Outdoor summer favorite things and fun with your dogs.
In a soon-to-be-released study by the outdoor adventure brand, Kurgo found that 88.3% of American dog owners brought their dog on vacation last summer. Of those who brought their dog, 58% say it is because their dog is a member of the family and 27% say it is because it’s more fun traveling with their dog! I don’t have any science to back this up, but I would bet LGBTQ people traveled with their dogs even more than our straight/cisgender counterparts because as I’ve often talked about here our dogs (and other pets) are often even more important part of our families than for straight folks because for many of us they are the only family we have. Without a doubt traveling with my dogs is my favorite way to vacation. I’m not what you would call “outdoorsy” but if you add dogs I become very excited about outdoor adventures, hiking etc.
One thing I love about summer is getting to spend time with my partner and our dogs, getting out into nature enjoying the weather. That said, as a queer family, I worry a lot about our safety when we are in rural or isolated areas. Especially since the 2016 election, I am particularly cautious about how our family will be received in different parts of the country. Every summer my partner and I take our dogs up to Provincetown, Massachusetts our favorite beach town. Our trip isn’t until next month but I’m already dreaming about relaxing with my dogs, unwinding swimming in the beautiful water, with rainbow flags blowing in the sea air. P-town is one of my favorite places in the world – because of how LGBTQ and dog-focused it is. I take safety seriously, for my partner and I and also our dogs. This summer I’ve had the chance to sample a few Kurgo projects – the Baxter Backpack and the G-Train K9 Backpack and would highly recommend both of them if you’re an outdoorsy sort of lesbian and looking for hiking gear for your dogs.
The thing I like most about the Baxter Backpack is that allows my middle pup the chance to have a job on our walks (something she really likes) by carrying the toys she and our puppy play with, as well as carry shells and other “nature souvenirs” we find on our adventures. If you are looking to put a backpack on your dog be sure to start slowly, introducing them to the backpack at home and pairing it with treats and toys, and be sure to limit anything they carry in the pack to things which light-weight. If you want to start adding heavier items to the backpack be sure to speak with your veterinarian first to discuss your dog’s overall health, and suitability for weight training.
My oldest dog, who is also my smallest dog will turn sixteen this summer. Despite his age and size is quite active hiking, swimming and generally keeping up with the big dogs – even surfing on his own inflatable raft when the big dogs are swimming in deep water, but sometimes he gets tired. The G-train backpack lets him keep up with the fun by riding on my back with his own window to the world! I’ve carried a LOT of different dog bags over the years, and this is by far the most comfortable one, not only is it great for hiking, it’s stylish and I could absolutely see myself carrying it to Pride or other outdoor community events I might be bringing my little dog along to.
If you aren’t traveling with your pets, or not all of your pets this summer I suggest finding a pet sitter that is LGBTQ, or a licensed and insured LGBTQ small businesses. Not only is it always good to keep business “in the family” having a LGBTQ culturally competent pet sitter makes things less awkward. On the rare occasions we travel without our pets, or when my partner and I travel with the dogs and need a sitter to stay with our cats, I feel safer knowing the sitter isn’t going to see something queer in my house (like half the books in my library, family pictures, pride gear etc.), gay panic and mistreat my fuzzy babies. If you’re in Brooklyn or San Francisco Bay Area and looking for a queer-friendly pet sitter I recommend Dandy Dogwalker, a queer-owned small business.
Are you and your dogs planning summer fun? Where are your favorite places to travel with your dogs?
About the author:
Sassafras Lowrey is a straight-edge queer punk who grew up to become the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Sassafras’ books—Lost Boi, A Little Queermas Carol, Roving Pack, Kicked Out and Leather Ever After—have been honored by organizations ranging from the National Leather Association to the American Library Association. Sassafras lives and writes in Brooklyn with hir partner, and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Learn more at www.SassafrasLowrey.com