Last week we decided to take Baxter to the big city for a holiday weekend mini-vacation in Portland, Oregon. We stayed at the 5th Avenue Suites, a dog-friendly Kimpton hotel. As we checked-in, Baxter was given a warm welcome by the hotel staff and his name was put up on the chalkboard in the hotel's well-appointed lobby. Bax is an experienced traveler, however our road trip digs are usually of a more discount variety, so this was a treat. We ate at outdoor restaurants, where Baxter was allowed to lay down at our feet (thanks to the Monks of New Skete's The Art of Raising a Puppy we taught Bax early-on to behave himself under the dinner table). I was pleased to find so many places where dogs were welcome to sit outside. It almost felt like we were in Europe. I must express my disappointment, however, that some of our favorite Portland area McMenamin's pubs, restaurants and hotels are NOT dog-friendly, even if they have large green lawns and plenty of places to safely tie up dogs away from food areas. They have great ales, by the way, if you are ever traveling without a pet, but they've lost a few points on my "best places" list.
Our friends (the ones who took us to the dog show where we first met a Griff...) invited us to their lovely home to celebrate the 4th of July. As Baxter played with their Portuguese Water Dog, Phoebe, we discovered that our dogs really are middle-aged. Phoebe, who is eight, and Bax used to create a small whirlwind when they got together. But this time they just followed each other around the house, occasionally rubbed noses and took turns barking at the fireworks.