  1. Leroy and Lewis BBQAustin, TX
    Fido’s foodie trek in the Lone Star State begins at a shady outdoor table with some smoky goodness from Leroy and Lewis Barbecue. Located in the heart of Austin, this unique joint offers a menu of “new school barbecue” like confit beef cheeks, smoky brisket burgers, salty bacon ribs, and even a number of barbecued vegetarian dishes like smoked eggplant parm and cauliflower burnt ends. Meats are locally sourced from nearby farms and ranches.
    Fido will surely want to spend some time in Austin, one of the 12 most pet-friendly cities in the U.S. Stay at a pet-friendly vacation rental that invites you to Live Large in the Tiny Shiny.

  2. Salt LickDriftwood, TX
    The second stop on your finger-lickin’ expedition lies just outside of Austin in the town of Driftwood. At Salt Lick, you can fill up on traditional Southeastern Texas slow-roasted dishes and grab a beef rib for your pup. Their signature sauce has no tomatoes but instead relies on sugar to caramelize and baste the meats. Be sure to save room for one of their classic southern desserts, like pecan pie or banana pudding.

  3. Two Bros BBQ MarketSan Antonio, TX
    Your next stop is in San Antonio for some classic Texas BBQ served in “down-home” market style. Two Bros BBQ Market’s signature ’cue begins with a secret recipe dry rub and is followed by a low and slow smoke bath in custom-made pits to create meats with a crispy charred edge and robust flavor.

    After your fill of food, put your paws up at this Renovated Carriage House featuring a swimming pool and fenced yard for Fido to enjoy in preparation for the longest leg of your TX bbq trail.

  4. The Back Porch BBQLa Grange, TX
    Right off the highway between San Antonio and Houston is a cozy converted old home turned BBQ house, the perfect place to stop for lunch. The Back Porch BBQ invites you and your canine companion to pull up a seat at the picnic table and order up some slow-cooked, home-inspired and down-right delicious BBQ, sides and desserts. The restaurant sits on a large property perfect for an after-meal walk.

  5. Goode Company BarbequeHouston, TX
    Houston has some tough competition for mesquite-fired meat, but Goode Company Barbeque serves up tried and true Coastal Texas ’cue with deep smoky flavor alongside creative sides and old-fashioned sweets. This little barn is a true Houston gem where you can gather around good, honest Texan grub, hospitality and live local music.It’s the perfect spot to wrap up your pet-friendly BBQ trail in the Lone Star State.

    Make yourself at home in Houston at this 2-Bedroom Retreat with Furnished Backyard.

A Carolina BBQ Trail for Four-Legged Foodies

Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ pet-friendly restaurant on Carolina BBQ trail.

“Carolina barbecue’s the best, no bones about it.” – Photo by @allaboutfitz

In North and South Carolina, “barbecue” means pork. It can be pulled from a whole hog or chopped from a slow-smoked shoulder or ham, but always derives from somewhere on the pig. The Carolinas are home to hundreds of barbecue restaurants, dozens of professional pitmasters and four distinct regional styles. This pet-friendly BBQ trail gives you and your pup the opportunity to sample all of them, plus one spot that offers a unique Korean-fusion twist on the dish.

Total Route Distance: 540 miles

  1. Skylight Inn BBQAyden, North Carolina
    Known to the locals as Pete Jones’ BBQ, Skylight Inn has been serving whole hog-style barbecue since 1947. The famously old-school establishment roasts meat the traditional way: long and slow over pits of wood. In true Eastern NC fashion, Skylight Inn BBQ sauce is vinegar-based, both fiery and with a touch of sweetness.

  2. Seoul Food Meat Co.Charlotte, NC
    Your second stop is the Queen City, dog-friendly Charlotte. Seoul Food Meat Co. creates southern BBQ beef, pork, chicken, and even fish or tofu, with Korean-inspired flare. In addition to its delicious main dishes, the unique sides like Sriracha Cracklins and Kimchi Mayo Slaw are worth a visit all on their own. Fido will flip when he learns there’s also a fenced dog park on site, complete with an obstacle course.

    Check out all the other cool activities Charlotte has to offer with a stay at this funky Retro 1BR Apartment with Porch.

  3. Carolina BBQSpartanburg, SC
    Carolina BBQ’s juicy pork is hickory-smoked for more than 14 hours, then basted at the finish. Known as Pee Dee or Lexington-style barbecue, the resulting meal is exceptionally tender and juicy, with long strands of delicate pork steeped with tangy heat. Served on a white bread bun with southern sides like fried okra, it’s a perfect place to fill up on Carolina ‘cue.

    Break up the drive with a stop at Lake Murray, where you can “paws” for the night at this 3-Bedroom Lakefront Home with Paddleboard & Canoe.

  4. Maurice’s Gourmet BarbecueLexington, SC
    By far the most distinguishing characteristic of this Midlands-style barbecue is the sauce. The unique yellow color comes from a mustard base, generously sweetened with brown sugar and finished with a tangy bite of cider vinegar and black pepper. Outsiders might be baffled by the unusual color, but it’s the perfect accompaniment to the rich smoked pork. Maurice’s Gourmet Barbecue also serves South Carolina’s signature side dish: Carolina Hash, a savory barbecue stew served over rice.

  5. Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQCharleston, SC
    Charleston has become a major barbecue hub, offering a wide range of styles imported from all over the Carolinas, Georgia, and even as far off as Texas. At Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, the craft of cooking over coals has been refined into an art. Pitmaster and South Carolina native Rodney Scott has been working the pits since childhood, and his whole-hog meats command long lines out the door every day.

    If you haven’t had your fill of barbecue yet, this James Island Townhome with Fenced Yard has an outdoor grill where you can try your hand at making your own.

Memphis to Mississippi – A Pet-Friendly BBQ & Blues Trail

The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint in Ocean Springs, MS is pet-friendly

Goodest boys get goodest ‘que. – Photo by @rexthenoladoodle

Blues and BBQ go together like macaroni and cheese, and the best spots to enjoy this dynamic duo can be found between Memphis and the gulf coast of Mississippi.

Total Route Distance: 400 miles

  1. Central BBQMemphis, TN
    Start your BBQ journey at one of the best dog-friendly BBQ restaurants around at Central BBQ. Partaking of this tangy and spicy ’cue will make you truly appreciate the virtues of a cracking dry rub. There’s no sauce used in the pit here; pitmasters instead rely on a secret combo of spices and smoke to tenderize and flavor the meat. Bring Fido to chill on the covered patio where you can listen to live music while you sample the variety of sauces and local beer on tap.

    Memphis has no shortage of pet-friendly accommodations, but this one-bedroom Duplex is walking distance from the restaurant and Overton Bark dog park.

  2. Abe’s Bar-B-QClarksdale, MS
    Just across the state line in Mississippi is a nearly century-old establishment where you’ll find barbecue known to be so good, it might be from the devil himself. Abe’s Bar-B-Q sits at The Crossroads, the landmark spot at Highways 49 and 61 in Clarksdale where legend has it that blues king Robert Johnson sold his soul and the blues was born. Abe’s famous sauce, The Come Back Sauce, is said to have the power to make anyone, even Old Nick, returning for more. And while Abe’s Bar-B-Q might be ungodly, it’s not un-dog-ly. Fido is welcome to join you at a pet-friendly outdoor bench.

  3. The Shed BBQ & Blues JointOcean Springs, MS
    Your barbecue and blues trip culminates at the coast with famous baby back ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, baked beans, mac ‘n’ cheese, nanner puddin’ and good times at The Shed. You and your pup will find no shortage of southern hospitality and great live music while seated at one of the many outdoor tables.

    Ocean Springs Beach is on the list of best dog-friendly beaches on the Gulf Coast, so take advantage and include a trip to dip Fido’s toes in the sand. Stay at this pet-friendly vacation rental on the Best Street In Downtown Ocean Springs.

Fido’s Favorite Missouri Barbecue Trail Loop

Woodyard Bar-B-Que in Kansas City is pet-friendly.

“Wait, you forgot my plate!” – Photo by @woodyardbbq

There are so many barbecue joints in Missouri that it can be hard to narrow it down into a bite-sized trip. This Missouri barbecue trail loop starts and finishes in Kansas City, the self-proclaimed King of BBQ, and will satisfy any hankering you have for the state’s favorite cuisine.

Total Route Distance: 550 miles

  1. Woodyard Bar-B-QueKansas City, MO
    Woodyard Bar-B-Que was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” Andrew Zimmern’s “Delicious Destinations” and Nigella Lawson’s “Christmas Special.” But you don’t have to take their word for it. Order the award-winning half-slab of baby back ribs or the burnt end chili from a table on the large dog-friendly patio out front, or hang out in the newly fenced-in “Woofyard” around back.

    This Spacious & Modern Midtown Artsy 3-Bedroom Home is the perfect spot to rest before embarking on the next leg of your Missouri BBQ trail.

  2. Lutz’s Famous BBQColumbia, MO
    Head off on 70 East to Columbia, just over halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis. Here you’ll find Lutz’s Famous BBQ, a local favorite where you can sit at one of the outdoor tables with your pup and order fall-off-the-fork meats and classic sides in a down-home atmosphere. Try the Family Special, a meal for four folks for $51.15 that comes with a half-rack of ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, two quart sides, four rolls and a bottle of blue-ribbon BBQ sauce.

  3. Bogart’s SmokehouseSt. Louis, MO
    Arguably the best spot in the city for a slab of signature St. Louis ribs is Bogart’s Smokehouse. Bogart’s chef uses a blowtorch to caramelize the fall-off the bone ribs, and the deviled egg potato salad is so good you’ll want a second helping for dessert. The restaurant has an outdoor picnic area where Fido is welcome to join you for some of the most flavorful barbecue in the state.

    Spend a night in the Soulard neighborhood at this Historic One-Bedroom Home, just a mile from the landmark Gateway Arch.

  4. Barnyard SmokehouseFulton, MO
    As you approach Barnyard Smokehouse in Fulton, the delicious smells will pull you right in. The restaurant takes farm-fresh barbecue seriously, processing hormone- and antibiotic-free meats right on site. Be sure to arrive hungry, as the most popular dish on the menu is the aptly named Huge Pulled Pork Sandwich. Sit outside the big red barn with your four-legged buddy, and maybe share a few morsels with him as there will be plenty to go around.

  5. Muddy Creek and Honky Tonk BBQWarrensburg, MO
    Continue your pet-friendly quest for ‘cue at Muddy Creek and Honky Tonk BBQ. Locals love the hot BBQ nachos, and the staff are always friendly. It tends to get pretty crowded during peak hours, but that’s just a sign that you’re in the right place. Plan to stay late as the restaurant is open until 1:30 a.m. on the weekends, with live music on the dog-friendly patio.

    This pet-friendly vacation rental is walking distance from Muddy Creek and makes the “pawfect” spot to digest the day’s feast.

  6. Jones BBQKansas City, MO
    As you come full circle back to Kansas City, check out the decades-old Jones BBQ. Recently featured in Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” owners and sisters Deborah “Shorty” and Mary “Little” Jones have been making their family’s secret sauce from scratch since childhood. This popular spot frequently sells out for the day, so show up early! All tables are situated out front on the patio, and Fido is welcome to join you at any of them.

Historic Georgia BBQ Trail for Dogs and Dawgs

Fresh Air Barbeque in Jackson, GA welcomes dogs at the outdoor tables.

Pull up a picnic table with your pup. – Photo by Fresh Air Barbeque

Along with football and Coca-Cola, BBQ is a topic that Georgians have strong opinions on. Each of these establishments has relied on original methods and recipes to serve a historic taste of Georgia barbecue to customers for more than 40 years.

Total Route Distance: 200 miles

  1. Old Brick Pit BarbequeAtlanta, GA
    Start the Peach State BBQ journey in the ATL, where Old Brick Pit Barbeque has been keeping the region’s cooking traditions alive for over four decades. This true blue Georgia ‘cue is cooked in the original brick pit over hickory wood. Be sure to try Brunswick Stew, made from an original recipe passed down through the decades. Grab a seat with your dog at one of the eight outdoor tables.

    Each of the stops on this pet-friendly historic Georgia barbecue route are within an hour and a half from Atlanta, so this Beautiful Grand Old 1908 House is a perfect place to call home during your trip.

  2. Fincher’s BBQColumbus, GA
    Fincher’s has been in business since 1935, and the Pig Special Sandwich (pulled pork topped with slaw and tomatoes on toast) and award-winning sauce are two of the reasons why this establishment is a must-visit on any Historic Georgia Barbecue trail. This ‘cue was even served on NASA Space Mission STS-33 in 1969! Fido can join you for this out-of-this-world culinary experience at one of four pet-friendly outdoor tables.

  3. Fresh Air BarbequeJackson, GA
    At Fresh Air Barbeque, the old-fashioned wood-burning pit used daily was designed by restaurant founder Toots Caston in the 1940s and remains unchanged to this day. Three long picnic tables on the covered front porch of the restaurant invite you and your hungry hound to enjoy award-winning, tangy tomato and vinegar style barbecue on a bun with a large glass of sweet tea.

This post from BringFido originally appeared as Great American BBQ Trails to Explore with Fido.

10 Tips for Booking a Pet-Friendly Vacation Rental

Have you ever rolled up to a vacation rental and been turned away when they see Fido by your side? If you’re planning a trip with your pooch and want to stay at Airbnbs or VRBOs, it’s important to be prepared. Follow these tips to ensure you book a pet-friendly vacation rental that not only allows four-legged friends, but welcomes them!

1. Make Sure the Property Is Pet-Friendly

a dog on a road trip

“And you’re sure I can come this time?” – Photo by Ignacio Amenábar on Unsplash

Don’t spend hours making a shortlist of possible places to stay only to discover they won’t welcome the furriest member of the family. As well as offering filters for houseboats, castles and other unique stays, vacation rental websites like Airbnb and VRBO allow you to filter for pet-friendliness. Fortunately, BringFido makes it easy to find and book pet-friendly rentals through our site or app for iOS or Android. When searching for your next stay, simply choose your destination and select “Vacation Properties” from the dropdown menu.

enter image description here

You can even narrow your search further by filtering for pet fees, weight and size limitations, number of pets allowed, and even for cats!

enter image description here

Select the property rating and price to find exactly what you and Fido are looking for, or try searching for a specific feature (“hot tub” is a crowd favorite).

2. Be Transparent About Fido

a dog looking straight through the camera

“Me, make a mess? It’s my owner you need to worry about!” – Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

Unlike hotels where you sign in at a front desk, the likelihood is you won’t ever come face to face with your host. These days, most provide a lockbox at the door and a code to get in, which is great for social distancing but not so great if you have any pressing questions once you arrive. It’s best to contact the owner before reserving, and take the opportunity to let them know you’ll be traveling with a pet. Even if the property states explicitly that it’s pet-friendly, your host will appreciate the heads up.

3. Check For Pet and Cleaning Fees

A dog with money

“Here’s my half!” – Photo by Flickr/OTA Photos

Hidden fees can make an affordable mini-break suddenly break the bank. Fortunately, BringFido lists pet fees and cleaning fees in the description of each of our vacation rental listings, so you know what you’re getting into. If you’re using other booking platforms, you may need to contact the host to find out the fee if it’s not stated.

4. Leave a Trail (of Reviews)

a dog chilling out

“I came, I stayed and I had a blast!” – Photo by Linda Segerfeldt on Unsplash

Oftentimes, you’ll be staying in a rental that’s somebody’s pride and joy. Your host wants to share their home but may feel skittish about welcoming an unknown pet who might damage the place or make a mess. Help convince them that your pooch is an old hand at the whole vacation rental thing by reviewing properties you’ve stayed at before, and including pictures of your pup being a good girl (as if she ever isn’t!). Use #bringfido and we might feature your creature, too!

5. Follow the Rules

a dog on his dog bet

“No human bed? I guess it’s okay for a few days …” – Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Fido may run the show at your place, but in somebody else’s house he needs to follow their rules. Even if he usually sprawls all over the bed at home, he’s going to have to “ruff it” on the floor for a few days if the rules state (and they often do) that dogs aren’t allowed on furniture. The last thing you want is to be slammed with a surprise cleaning fee for not treating your home away from home with respect.

6. Pack Accordingly

a dog and his suitcases

“I may have overpacked.” – Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

The time has come to dust off your pup’s barely used dog bed and buy a new food mat in preparation for her vacation. It goes without saying that you’ll need to bring food, bowls and her leash, but it’s also advisable to bring recognizable blankets and toys to offer her some security in unfamiliar surroundings. Invest in a pet travel bag so you don’t miss anything your canine will need on her trip.

7. Ask About the (Non-Human) Neighbors

two dogs walking on the Neighborhood

“You get to live here all the time?” – Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, which you’ll know only too well if Fido doesn’t get along with the other pups at the dog park. Be sure to ask your host if there are other animals living in the rental, especially if you’re reserving a farm stay or lodgings on the same property as your host.

8. Check for Special Features

a dog on a vacation rental

“Now this is a home away from home!” – Photo by BringFido

Long gone are the days of settling for a rental just because they allow dogs. These days, the tennis ball is in Fido’s court when it comes to picking a vacation rental. Before reserving, find out if there are any cool pet amenities to entice you to spend your money on a particular place. For example, the pet package at Baron’s Cove in The Hamptons includes a $40 dining card, a free copy of Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley,” use of a comfy pet bed, dog dishes, a sweet treat and a frisbee. And this new home in Saint Simons Island, GA, comes with a doggy niche in the living room and a pet treats jar in the kitchen.

9. Clean Up

a dog cleaning out

“This cleaning is a real pane.” – Photo by @twodapperdoods

We’re not talking about getting the bleach out and doing a deep clean at the end of your stay, but it’s nice to leave a house as close to how you found it as possible. This is just another way to say thanks for a “paw-some” vacay.

10. Share the Love

a dog at the door of a house

“Five bones – would stay here again!” – Photo by Airbnb

Don’t forget to leave a good rating on BringFido if you enjoyed your stay. Five bones can make all the difference to the success of a property in the vacation rental business, and it’s a nice way to acknowledge the host who let you and your hairy holidaymaker make some wonderful memories together. And remember, guests aren’t the only ones who can leave reviews these days. Hosts are also able to review you and your pooch, so make sure Fido’s on his best behavior!

This post from BringFido originally appeared as 10 Tips for Booking a Pet-Friendly Vacation Rental.

Why We’re “Mutts” About Dog Bark Park Inn

Surrounded by huge swathes of prairieland and with a population of less than 1000, Cottonwood, Idaho probably isn’t on Fido’s bucket list. That is, until he finds out it’s the location of one of the coolest pet-friendly vacation rentals in the world. When it comes to pet travel, there’s nowhere more on-brand than Dog Bark Park Inn B&B. Forget the old woman who lived in a shoe, how about the young pooch who stayed in a Beagle?

The Story of Sweet Willy and Toby

Story of Sweet Willy and Toby

“With these two backing me up, nobody’s stealing my treats!” – Photo by @finnbodey

The “tail” of this unique vacation rental began in 1995 with a chainsaw and a dream. This was the year that husband and wife duo Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin carved out a deal with QVC to sell their handmade wooden dog sculptures. Over the next couple of years, the artistic pair worked all day (and sometimes into the night) to fill orders and raise money toward their ultimate goal: creating a scaled-up version of their canine sculptures for people and pets to stay inside.

a man and his dog chilling out

Artist and mastermind Dennis chilling with a guest.Photo by BringFido

In 2003, the dream became a reality when the first guests spent the night inside Sweet Willy, a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom Beagle-shaped home with a deck overlooking the vast sky garden of Idaho. Dennis kept Sweet Willy company by carving Toby, a 12-foot Beagle statue that stands proudly beside him.

Spending a long weekend in the dog house is not always a bad thing, especially when it offers a glimpse into the past. During the heyday of the great American road trip, roadside oddities attracted tourists to quieter areas and brought prosperity to remote towns. Whether tourists were stopping for pictures with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox on the Great River Road or staying inside a concrete wigwam on Route 66, these unusual attractions were an integral part of American vacations. One of Dog Bark Park Inn’s aims is to bring novel stays back to the modern traveler.

Why Fido Will Love Dog Bark Park Inn B&B

a dog at Dog Bark Park Inn

“Are you sure this isn’t the large dog section of the park?” – Photo by @parker_zoe_dog

After your canine companion has gotten over the shock of seeing the world’s largest beagles in a field, he can play fetch in the grass and join you for a tour of the grounds. The mountains in the distance and prairie land as far the eye can see make a wonderful backdrop for his afternoon walk.

a room at Dog Bark Park Inn

I dream of dogs! Photo by Airbnb

Inside Sweet Willy, read Fido a bedtime story out of one of the many dog-centric books on display in the library. The doggy details continue through every nook and cranny. See if you can identify every breed in the headboard that has been carefully decorated with 26 individually carved hounds.

During the day, tell Sweet Willy to stay while you take your bite-sized bounder on a hike along Puffer Butte Trail. The moderate trek leads to epic views of mountains and towering pine forests.

a dog with a souvenir at Dog Bark Park Inn bed

The perfect souvenir. Photo by BringFido

Before you leave, make sure to visit  the on-site gift shop. Stocked entirely with carvings created by Dennis and Frances, you’ll find dogs of all shapes and sizes to commemorate your trip to the area. After selecting the sculpture that most resembles your pooch, take a walk around the grounds one last time and let Fido say farewell to his two new best friends.

Learn more about the unique story of Dennis and Frances in Sweet Willy: A Noble and Absurd Undertaking.

Travel Tips

Dog Plays in Front of the Dog Bark Park Inn B&B

“If they’re that big, where are Idaho’s giant squirrels?” – Photo by BringFido

Responsible dogs who arrive with their well-behaved humans are welcome to stay with approval from hosts. They need to know details about your dog, including age, breed and temperament, before they give the okay. Furry guests are not permitted to be left in the room unattended and must be leashed during daylight hours due to other visitors exploring. The space is not fenced, so be careful when wandering together. The pet fee is $15 per dog, per stay.

This post from BringFido originally appeared as Why We’re “Mutts” About Dog Bark Park Inn.