Gayle Martz

How to Take Your Pet Along for the Ride (or Flight)

As travel returns for humans, more of them want to take their animal companions with them on vacation. Here, tips on making that experience a happy one for everyone.

take your pet along

When Caroline Perkins, 61, was planning to fly her springer spaniel Calvin from Sacramento to Seattle a few years ago, she asked her veterinarian for something to help him keep calm in the cargo hold. The sedative had “the opposite effect,” she said, and during the flight the dog chewed a hole the size of his head in his hard plastic carrier.

“Since then, we’ve been driving,” said Ms. Perkins.

Millions of American households adopted a pet during the pandemic when they were stuck at home. Now, as many have started to travel again, they want to take their animals with them.

At Vacasa, a vacation-rental management company, reservations that included guests with dogs this summer were up 59 percent over last. “Pet friendly” has become the third most-used search filter by guests looking for rooms on Hilton Hotels’ website and the “pets allowed” search filter is one of the most popular filters on Vrbo, the home rental site, according to those companies.

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Gayle Martz

Pick Your Pet

gayle martz with parrot

Last week I saw a woman bringing a dog into a senior living facility across the street. My first reaction was that of excitement as she was carrying the dog in a SHERPA Bag, the first soft-sided pet carrier that I invented in the 80s. Yes, even after all these years I still get excited to see people using my brainchild that become a global staple in the pet industry! My second thought was how wonderful it is that animal therapy has become popular among seniors. I have experienced the benefits of pets and the unconditional love they give(especially when going through a transition in life), and I think it is so important for people to recognize joy and happiness animals bring. There are many different pets (not just dogs!) that can positively affect the lives of people.


Birds make a great companion. Think about it. When out in the wild, they typically flock, so it is in their genetic makeup to want to be with others!  Birds also do not require walking or extensive bathing, so can be an ideal companion for someone who prefers to spend more time inside. Birds love to talk, chirp, sing… depending on the breed. If you want to fill your quiet home with some sound, birds will do the trick. Although be careful – while some people could consider the chirping nature-like and therapeutic, others might find it noisy!


If you are looking for a quiet pet, a rabbit might be a good fit for you as they typically make little noise. Rabbits bond closely with their owners, and will become affectionate to you if you have positive interactions with them, like playing, grooming, and cuddling.

Cats Read more

Gayle Martz

Together everyone accomplishes more: Interview with Gayle Martz, founder of Sherpa Pet Trading Company

Gayle and her doggieI recently went one on one with Gayle Martz. Gayle is the founder and former CEO of Sherpa Pet Trading Company, maker of The SHERPA Bag®, the first soft-sided pet carrier officially approved by major airlines.

Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your advice. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. How did you get here? What experiences, failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?

Gayle: My journey began as flight attendant with TWA. I have always loved to travel and experience different foods, cultures, and places. The job also allowed me to pursue my other passion, photography. I was a freelance fashion photographer for high-end brands in the handbag and fashion industry. I photographed Lanvin in Paris, Valentino in Rome, and Adolfo in Milan. Life was good until my flight attendant career came to an abrupt halt on the heels of a corporate raider who took over TWA. His first order of business was to get rid of all flight attendants and hire a new work force. I remember wondering, how am I, and others, going to make it? I was living in Manhattan, the most expensive borough in the most expensive city in the country, and just lost both my revenue streams. And then shortly thereafter, the unthinkable happened. My finance died of a heart attack. All these events left me with no money, no home, and no job. But as they say, the good thing about hitting rock bottom is there’s only one way left to go and that’s UP.  The knowledge I gained from being a flight attendant and my experience as a photographer coupled with the love I had for my dog, SHERPA, who I never wanted to go anywhere without, helped me create a vision for what became the first soft-sided pet carrier, The SHERPA Bag. My signature design was the first of its kind, as the soft-sided pet carrier category did not exist in the world. This bag allowed me to create my multi-million-dollar business, the SHERPA Pet Trading Company, where I served as the CEO until 2016.

How did you come up with your business Idea? What advice do you have for others on how to come up with great ideas?

Gayle: The idea for the SHERPA Bag came to me when I wanted to fly with my dog, SHERPA, from New York to California but she was not allowed in the cabin, so I had no choice but to make the cross-country trip in a car. I started experimenting with dimensions and designs for a new type of pet carrier that would fit a pet comfortably and safely under the seat of an airplane. Was it a good idea? Yes. But what most people don’t realize is an idea means very little without a strong foundation and execution. When thinking of an idea, search for a void in the global marketplace. If there is a void in the marketplace, do research to see if your idea would be beneficial and attractive to consumers. The only good ideas are the ones that have a lot of hard work that goes into them. Read more

Gayle Martz

Pet Talk: Get Comfortable with Communication

A young girl talking to her dog

Communication is the cornerstone of every relationship –without it, a relationship can’t exist. There are many studies highlighting the importance of communication with your partner, children, employees, employers, and friends – along with tips on how to improve communication in relationships – but one topic that is rarely discussed is communicating with your pets. Some people don’t feel comfortable talking with their pets, but it is crucial to understand that communication is part of nurturing your pet. While pets can’t talk back, they are always listening and benefit from being spoken to by their owners. Think about this study led by researcher from University of York that found young children who are exposed to large amounts of adult speech tend to have better cognitive skills. These young children can’t communicate back to parents with words, but they are benefiting greatly from their parents talking to them. Even though it may feel weird at first to talk to your pet when they can’t talk back, communicating with your pet will only make your relationship stronger and I bet you’ll understand them better!

My first dog, SHERPA, became a part of me. And that is what you want, a strong human-animal bond. I learned early on with SHERPA the importance of communication and have been a believer (and advocate) for talking with your dogs. So much, that I was recently invited as a guest on the podcast Talking with Your Dogs where I chatted with host, Liz Murdoch, about  everything from my book to how I communicate with KoKo and KARTU (my current dogs!).

If you already talk with your dog, GREAT! If you need some inspiration, here are three ways I implement communication in my relationship with my pets: Read more

Gayle Martz

Our friends at Lilymoore Farm

So what happens when you introduce some Alpacas to an Alpaca plushie? Find out more at

Gayle Martz

The Best Travel Tips For Dog Owners

Gayle Martz traveling with her dogSummer Plans? Take Your Dog!

My philosophy has always been to do what you love, in the places you love, with the people and pets you love. The last few years have been very challenging to do this as traveling and socializing were both dramatically reduced due to the pandemic; however, it brings me joy to read that Americans are planning more summer trips according to this article from Travel Daily Media.

It took me over two years to finally get back to my favorite travel destination, Paris. I love walking the streets of Paris, appreciating all the art, architect, fashion, and dogs! Yes, dogs are everywhere, enjoying the scene, just as I am along with KoKo, my beloved four-legged friend. KoKo has traveled one time with me internationally and six times with me domestically, but each time takes planning and lots of preparation to make it easy on both me and her!

With summer quickly approaching, and many people making travel plans, I have shared my favorite tips for pet parents who will be bringing their dogs along! These travel tips for dog owners will make life easier and more enjoyable on your journey’s. Read more

Gayle Martz

I love my pets, and I love to travel.

And I cannot imagine having to choose between the two. Globetrotting with my pets has become my way of life, but not so long ago, things were very different.

Sherpa the dogIn 1987, Sherpa, an adorable gray Lhasa Apso given to me by my fiancé, became my everything when my fiancé tragically died in his sleep a month before our wedding. Without a signed will, I wasn’t entitled to any of his estate and had to leave our New York home. To make matters worse, after two decades as a flight attendant, I had recently been laid off during a strike. At thirty-seven years old, my entire world had been turned upside down.

Feeling alone and distraught, I wanted to spend some time with my mother who lived in California, but I hesitated because the only way that Sherpa could accompany me on the plane was in a small hard-sided pet carrier that would be uncomfortable for her and cumbersome for me. I finally decided to leave her with a friend.

After arriving in California, I was appalled to learn that my friend’s husband had placed Sherpa in a kennel. (Kennels then  were not what they are now.) But worse than that, I felt completely lost without my little best friend; I realized I was the victim of a travel industry that had caused me to separate from my pooch during the time I needed her most. Read more

Gayle Martz

Heal The World


Never have lyrics rung so true. I think we all need to hear this song right now.

Gayle Martz

Airport ‘Petiquette’

  • gayle at airport check-in with her doggiesWhen traveling through the airport it is always best to keep a low profile when accompanying your pet at the airport.  Do not let him or her out of the carrier once you enter the airport terminal.  If they are traveling with you in the passenger cabin, never take him out of their carrier during the flight.
  • Be sure to take your dog outside before walking them through an airport.  Some airports provide dog-walking areas, but to be safe, have plenty of wee-wee pads on hand. Even if you are a responsible pet parent and don’t give your pet food for six hours before a flight or water within two hours of takeoff, sometimes your little friend still has to relieve himself.  If your pooch is sending you signals that this is the case, you can use the wee-wee pads in the airplane rest room, allowing your dog to relieve himself quickly, calmly, and discreetly.  Your dog will be very grateful.
  • If he must travel in the cargo hold, fasten a water bowl filled with frozen water to the door or carrier.  If you are carrying your pet through baggage check, politely and quietly inform the TSA agent at the security checkpoint that a pet is in the carrier so he is not exposed to x-rays.  If you are asked to take your pet out of the carrier as you pass through security on your way to the gate, make sure that he is wearing a collar and a leash or, better yet, a harness . Read more
Gayle Martz

Global Pet Expo

Gayle Martz and KoKo at Pet Expo

Gayle and her beloved companion, KoKo make the rounds at the 2022 Global Pet Expo in Orlando.