Airlines, hotels accommodating more traveling pets

BY ERIN CONROY

The Associated Press

More than 29 million Americans say they’ve traveled with their pets in the last three years, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. So what are the best options for keeping your pooch comfortable on the road?

Andrea Arden, pet expert and dog behavior columnist for The New York Dog and Dog Fancy magazines, says airlines and hotels are increasingly upgrading their pet accommodations.

“Because there is such a high demand for pet travel arrangements, companies are starting to realize that pets are so important to people – often as important as other family members,” said Arden, author of “On the Road with Your Pet.”

Some hotels offer dog-walking concierges and pet behaviorists on staff, while a few even hold special events like doggie cocktail parties. Certain airlines allow pets in carriers to be stored under a passenger’s seat, and an industry of pet taxis is growing so that Fluffy can travel by himself.

Some car insurance companies even offer injury coverage for pets. But the best way to protect your pet in your car is to keep them in a crate, or buy a fleece-lined seat belt strap or booster seat – which will give them enough height to gaze out the window.

“The image of your dog’s head rested out the window with its ears flapping in the wind is charming, but it can be very dangerous,” Arden said. “If you are safely secured and your children are, then your pet should be too.”

Love hurts

Money can’t buy you love; in fact, it’s likely the root of your relationship problems.

Nearly 60 percent of American couples said in a recent survey that they argue over money at least once a month – more than they bicker over sex or household responsibilities.

The online poll of 1,500 people, conducted for PayPal, also found that while about half of U.S. couples share a bank account, nearly one in four use online shopping as a way to keep their partners in the dark about what they are buying. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, 71 percent of couples are more likely to have separate bank accounts.

The survey found that while couples tend to have their first argument over social habits or jealousy, financial disputes are ongoing. Still, 80 percent of couples said they were happy overall with how finances are managed in their household.

Street biz tips

Carr Hagerman knows how to juggle the demands of being a business owner. He also knows how to juggle.

Hagerman, co-author of the recently published book “Top Performer: A Bold Approach to Sales and Service,” says that his years as a street performer in Minneapolis have helped him develop strategies to establish connections with customers, co-workers and superiors.

“It’s about claiming a pitch and claiming a voice, and really owning it,” said Hagerman, who has owned and managed retail stores, restaurants and a special events production company. “Engaging people is such a big part of being a leader and a manager.”

In the book, Hagerman and Stephen Lundin give tips on how to “build a circle,” or attract a target audience; “juice the jam,” or overcome a breakdown in communication; and “develop insurance,” a vaudeville term for “that extra something so that when the time comes, you can pull it out of your pocket and you’ll know it works,” Hagerman said.

The goal is not about teaching a business person to act like a street performer, but to find subtle ways to draw people in and solve problems deftly.

“The goal is to get people hooked,” Hagerman said. “What better language is there for that than the language of a street performer?”