Four months ago, I would not have given a damn about this story.
Caesars Palace, Imperial Palace and Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino now allow guests to bring along their canine companions for a nightly fee of $20 to $25, depending on the hotel.
The fees cover in-room amenities such as food and water dishes and doggie treats. Up to two dogs, each weighing 50 pounds or less, are allowed per room. When unattended, the dogs must be “crated.” (Cages are available for an additional charge.) Designated outdoor areas for exercise and urinating/crapping are provided.
Instead of reading this article and nodding in approval, just a few short months ago, I would have turned my nose up in blind self-interest (I am an American after all) and declared "Who in the HELL would be so stupid as to take their dogs to a hotel with them?".
"Gee Rex, what changed? Did you and my mother have a hard time getting a room the last time she was in town?"
Well, yes, but that wasn't the turning point.
When I set off on my relocation endeavor at the end of July, I had an extremely difficult time finding a place to stay because I had my black bitch with me ... a 20lb female mutt that I rescued from the side of a North Las Vegas street last winter.
Honestly, I didn't think the dog thing would be a problem. I figured that we would just stay in motels instead of hotels (Holiday Inn, etc), and everything would be cool. After all, how picky could a Holiday Inn near an I-84 off-ramp in Twin Falls, Idaho be?
As it turns out ... very picky.
For the entire duration of my move, I was turned away from inn after inn after inn ... even the crappy ones. I finally knew EXACTLY how Mary and Joseph felt when they were toting Jesus around the desert.
There was one place in particular that absolutely astonished me. A half-boarded up place in Vancouver, Washington for $29/night. I went into the office, walked up to the clerk who was sitting behind bulletproof glass, and asked her how much extra it would cost if I checked in with a small dog.
Her reply was swift and firm:
"No dogs allowed!"
This place was clearly the domicile of hoes, johns, and meth heads, and the clerks feared enough for their lives that they had to sit behind bullet-barriers -- but the one, ONE policy they adhered to was a banishment of canines. They must have had one hell of a bad experience with dogs at one point.
Unfortunately, this scenario was repeated time, and time, and time again. I spent an inordinate amount of the day finding a place that would accept my canine, and when I did find them, they often wanted ridiculous sums of money (up to double the price of the room), just so my dog could sleep in a cage at the foot of the bed for 7 hours. Note that I said "cage" and not "crate". "Crate" is a word dog-lovers like to use to make themselves feel better about sticking their dogs in cages, but I choose not to participate in this little delusion. The Clark County Detention Center by any other name is still a goddamn jail.
Anyway ... one day my luck ran out and I knew conclusively that I could no longer continue travelling with my pet.
After spending the day in Seattle, I drove back to Portland at about 1am, and could not find a hotel. The ones that had accepted my dog before were full, and the only ones that were left had a strict no-dog policy. Being so late on a weeknight, I didn't want to call any people I knew to crash at their place, so I did the only thing I could do ... I booked a room for the other humans in my party while I slept in a minivan in the hotel parking lot with a black bitch who woke me up periodically to lick my face.
On the bright side, what used to cost me $150/hour was now free, but I knew that something had to give.
The next day, I took my dog to a friend's house on a hill in Northwest Portland, and asked if she could dogsit for a month or so. Fortunately, my friend was ecstatic, and she was still quite happy even after I withdrew. Since my dog is cool (how could she not be, she's my dog?), my freind agreed to the arrangement without hesitation, and we've more or less shared joint custody ever since. When I know I'm going to be home a lot, the dog stays with me, if I know that I'm going to be busy, the dog stays in Stumptown.
Once I relieved myself of the dog, my travels became oh-so-much easier, and I now have a great deal of empathy for you dog travelers out there. I was astounded at the level of discrimination I encountered toward these pets. Even small pets that sleep in a cage and which really don't bother anyone are not welcome. I understand that the animals can be a nuisance, but honestly, I'd rather be in a room next to dogs than a room with 4 kids in it.
As such, I for one welcome this policy. I'm still not exactly sure why someone would want to bring their dog on a Las Vegas vacation, but I don't have to understand something to support it. Perhaps people cannot find a dogsitter, perhaps people don't trust a dogsitter, perhaps people don't want a minimum-wage dog walker to plunder through and possibly rob their house when they are gone ... whatever. Choice is always good.
Also, I am glad to see that the added cost is quite reasonable. I've had fleabag motels quote me up to $75/night for my dog, so in my opinion, $25 at a four star place is a steal. Especially when you factor in the doggie treats and designated exercise areas ... which is more than most motels will give you.
And so it is. Dog lovers rejoice. For an extra $40-$50 per weekend, your pet can now accompany you as you indulge in all the 6:5 Blackjack Harrah's has to offer.
Kudos to Harrah's for initiating this program.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go pick up a black bitch on the northwest side of Portland so that we can have a little fun this weekend.
While there, I may drop by and see my dog, too.