Chester takes over: Doggie diaper bag

This is Chester, Ali and Doug’s puggle. I have taken over blogging duties this week while my human companions are on vacation.

My companion and I were leaving the dog park with a friend one day and I heard my companion mention that since we go out together so very often, she keeps a “doggie diaper bag” stashed in the car. I’m not precisely sure what a diaper is, but I do know that the magic black bag that comes with us whenever we go for a romp has been a life-saver more than once.

You see, I myself am a creature of habit. I prefer to wake up at a set time and go to sleep at a set time. Walks occur at the same time every day and, of course, meals are crucially delivered on time. I would expect nothing less in a properly run household. However, my companions are a bit more spontaneous. Sometimes dinner is delivered at a winery, sometimes at a happy hour, sometimes at a picnic. So I appreciate that they are always prepared.

My companion’s friend inquired what we keep in said diaper bag and it occurred to us that others might find a handy guide to the contents of our pack equally useful. So we took a few pictures and here you go.

Here’s everything we pack. It might seem like quite a lot of stuff, but it does all fit easily within the tote on the left. I have lobbied for some time for a more attractive tote bag, perhaps monogrammed, but we have yet to upgrade.

I told you it all fits.

Since it is quite difficult to see all the component parts, here are each on their own. We start with the essentials: water, food and supplements. The water bottle is often clipped to a belt loop when we go for long walks along with one of the collapsible bowls that fit so tidily.

Food is portioned into ziploc bags for ease of measuring and serving while on the road. Supplements have their own bag. I am unfortunately burdened with allergies so I take Zyrtec daily along with a probiotic and Omega-3 capsules that we obtain at Wylie Wagg.

As a famous man once said, you must always know where your towel is. Mine is used for its usual purpose of mopping up water on outdoor dining chairs, wiping down muddy paws and also as a temporary resting spot when we’re settled in somewhere for a while.
We also keep several mini-packs within the larger pack for times when the full tote would be irritating to carry. These come in particularly handy when we attend festivals like Taste of Arlington or the Christmas parade in Alexandria. My companions have a pack that can be carried as a waist pack or, with some strap adjustment, as a cross-body pack. It typically contains extra necessaries (ed.: Chester’s euphemism for poop pick-up bags), a single food serving, treats (Zukes and Fruitables) and a chew toy. 
I also have a pack that I typically wear on walks and hikes when it isn’t too hot. Here I am in my pack. I think it quite stylish and practical. It typically contains the same as the above pack plus a few extras, which we’ll get to in a moment. I am even more serious than usual when carrying my pack. My companions have also been known to have me carry their IDs, cash and keys in it in a pinch.
While engaged in fine dining that is likely to take more than an hour or so, my companions will often break out activities to keep me from being bored while they chat with friends and linger over dessert. I have requested that they provide copies of the Economist or at least a smart phone instead, but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Injustice, I tell you.
The last bit of hardware that comes in handy is a long lead. Since we never make use of this tool in the house or on our normal walks around the neighborhood, this 30 foot lead resides in the touring tote. As a result, we are always prepared when the dog park gets a bit wild for our tastes (we can run around in deserted fields chasing balls and practicing recalls) and when my companions decide on impromptu picnics in the park. It gives me a measure of freedom to explore that I very much enjoy while out in nature. I’m quite the botanist in fact.

The remaining items we have with us always, generally tucked in my pack or in the plastic outer compartment of our tote bag, are the little bits of paperwork a dog accumulates. The first is a photocopy of my immunization records. We have found that sometimes events geared toward four-foot-kind want proof that I am up-to-date on my shots and registered with the proper authorities.

The second piece of paperwork we always carry is brochures for my favorite dog-related business: Good Dog Workshop. I don’t mind acknowledging that I am most often a very genteel fellow. However, since I had not been raised in society, I required a measure of remedial manners training when I was first brought to Fairfax County. The fine gentlemen who taught my companions how to instruct me in said manners are Mike and Brian, both of whom are quite skilled at interpreting my fears and desires, and even more skilled in teaching proper corrections for those of my behaviors that are not accepted in polite company. Incessant barking, pulling on the leash and overenthusiastic greeting of strangers were my particular sins. I am so much better behaved now than when I first came to my new companions that they are sometimes stopped in the street by the companions of other four-legs who marvel at my good behavior.

As a result, we have taken to carrying Good Dog Workshop brochures with us everywhere we go so that those who need in-home training for themselves and their humans have access to appropriate resources.

And that, my friends, is the secret to our dining out success. By being prepared for nearly every eventuality, we are able spontaneously take side trips, stop for dinner, go for a quick walk in the park or do nearly anything else where dogs are permitted. Truly I tell you, exhort your own companions to put together such a tote for you. Though you might want to request a more classic container. I’m almost embarrassed by the freebie conference tote. Ah well, we can’t have everything.

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