Travel Michigan Part 1: The Rochester Writer’s Conference with the dog

vic-in-bandanaEvery fall I make a pilgrimage to the Rochester’s Writers Conference in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It’s one excellent day of writing-related seminars on topics from character development in fiction to self-publishing for non-fiction writers. Six sessions plus lunch and a keynote speaker makes the three-hour drive worth it.

It has nothing to do with dogs. Yet my terrier Victor came with me.

That’s right. I took my trusty travelling terrier to a writer’s conference.

How did he like it?

Well, he didn’t actually attend. But the weekend trip gave me the chance to do two things:car_cuddler

  1. Test drive Victor’s new Solvit Car Cuddler dog seat I received from the company for review.
  2. Answer the question I am often asked about travelling with dogs:

What do you do with the dog on the road when you want to go places he can’t?

Clearly, leaving pups in hotel rooms is not a good idea – and rarely an option according to most hotel policies, even if the company is pet-friendly.

Here are some suggestions:

Hire a Sitter – Hotels with a concierge often offer this service, whether for kids or pets. They’ll find you someone who’ll sit (and even walk) the dog at the hotel for a few hours. One manager told me he often asks the restaurant staff (hey, they’re already making your food) if they want to make some extra cash playing with a dog after their shift and he’s always gotten a taker.

Phone the Vet – Local vet clinics often offer boarding and will sometimes keep your pet for a few hours (or the day) during regular office times.

Book a Boarding Facility – Research local pet boarding businesses in the area you’ll be visiting and call before your trip to book a day of doggie daycare, or even kennel boarding.

In Michigan, I did the last one with Victor. I researched online a number boarding facilities in the Rochester Hills area, emailed them and one got back to me: the All American Pet Resort. It looked great in photos and was minutes from the dog-friendly Red Roof Inn on Crooks Road I stay at with Victor. That Red Roof Inn is newly renovated, has great rates, and there’s no extra charge for pets.michigan-pet-boarding

The All American Pet Resort was accommodating, accepted vaccination papers via email and even allowed me a late pick up time so I could join friends for dinner after the conference. I could have left Victor overnight, but didn’t want to because having him with me is one of the joys of staying at Red Roof Inn (Pet-friendly accommodations are available at every Red Roof Inn. Book Now!)

True, booking online is risky, but turns out this place was awesome. Located in a large building in a small industrial park, the All American Pet Resort is beautifully designed, clean and sleek. Glass rooms are available for lots of running space along with traditional ‘suites’ in the large industrial room grouped in pods of six under a webcam.

You can log in during the day and watch your pup anytime, even if he’s outdoors in the running area. (Unfortunately, camera five above Victor didn’t work the day he was there, but the five others did).

Running time in the indoor or outdoor play area is included in the $25 fee. If you wanted to see the entire facility before you leave, step up the glass viewing area that oversees the entire facility. Bring your own food and bed, but there are cots in each pen.

vic-with-bandana-2Victor didn’t hesitate to follow the staff to his back suite, nor was he when I picked him up after his twelve-hour stay. Evening staff was incredibly friendly, asked when I’d be back, and made sure Victor went home with his All American Pet Resort bandana.

Day one of our Rochester Writer’s Conference trip to Michigan went well. But what about the ride there? Did Victor love his Solvit Car Cuddler?

To find out, stay tuned for our next edition of dogtrotting on Wednesday. (Spoiler alert: that too was awesome)

Check out Travelling in Michigan Part II and Travelling in Michigan Part III (it gets icky).


  1. […] and that means one thing: our annual trip to Michigan, specifically Rochester, Michigan also known as cider mill central. Of course, I took my dog, so […]

  2. […] of dog-friendly adventures we’ve had(check out our first here), doggie daycare available at the All-American Pet Resort, Dog Bowl annual festival in Frankenmuthand pet-friendly Mackinac Island, one of our favourite […]

  3. […] is becoming one of my favourite shop-with-your-dog locations. Maybe it’s the bi-annual Rochester Writer’s Conference we attend; maybe it’s the number of dog festival like Dog Bowl; maybe it’s the dog-friendly […]

  4. […] we spent the weekend at the Red Roof Inn in Rochester Hills, Michigan. We’re here to attend the Rochester Writer’s Conference as we do every […]

  5. […] This year, I brought my terrier Victor – not to the conference, but on this trip because this state, particularly around Rochester, Clinton County, and Sterling Heights, has some interesting dog-friendly places to visit and even shop. While I was at the conference, Victor stayed at the All American Pets Resort, and I’d do it again. (Check out Travel Michigan Part One). […]

  6. FiveSibesMom · · Reply

    Great tips! Tweeting and sharing on my “Bark About” Pinterest board.

  7. Where to leave the dogs when travelling & we want to go out for dinner or other place that won’t allow dogs is always a consideration. When we travel we always look for a PetSmart Pets hotel nearby. I feel safer there than with a sitter in the hotel room. Good suggestions, thanks.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Checking out a brand name dog boarder is probably a good idea while travelling, especially when you’ve worked with that brand before. Unless there’s something really special about a property, I feel that way about hotels too.

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