How Our Dog Car Temperature Monitors Might Someday Be Used In National Parks

It happened to some friends of ours just this past weekend.

They were traveling with their dog Toby (perhaps the best dog name ever!) in South Dakota and Wyoming, hitting all of the popular sites such as Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Badlands National Park. These attractions aren’t too far a drive from Denver, only around 6.5 hours, so if you’re in the area be sure to head up and check them out.

Anyway, when taking the trip, they weren’t going to pass up Devils Tower National Monument, the first national monument in the United States and one that completely ignores the rules of possessive nouns by omitting the apostrophe in Devils.  400,000 people visit the tower each year, and it played a key role in the 1977 Steven Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This laccolith (aka concordant pluton, if you really want to get fancy) formed when magma pushed up the surrounding ground, cooled, and then became exposed when the surrounding area wore away. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a visit.

But this is a story about dog car temperature monitors. How does that relate to a trip to northeastern Wyoming and Toby?


Dogs Are Allowed...

The National Park Service knows very well that people are traveling with their pets, so they would never outright say that pets aren’t allowed anywhere. Dogs need exercise, and trying to fight people simply trying to make their dogs happy would be a losing battle for the Park Service. There is quite a bit of variance between what is allowed in national parks, national monuments, and national grasslands, so make sure to start here to find out which are the best options for your pet.

At Devils Tower, dogs are allowed along the roadways, parking areas, and in the picnic areas. They are also permitted if you’re staying at the campgrounds, as long as they stay on a leash.

...But Dogs Are Not Allowed On Trail

We completely understand wanting to take your dog along with you on the trails at Devils Tower. Toby’s owners did. There are some excellent trails, including an easy 1.3 mile hike and one that’s just over 3 miles. Dogs, however, aren’t allowed on them.

We have to admit, we understand why. First of all, Devils Tower is a sacred site to many Native American tribes, so it’s not really a place that you want to see people using dog waste bags. Second, there are many crevices in the boulder field of Devils Tower that a pet could get lost in.

Finally, your dogs could be a danger to the wildlife, or the wildlife could be a danger to your dogs. There are occasional sightings of black bears and big cats, but small dogs could be attacked by bald eagles or falcons. As the Park Service says on this page:

“We recognize the passion many pet owners have with their pets on family adventures. We also understand the concerns that many pet owners express on the availability of pet-friendly areas within park boundaries. There are many reasons that national parks have restrictions on pets. Concerns at Devils Tower include the safety of park visitors, the safety of pets from environmental hazards (i.e. porcupines, mothers protecting young, and insects), and the protection of the resources. Some pets are considered predators to park animals and cause stress to park wildlife.”

Do people break the rules? Most certainly. Toby’s companions saw a couple of purse dogs on the trail, ones that can be hidden if a park ranger comes along. We’ll mention again that any dog small enough to fit in a purse could end up as food should it run off.


But You Can’t Leave Your Dog In the Car

While being gone for a couple of hours on a trail might not seem like long, it can certainly be a long time for a pet stuck in a car. Most people visit national parks in the summer, and we can’t think of a national park that doesn’t get very hot during the middle of the day. In fact, you’ll find something like this on all park sites:

“Pets may not be left unattended. Extreme temperatures in vehicles may cause suffering and death to pets.”

Nobody wants a pet to suffer in a hot car, so we completely understand why they’d implement these rules. In fact, even if you used the PuppComm dog care temperature monitor and our sticker on the window, we bet you’d get into some trouble if you left your dog in the vehicle in an obvious place. But there are times, such as early morning, when it’s perfectly reasonable to leave a pup in the car for half-an-hour. The question can be asked...


Where Does PuppComm Come In?

There is cellular service at Devils Tower, and cell service is getting more and more common at national parks and monuments. In some ways this is a bad thing; after all, parks are a place many people go to get away from technology. But in other ways, making sure a park is cell-service enabled can help people who are lost or injured.

Here’s our plan. We know that people are interested in our product and can’t wait to get their hands on it when it launches in the fall of 2018. Once they get their hands on it and start putting the stickers on their car, thereby letting everyone know that the dog inside is indeed being monitored, other people will want one and buy a PuppComm of their own. After enough people get their PuppComm stickers and it becomes ubiquitous at national parks, we bet the Park Service will take notice and start allowing a monitored dog to stay in the vehicle. (If you think that the Park Service doesn’t take notice of technology, then you don’t know how swiftly they put the kibosh on drones!)


What About Now?

Let’s say you’re traveling with your dog and you get to a place that doesn’t allow them. If you have to hike the trail — and we can’t blame you for wanting to get out and take a hike — then boarding might be a good option. Even remote places like Devils Tower have small towns nearby where you can board your dog for the day. While it’s not as easy as using the PuppComm, it will be worth it if it allows you to get more out of your vacation. (In the end, Toby’s owners compromised and took the paths one at a time while the other person stayed with Toby.)


Let’s Get The PuppComm Going!

We invented the PuppComm because we wanted to spend more time traveling with our dog in a sometimes dog-unfriendly world. We also want to save dogs’ lives, and to be honest we’d love to see the PuppComm take off and become one of the most popular dog car travel accessories out there. If you’re ready to make the most of your time with your dog, check out the PuppComm right here!