"We have created memories that will last us a lifetime," Lopez said

By Mario Lopez
August 23, 2017 12:50 PM
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Credit: Courtesy Autotrader

It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without my wife, Courtney, and beautiful children – my daughter, Gia, my son, Dominic, and (naturally) our two four-legged children, Julio and Juanita.

The truth is I’ve always wanted dogs – and of course, children, however, back when I was single and constantly traveling and working, I felt bad getting a dog as I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to give it the attention it deserved.

Once I got married to Courtney, my dreams of having a dog finally came true when we got our first French Bulldog, Julio Cesar Chavez Lopez (Julio for short), who is seven years old. A few years later, the Lopez family grew a bit with the addition of the now-three-year-old Juanita Manuela Marquez Lopez (who is also a French Bulldog).

Both Julio and Juanita are little members of our family and truly enhance our family’s lives. They sleep and watch TV with us and we even incorporate them into our Halloween costumes and parties – they’ve dressed up as everything from the Wizard of Oz characters to Yoda. Having these two amazing dogs has truly complemented our family life, especially with our children. When our kids were babies, Julio and Juanita were great with them. They watched over them, played with them and became very protective of them. Now that the kids are a little older, the reverse has happened; the kids are incredible with the dogs and in a sense, they have grown up together.

Family road trips are a blast to begin with but with the additions of our four-legged family members, Julio and Juanita, they have become that much better! People often ask how Courtney and I manage road trips with two kids and two dogs and I have to say it is a lot of fun, but there are some important things to think about when bringing our furry family with us.

Kids are “easy” – iPads, snacks, games and more snacks. For dogs, I needed some help. I looked no further than to the folks at Autotrader, the online car shopping destination for anyone looking to find and buy their next car, including dog owners like me looking for guidance on the cars that are best suited for pups and for great tips for traveling with your dog.”

Here are a few of my favorite tips that we have found the most helpful:

1. If your pup still needs time to get used to the bumps on the road, never underestimate the power of short rides and treats to get them on board. A few quick stops — to a dog park, or a stop at a pet supply store for a treat – can go a long way to ease their nerves. Julio and Juanita practically jump out the door when we pull over at a grassy area with other pups!

2. Pets love fresh air, and we’re all familiar with the sight of a furry face and sloppy tongue drooling out the window. But don’t do it. Make sure you buy a harness or carrier that can be belted in, or a crate, and have your dogs seated in the backseat or cargo area. This will keep them and you safe.

3. If you want to ensure a breezy trip, take a break. Keep your pup from becoming antsy with lots of leg stretch time.

4. Everyone knows to bring those must-have items for the kids, but don’t forget to pack a travel bag for your pup stuffed with essentials like medication, food, bottle water, toys, an extra leash, etc.

With National Dog Day coming up this weekend (August 26th), I highly recommend celebrating by taking your dog on the road. In addition to the great tips it provides, for this year’s holiday, my go-to resource Autotrader created a really unique and fun product called the “New Dog Smell” car air freshener. It’s a lovable puppy-inspired scent that helps you relive that first ride home with your dog. I got a couple of them and they actually remind me of the smell of Julio and Juanita after we pick them up from the groomer.

The well-being and support of dogs in need is an initiative close to my heart, as well as my family’s and is something I think everyone should take part in. That is why I was happy to learn that for every “New Dog Smell” air freshener given out, Autotrader will donate to Adopt-a-Pet.com to help support the well-being of our four-legged friends – the real mission at the heart of National Dog Day.

If I can leave you with one final piece of advice, it would be to cherish the moments you have with your family – from your wife and your kids to your four-legged family members. My family and I have learned a lot about ourselves by having these two amazing dogs along for the ride over the years; we have created memories that will last us a lifetime.