An interview with Gayle Martz, inventor of the SHERPA Pet Carrier and Valerie Smaldone, the voice actress who reads the Audiobook version of It’s In The Bag.

Can Your Office Be Pet-Friendly?

pet friendly officeAs office buildings are opening back up, not all employees are eager to return, especially those who have enjoyed spending their days working alongside their pet. Going back to the pre-pandemic way of leaving pets behind all day does not settle well. “I get it,” says Gayle Martz, author, entrepreneur, and pet travel advocate. If you’ve ever taken a pet with you on a plane, then you have Martz to thank. Martz invented the iconic SHERPA bag — creating the soft-sided pet carrier category —all because of her not wanting to leave behind her beloved Lhasa Apso, SHERPA, when she traveled. Now, Martz continues to advocate for a world that responsibly welcomes pets wherever their humans go. Martz was responsible for American Airlines changing its policy in 1992 to allow pets to travel in the passenger cabin and is eager to help change workplace policy to allow pets at the office.

Below are some considerations for how to get “on board” with allowing pets at the office.


Just like any new employee entering a workplace, training should be required. “Pets absolutely can’t run around the office,” says Martz. “I always say ‘The best pet on an airplane is one that nobody knows is there.’ This is because they are trained. Pets should be able to be at the office with a minimal distraction to others.” If pets aren’t trained, they will not be welcomed to the office.

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Netbuilders Article featuring Gayle MartzClick to check out the Netbuilders article featuring Gayle Martz.

An Inspiration for Pets and Women.

Meet Gayle Martz, the woman that revolutionized an entire industry with determination and the SHERPA bag.

ruff drafts
Interview with Gayle Martz, Creator of The SHERPA Bag®

Gayle opens up about her bumpy yet amazing business journey that was inspired by her love of pets in her new book, “IT’S IN THE BAG: How to Turn a Passion into a New Business.” Gayle answers questions about the book and what’s next for in the spring issue of Ruff Drafts (page 25):

Ruff Drafts is the quarterly newsletter of the Dog Writers Association of America, by and for its members.

authority magazine

Female Founders: Gayle Martz of Sherpa Pet Trading Company On Why We Need More Women Founders, and The Five Things You Need To Thrive as A Founder

Authority Magazine
gayle martz

Many women have strong beliefs in what they want to do and are good at working towards accomplishing their goals for the greater good. This combination helps drive success.

Women are good at recognizing when there is a need for a better mousetrap or if there is a void in the marketplace. Women are very in-tune and being able to pinpoint a need, whether it is in the service business or product-based, is very important to building a successful business.

a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gayle Martz, creator of the SHERPA Bag and founder of the multi-million dollar Sherpa Pet Trading Company. She is a tireless pet advocate who made pet travel commonplace. Gayle is the author of IT’S IN THE BAG, which debuted this year, and NO PET LEFT BEHIND.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I always wanted a dog but was never able to have one due to my schedule as a flight attendant. When I was laid off by TWA, I jumped at the opportunity to get SHERPA, a Lhasa Apso who won over my heart and became my loving companion, best friend, and inspiration for my business endeavor. Wherever I went, SHERPA came with me. It was a no-brainer that when I left New York in 1988 to live with my mother in California, SHERPA was going to come along. However, due to airline policy at that time, traveling with pets in the passenger cabin was not allowed, leaving me with a cross-country drive as my only option. I searched for a carrier to transport SHERPA in to make her travels more comfortable in the car, but all I could find was a hard carrier. I ended up using one of my totes as a make-shift dog carrier, and while it wasn’t perfect, it was all I had. It was during that long road trip that allowed me to brainstorm with my mother (who was traveling with me…. there were no cell phones at the time!) about better ways to transport a dog or cat while traveling. When we arrived in California, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my future. Given my experience as a flight attendant along with my passion for fashion and photography, I knew that I could create a product for pet owners that would allow them to travel comfortably and fashionably with their pet. I was on a mission! …

Read the full article at

pet connection

The Pet Guardian’s Guide To The Most Pet Friendly Airlines

By Pedro Okoro – February 16, 2021

some pet friendly airlinesWith over five million pets and other live animals transported by air every year around the world, is your favorite airline on our list of the 10 most pet friendly airlines?

Most pet parents need to travel with their pets by air. With so many commercial airlines out there, what are the most pet friendly airlines?

In a moment, we will unpack the phrase “pet friendly”.

But first, pet travel is huge!

Over 2 million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. And with an estimated 53% of travelers taking holidays with their pets, we can safely guesstimate that well over 5 million pets travel by air around the world every year. A humongous number, whichever way you look at it!

Although governments impose restrictions on transporting live animals, every airline has a responsibility to ensure the safety and well being of any animal they ship. Because of this, each airline has policies for the safety and well being of any animals they transport.

Now back to what we mean by “pet friendly” airlines.

Read the full article at

gayle martz article new york times

6 Must-Haves When Flying With a Cat or Dog

Traveling can be stressful enough without your favorite small creature.
By Christine Ryan • Jan. 4, 2020

Flying with your cat or dog is probably no one’s idea of fun — least of all your pet’s. But there are ways and tools to make the trip safer, calmer and more comfortable for everyone involved. After logging hundreds of air miles — one particularly intrepid staffer flew cross-country with both a cat and a dog — and after consulting with vets, airline officials and animal behaviorists, the animal lovers on Wirecutter’s staff recommend the following items.

sherpa bag

Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier

This carrier has a flexible wire frame that can compress down to fit under the seat in front of you, which most airlines require.

Read the full article at The New York Times.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

The Quiet CEO, Education and Self-Improvement Article |

After a day spent caring for her business, Gayle Martz spends an evening caring for herself.

Who: Gayle Martz, 51, founder and president of Sherpa’s Pet Trading Co., in New York City, a $4-million company with 10 employees that sells travel carriers for dogs and cats. Martz, who is single, has two small dogs: Su-Nae, a five-year-old Coton, and Sherpa, a 14-year-old Lhasa apso and the company’s eponym.

5:30 p.m. Martz leaves her midtown office and walks five minutes to her apartment. At home, the dogs greet her with enthusiasm. “Quality time with the girls,” she says.

Read the full article at Inc.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

Fly the Pet-Friendly Skies with a Sherpa Bag

Sherpa is a jet-setter. From inside a soft-sided pet carrier named after her, the little Lhasa Apso with the sweet disposition and bows in her white hair crisscrosses the United States to show how easy and comfortable air travel can be for small pets. Her owner, Gayle Martz, does the talking. She spreads the word that pets like Sherpa can fly in the passenger cabins of most major airlines if they’re secure in a Sherpa Bag.

Read the full article at The Morning Call.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

The History of Pet Travel and Traveling with a Pet

Up until the late 1980’s, only the wealthy traveled with their pets, and only a few upper end hotels catered to them. Travel was primarily by automobile, or, in some cases, by private rail cars.

In 1989, a TWA airline attendant by the name of Gayle Martz wanted to take her Shih Tzu on an airplane with her. Frustrated by the current airline rules, she designed a bag that would carry her pet and would fit under the seat in the cabin. Named the Sherpa Bag, it became the world standard airline in-cabin bag for pets. Gayle petitioned nearly every airline to request that they change their policies and allow pets on board the aircraft. One by one, the airlines were convinced that allowing a well behaved pet in the cabin would increase their customer satisfaction as well as their bottom line.

Read the full article at

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

What you need to know about flying with Fido

SuNae Martz is a 10-year-old jetsetter who’s crisscrossed the globe more than once. The catch: SuNae is a dog — a fluffy white coton de tulear, to be exact.

Her owner, Gayle Martz, takes her everywhere she flies, from Paris to New York to Los Angeles. But SuNae doesn’t fly in the belly of the plane like common cargo. She’s first class, in the cabin under Martz’s seat.

“I don’t check my jewelry, and SuNae is my most precious jewel,” said Martz, a former flight attendant-turned entrepreneur who created and sells a soft-sided pet carrier, the Sherpa Bag.

Read the full article at Business.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

Small Companies Benefit From Outside Advice

Gayle Martz worked for years to solve a big problem for people who want to travel with their pets. As founder of Sherpa’s Pet Trading Co., Martz not only designed stylish, lightweight, ventilated pet carriers, but she lobbied hard to convince major airlines to allow small pets to ride in the passenger cabin.

“I saw people squishing their animals into hard plastic cases and came up with a great idea,” said Martz, a former flight attendant and passionate handbag collector. She designed the first carry-on bag to transport her own dog, a Lhasa Apso named Sherpa. Now the company manufactures several different pet totes for use around town or in the air.

Read the full article at

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

Carry On

Today’s pets are no longer stay-at-home creatures: They go everywhere! To work, to the hair salon, in and out of neighborhood stores, they hang out (side) at Starbucks and dine al fresco at restaurants. They are included in family functions and enjoy both weekends away and vacations. In fact, some lead an active social life that also includes play dates with same-specie friends.

Consequently, a pet carrier is currently the most essential lifestyle-to-go accessory that any dog, cat, parrot, rat, rabbit and ferret can own. The myriads of styles are designed to make fashion statements as well as being functional. And it goes without saying that today’s party animals own several neatly stacked in the hall closet. It’s simply a matter of selecting the right carrier to suit the occasion.

But when exactly did the functional pet crate become an essential fashion statement?

Gayle Martz, founder and president of Sherpa’s Pet Trading Company is credited with developing the first stylish soft-sided pet carrier, the Sherpa Bag, for use on board airlines back in 1989 and for pioneering the subsequent changes in the travel industry and the out and about lifestyle pets now enjoy.

Read the full article at Sandy Robbins Online.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

When Fur Flies | Travel + Leisure

My five pit bulls are seasoned travelers. Every weekend, they log 400 miles to and from their country retreat, in a Volvo station wagon fully loaded with essentials: safety restraints, blankets for shock and liquid absorption, a dog thermos, a first-aid kit called Bow-Ow Me-Ow, and a vial of Travel Tummy, an herbal remedy that soothes growling motion-sick stomachs. You might say we put the wag in station wagon. And we’re not the only ones—according to the Travel Industry Association of America, 29.1 million Americans have traveled with their pets in the past three years.

Read the full article at Travel & Leisure.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

Traveling With Charley

WHEN it comes time to head to the vacation home, the big question may not be whether to pack the golf clubs, but whether to pack the family pet.

“If it’s a short vacation, many pets will be O.K. staying at a kennel or with a friend,” said Amanda Walter, an associate veterinarian at the Center for Veterinary Care in Manhattan. “And there are places that do doggie day care so that the dog gets a vacation of his own. But if you’re gone for months, I think the dog is going to be happier if it’s with you.”

Read the full article at The New York Times.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

Traveling with Older Pets

Whether or not to take your cat or dog with you on your travels is a dilemma faced by many pet owners. However, for the owner of a pet of – let’s say – “advanced years”, the decision is even more complex as are its potential ramifications.

The most important consideration before you take your pet on a trip is his or her overall physical and emotional health. With middle-aged and elderly pets, a trip to the vet for a full work-up is a good idea well before you can make an informed decision about packing for your pet. Remember that no matter how much you want your pet along for the trip, it may not be the best thing for his or her health. Pay attention to not just the vet’s recommendation but your own instincts.

Read the full article at New York Tails.

Gayle Martz Appearance & MediaTen Canine Etiquette Summer Travel Tips!

Let’s face it, our pets are more than just the little furry creatures that lay at our feet at night and bring us the Sunday paper. They are treasured family members who share our world, our hearts and now our travel accommodations. With this privilege, certain rules should apply, according to Gayle Martz, founder of Sherpa, which makes the “Gucci” of pet carriers.

Ms. Martz offers the Petiquette advice in the following ten tips for polite pooches:

Read the full article at Animal Fair.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

Flying Fur gets even easier and even more commercial

Flying fur! We have Gayle Martz to thank for creating a soft sided pet carrier and for persuading airlines to let dogs travel. Actually, we have her Lhasa Apso Sherpa to thank because Sherpa would sit quietly in the carrier while Gayle talked on and on and on to airline execs about how quiet and good and perfect pets would be in cabin.

But the new thing is Jet Blue starting an airline Miles-For-Pets-Program, and allowing more pets in cabin per flight than other airline previously and even selling a pet carrier and travel kit. Well, of course that’s just commerce isn’t it: sell product and aggrandize your own commercialism into altruism… but this brings me to the main point.

Read the full article at Travel Dog.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

The Best Dog Carriers on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Best carrier for extra-small dogs (under 8 pounds)
Sherpa Deluxe Pet Carrier — Small

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media“My six-pound Chihuahua fits perfectly in this carrier, and he has enough room to turn around while in it. He even curls up toward the back sometimes and has several inches of space toward the front. The carrier has a pretty roomy pocket in the back for poo bags, wet wipes, or napkins. The mesh venting on three sides of the bag is perfect for him to look out and for air to flow through. There is an opening on the top that allows my dog to sit up and look out. The opening on the front can be left open when traveling to use the carrier as a dog bed.”

Gayle Martz Appearance & MediaThe Best Travel Carrier for Cats and Small Dogs

Gayle Martz Appearance & MediaAfter interviewing seven pet travel experts, researching 28 pet carriers, and lugging eight of them around lower Manhattan over two weeks, we think the Sherpa Original Deluxe Carrier is the best soft-sided pet carrier for most cats and small dogs. It is durable, has multiple ways to load and unload your pet, is well-ventilated, is available in multiple sizes, and meets the under-seat requirements of most airlines. Read the full wirecutter best travel carrier article here.

check back regularly for future information on Ms. Martz’s public appearances and press coverage.


If you liked Gayle Martz Appearance & Media be sure to check out some previous interviews and media appearances here Videos.

Gayle Martz Appearance & Media

It's in the bag