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Dog show exhibitor weighs motel rates and convenience against motor home cost and upkeep. Read COMMENTS below.


February 2018

Sherry L. Shivley, Journalist Award Winner


My friend called a Cobblestone Inn to reserve a room for an upcoming dog show. Regular rate for 3 people, double beds, but there was a $50 per night, per dog fee.


She explained we were there for the dog show, showed them my suitcase travel tag (photo) and they dropped the dog fee to a flat $50 for the whole time we were staying, plus $89 a night for us! Not only that, we got the ground floor next to a door. Perfect!


Not all our stays have been as wonderful. Think 3rd floor, no elevator. Or there’s an elevator but it seems like a 20 mile walk from the room. You hope your dog doesn’t have an emergency on the way or in the middle in the night.


We all remember those memorable low-cost accommodations. No AC and its summertime. Or something is alive in the shower. Wind howls under your door. The people next door party all night, and you have an 8 A.M ring call. Idiots walk by your door every hour laughing and yelling and setting off your dogs.


Personally, I try to stay at La Quinta. Most of them are up to date, clean, don’t charge for your dogs, have poop stations in case you forget your bags. If there’s a dog show nearby they are often filled with other dog folks. The problem with La Quinta is that they are not really nationwide but if you bring them up on the internet, you’ll find them from New Mexico to North Carolina to New York.


Recently I have been checking out RV’s. It would serve as a dog hauler and also a place to stay when we visit the Grandkids.


Unless you get one that was built in the 70’s they are pretty pricey. On one hand, you don’t have to worry about bringing home bugs, rude people in halls, or overpriced rooms. On the other, there is the price of the vehicle. Depending on a Class C or B, how many miles it has on it and the condition, a motor home can run from $5000 to $500,000 or more. Then figure in insurance, fuel (diesel is higher than gas for some odd reason) stocking it, upkeep, winterizing a motor home, then getting it ready for use in the spring, heavy duty tires, batteries, generator, and new or used RV, there’s remodeling for crates.


Most hotels I have looked at in Colorado that are midrange, which means I consider them clean and safe to stay in, run about $200 a night. If they also charge “per dog per night” and some facilities charge a nonrefundable damage deposit. If you show away from home more than once a month, that motor home is looking a lot better.


Of course you will still have neighbors beside you but dog show people try to get along. After all, you are all there for the same thing. You may have a dog bark at night, but mine bark at home. If someone is messing around near my Mobile Casa, I want to know about it.


I would like to hear from all you dog show warriors, Pros and Cons for both motel and motor home. Help us decide if we should buy our own place to sleep, or stay away from the extra work.  Dog Bless!



COMMENTS HAVE CLOSED, thanks to our readers for their replies, please see below.


Fred (Mr.GSD): When I was a handler in the late `60s and early `70s, I would take a VW "Microbus"-load of dogs to Ontario Canada and other showsites within driving distance from Toledo, and camp out on the show grounds. Often I would have a couple Tervs, a couple GSDs, one or two Corgis, a miniature Poodle, Whippet, etc. and could fit around 8 large and medium-size dogs by turning the larger crates on their sides (I had removed the middle-row bench seat and the bottom half of the last-row seat. Still had room for the rolled-&-folded-up pup tent that I and my young son slept in. At night, the dogs slept under the stars (or if the weather was a little inclement, under tarps) --- If weather was really bad, we'd use the tent to cover the crates and the two of us would sleep in the cargo space we had used for the crates while on the road. My clients were not wealthy, motels were economically out of the question even if (rarely) they would accept dogs. On the occasion when I had just one --or rarely two-- of my own GSDs, I would ask for a room "away from traffic noise" (in back) and sneak the dog(s) into & out of the room --- which by the way, we kept absolutely clean. My own dogs were mature enough and trained enough not to bark at noises when we went out to a restaurant.


Bill: I traded for a 4104 "greyhound" bus longer ago than I care to remember. Best thing we ever did. Back then most folks went in vans and roughed it on showgrounds or went to motel. I agree with lady below, even today with diesel priced higher than gas, it moves the big rigs more efficiently.


Darlene: I have done both. Expense in the long run is about the same if you have to board dogs not being shown or pay for a dog sitter. Our 34' gas class A without slide could accomodate six 400 crates double stacked. It had full basement storage which is a must. Our last 40' diesel push with galley slide accomodated up to 12 400 crates double stacked. Also full basement storage. We and dogs were so much more rested and comfortable as it was home. There is a very large dealership in Tampa that you should check out if you are serious about purchasing. I live in the midwest heartland but they had the unit and the DEAL. In May a lot of snowbirds trade so a good deal can be found on just about any size or price range. If you can afford it the diesels are your best options. Parking at show sites are usually quiet by about 10PM, except for arrival night and wake up about 5:30 to 6am. Fresh coffee & breakfast after EXing dogs cannot be beat.


Deborah: I am looking at an RV as well. I have stayed at Motel 6 with great luck for decades, but now they have a two dog only rule and they really kick up the nightly room charge, think $$$$$$$, when the dog shows are in town. When I retire I will be hitting the dog shows more than once a month plus the dogs and I LOVE taking road trips so it will not be used just for dog shows. I also show my cats as well.. The RV means that I can bring all the critters with me whether cat or dog show which eliminates pet sitter fees. Also, the RV means I will have somewhere safe to keep all the animals. I have gone back and forth for years, but with so many places becoming less pet friendly that RV is looking better and better. Looking at a 27' RV and will tow a CRV behind.


Stella: As cat shows are often held inside hotels, I am for staying away from any extra work.


Christine: I have also done hotel and RV, the last few years have been in the RV. Just recently I had to stay in a Quality Inn, which was nice but as someone else stated, people walking by talking kept setting the dogs off. They did charge an additional fee for having the dogs. Plus with an RV, my xpen is set up right out side no need to take them on a walk. Also its much nicer when weather permits to be able to sit outside and relax also allowing the dogs to be out. I can cook and save money instead of having to eat out. So for me if there is a little more cost to stay in my RV I will take it and enjoy the comfort for my self and the dogs.



Andy Frank: How well I remember the times Fred describes. Back when it was a labor of love and money. Yes we got paid most of the time but we did it because we loved the dogs.


Joan Yerkie: Why I don't like motels (have experienced all on this list):

- Noisy neighbors, often well into the night when you HAVE to get to sleep due to early show time.

- Loud TV

- Loud talking

- Dogs barking (owners gone to casino?)

- "Honeymooners" thumping their headboard against your wall several times during the night

- Moaning, screaming, etc. from the above "honeymooners".

- Noisy pipes from neighbor taking shower

- They're having a party!

- Price. They can be very pricey, depending on location.

- Shady business

- Prostitutes bringing their tricks there.

- Police checking the grounds, looking in bushes, etc. when you get up in the morning.

- Bed bugs!

- Dirty carpets, bedspreads, bathrooms.

- Hauling all your clothes, food, toiletries, dog stuff into the room

- then hauling it all back out again in a couple days.

- Packing and unpacking your vehicle.

- Much more I'm not remembering right now.

     The most negative thing about the RV's I think is the cost. But, hey, we only live once, why put up with all that motel love we hate? We personally have a diesel motorhome big enough to take all our dogs if need be. We have x-pens, ground mats, grill, pop-ups, show clothes, dog show supplies, food basics, etc always in there, just have to load some perishable food and casual clothing and we're ready to take our 2nd home on wheels to the show!


Edwina: I think we should share info on the clubs that are ripping us off for MH parking. I remember when we first started going in the RV no one charged, they were just glad we were there with multiple entries. Now they charge too much for everything. We know costs have gone up, fair enough but they haven't quadrupled! $10 entry fees now $40 and free parking no longer exists so if our fees go up that much nobody can make be believe that site rentals haven't become extra income for the clubs. My club struggles but we are here for the dogs and the exhibitors, not for profit!


Nancy: I've lusted after having a motor home since seeing them at shows in the 70s. But doing cost analysis, of fuel, extra insurance, expense of upkeep, and storage when not in use (can't park on street in our neighborhood), it hasn't been feasible. Still cheaper to stay in Motel 6 or LaQuinta. I do find the charges per dog per day rediculous, when people claim fake service animals get the charge waived. I do avoid some of the Motel 6 places after bad experiences and will drive an extra half hour to stay in better run ones. We only travel with one or two dogs at a time but our two are much better behaved than many "so called comfort/service/therapy" dogs I've seen. Traveling in my minivan, I can toss in a weekend bag, dog food and not have the hassle of prepping the motor home with food, water, and finding dump stations.


Bill: We have used an RV since '92. We have carried up to 7 large breed dogs. The dogs and I are comfortable because we are always at home. We sleep in our own bed and cook our meals. All the grooming stuff travels with us. We now travel from show to show and overnight between shows at the show sites. We try to do 2 or 3 shows a month. We have friends that gave up the RV for motels and were back in a RV within 6 months. A downside is the RV fees charged by some clubs. I have stayed at show sites at $90/night and then have the cost drop to $25/night after the show. The dogs get excited when we start loading the RV. Yes, I still stay in motels, this past weekend had a high wind forecast and I only took 2 dogs staying at La Quinta. EST 2002 © 1802



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