Sneaking into Hotels: How To Outfox the Front Desk Dragon-Lady to Get Your Pet in the Room With You

Sneaking into Hotels: How To Outfox the Front Desk Dragon-Lady to Get Your Pet in the Room With You

By Roy MacNaughton

I’ll bet I’ve snuck into some of the best hotels in the world. You name them in Orlando, Miami, Boca Raton, Seattle, Toronto, Houston, Denver, Aspen, Portland, Vancouver, Whistler, or San Antonio…I’ve been there.With my dogs and ferrets, that is. Yes, I must confess that at one time, as I traveled around North America, with two toy poodles, later with two ferrets, I had no choice but to sneak them into hotels, motels, inns, and resorts when traveling for both business and pleasure. In those days, it was tricky work, especially with the two toy poodles. My wife had to distract the front desk personnel so I could sneak in a back door, zip down the hall to the room we had just checked into, then in a flash glide into the room, calm them down, pleading with the younger one, not to bark. Whew!Spenser, the little barker, always was a yappy cuss. He gave me no end of anxiety. Katy was older, wiser, and almost Queen-like.

She understood that she didn’t need to exert her authority over everyone and everything around her, so she was mostly quiet. Sometimes, we had to wait for nightfall to provide more cover. We would reconnoiter the surroundings, check out all the available entry points, calculate the distance from the entrance to our room, or even choose a room by specific number when checking in, because we knew it was closest to the entrance in the back parking lot. This ‘scoping out’ exercise was not just to get them into the hotel, but also to facilitate the night pee and poop breaks too. I’ll never forget the Saturday night of my 50th birthday. We were in the little town of Ouray, Colorado. It’s half way between Durango and Montrose on highway 550. Ouray is named after a famous Indian Chief in the area, and advertises itself as the “Switzerland of America”. It is a neat little spot in a circular canyon, surrounded by immense vertical cliffs. There are not that many hotels or motels in town, so we had to quickly pick one that was a bit back from the main road through town, so we would not be seen by passersby, who might blow the whistle.

This incident is special in my memory, since, as I said, it was my 50th, and we were planning on a nice celebration dinner in a restaurant on the main drag. But after nightfall, it was starting to get cold, so we didn’t dare leave the two poodles in the vehicle, since they would get cold and might start to whine. The woman who owned or managed this motel was a real ‘dragon lady’. She had accusingly asked me three different times if I had pets. I knew that if she heard them in the room, we were toast.

It took a while to get them both calmed down and we took the chance of going out for dinner. It worked, since we weren’t thrown out when we returned. But around midnight, I had to take them both out for the final constitutional. We had been forced onto the second floor, a walk-up stairs (I did the walking, holding one in each arm) and this was trickier in the dark of the back stairwell. I nearly fell forward, flat on my face, twice tripping over my own feet. I made it, by sheer luck, got the necessary business conducted, and then safely back into our room, without being seen. When dawn arrived, with full light, we had to sneak them out of this hotel, quickly, so this woman was not chasing us down the street. She looked and sounded like someone who would. I didn’t want to press my luck or push her overly-officious, little Napoleonic-like buttons. We got the entire vehicle packed carefully – that means I did it all, while my wife kept the two of them quiet as mice – and then in a flash, with one each in our arms, the two of us raced for the car, fired up the engine, and shot out of there by way of a back street, burning rubber, before the dragon lady could ever know. Sneaking ferrets into lodging establishments is much easier.

Ferrets are prized as pets, especially in condos and apartments. They don’t bark or meow or make any noise. All poop breaks are conducted within the confines of their cage. We would carry them in a nice ‘Sherpa’ bag (meant for small dogs or cats) and they were just fine. However,standing there lying like some impersonator to the front desk clerk, is not a thing of which I am proud. This anxiety and extra stress has now disappeared. I discovered Pets Can This is a unique pet-friendly web site and free travel service, where hundreds of lodging establishments that welcome and honor pets allow you to stay in the same room with your pets. Not every hotel can join this group. To become a member of their system, each establishment must adhere to certain pet and guest-oriented standards that ensure the traveling pet owners’ best interests, and those of her or his pet(s). Sure I know that there are hundreds of “pet-friendly online directories,” but how do you know what you’ll get until you arrive? What ‘surprises’ are waiting? How will you know for sure that the standards of accommodation you seek for both you and your pet(s) will be met?

To my way of thinking, Pets Can Stay provides some “quality assurance” in that aside from the website, and the services they provide, the Pets Can Stay certification logo provides travelers with “peace of mind” by letting them know that this particular lodging establishment will provide them and their pet with excellent hospitality and service. With this company I have no anxiety regarding what I will find when I get there. This means a lot to me and thousands who travel with their pets. The very best part is I no longer have to fight the hotel dragon ladies of North America. I no longer have to sneak around like a member of the 82nd Airborne on night maneuvers. It’s a big sigh of relief, and just one less nasty problem to worry about when traveling.

©Copyright, Roy MacNaughton, 2006

Roy MacNaughton is a niche marketing coach and business writer. He’s a seasoned marketer, with more than 30 years of international marketing experience, including nine years online. His new e-book, (Marketing Yours), teaches solo practitioners, entrepreneurs and professionals how to market their most important product. Learn more at his blog: For more information on traveling with your pet, go to:

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