Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Road Trip to Salt Lake City

Tuesday I hit the road for a work trip to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the Blog Paws conference. Being that I work in the pet industry, and it is a pet blogger event, I decided to bring Sheldon along for the conference, which is why I chose to drive instead of fly. Sheldon's brother Duncan is staying at home in Palm Springs with family so he won't be lonely. Sheldon took the 11 hour drive like a champ. He took in most of the scenery and seemed to enjoy the pit-stops we made along the way. 
For instance, when we passed by the Grand Canyon area, the view was so stunning that I decided to pull over to admire the beauty of the landscape. We took a few minutes to stretch our legs and breathe the fresh air...Sheldon was even inspired to go potty while he enjoyed the view. Soon we were on our way again and made out way through Utah's vast open lands. I used the time to catch up on business calls. 
In fact I think I was on the phone for at least eight of the eleven hours drive time. Fortunately, Sheldon helped me out of speeding ticket. The nice police officer took one look at Sheldon in the back seat and was totally taken by Sheldon's charm and good manners, so he let me off easy. Whew! I did slow it down, and was more careful with my driving, but the rest of the trip still seemed to go by in no time at all. Soon we arrived in Salt Lake City, and I took Sheldon on a much deserved, long walk to burn off some steam. We walked through the City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City, looking for a place with outdoor seating so I could have dinner. 
Cheesecake Factory = BAD & Not Pet Friendly!
We found a Cheesecake Factory restaurant with an outdoor, sidewalk patio table area. I entered the patio dining area from the gate on the sidewalk--not through the inside restaurant. I asked the hostess for a table, and she promptly informed me that I could not bring my dog in. I agreed that yes, I wanted to sit at the outside tables, on the sidewalk, which is right next to parked cars along the street. I was refused entry to the outdoor, sidewalk patio by the hostess. She told me I could tie my dog to the tree on the sidewalk and have a table on the patio if I wanted. Can you imagine? I was mortified by even the suggestion. I told her that I would either dine with my dog on the outdoor patio, or I wouldn't dine at Cheesecake Factory at all. She reiterated that my dog was not welcome. Initially I was shocked. Maybe Salt Lake City has some super strict ordinances that dogs are not permitted even at outdoor, patio seating restaurants...I'll have to look into that. But in the meantime, I've decided not to patronize The Cheesecake Factory anymore. There are plenty of other places I can spend my money. So my request to you, dear reader is to also boycott the Cheesecake Factory too. 

On a positive note, we went back to our hotel, the Hilton in downtown Salt Lake City, which IS pet friendly! They welcomed Sheldon warmly, and were super nice to us as we got checked into the room. To all business executives and corporate managers who might see this post: You will earn my deepest loyalty when you adopt pet friendly policies. I am fiercely loyal to places that welcome my dog as I travel. Take heed, and get with it. Pets have become part of the family unit, and I choose to spend my consumer dollars at businesses that acknowledge this growing trend. Enough of my rant. After a full day's journey, it was nice to settle in for the evening at the comfy Hilton with Sheldon for a good night's rest. Thank you, Hilton for always making me feel welcome. PS: Sheldon thanks you too.

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