For any traveling family, it can be a challenge to find accommodations that work for humans as well as their pets. That’s true as well for Country Music artists – so much so that one up-and-comer admits to bending the rules a bit now and then.

“Yes, I’m that person who sneaks her dog into the hotel,” confessed Chelsea Bain, whose travel companion is a long-haired, 9-pound dachshund named Rodi. “She’s harmless and she’s so small. But she is yappy, so housekeeping will come by and she will start yapping.”

“I know at many of the hotels we stay at, we have to inform them that we are traveling with two dogs,” added Carrie Underwood, referring to her rat terrier Ace and rescued dachshund mix Penny. “Usually there is some kind of fee for that. That said, they’re totally worth the extra costs and efforts.”

For Gwen Sebastian, if her rescued pit bull mix Angel can’t stay in a particular hotel, she won’t stay there either. “Some hotels won’t accept pets,” she said. “In those instances, we stay on the bus.”

Because their human moms perform for a living, these pets on the road live before a backdrop of bright lights, loud speakers and a lot of activity. For the most part, though, Bain, Sebastian and Underwood opt to keep their furry babies out of the limelight.

“I would think the bright lights and noise would scare them pretty good,” Underwood said. “So I leave them on my bus when I can. They need their quiet time too.”

Rodi usually chills on the bus as well, where, according to Bain, she watches cartoons. But sometimes Bain looks up and sees Rodi in the wings.

“I’ll be playing a show and somewhere offstage I’ll see someone holding her,” Bain said. “It’s like she’s watching and saying, ‘That’s my mom!’”

Traveling with a pet can also lead to comical scenarios. During a recent flight from Nashville to Phoenix, Bain had a layover in Charlotte, North Carolina. Taking advantage of the time off the plane, she went into the women’s bathroom, carrying Rodi in her crate. As a puppy, Bain had trained Rodi to use puppy pads if the great outdoors wasn’t available. So on this night, Bain chose the handicapped stall to have more room, laid out the pad, took Rodi out of her crate and, holding the small dog by the collar, proceeded with a mantra of “go potty, go potty, go potty … “

“I thought ‘I need my own reality show at this particular moment,” she recalled. “It was hysterical and also kind of a pain. But I’m sure watching try to do that was hysterical.”

CMA Members: For more animal adventures and travel tips from Chelsea Bain, Gwen Sebastian and Carrie Underwood, see the Aug/Sept 2014 issue of CMA Close Up.


Chelsea Bain with Rodi. photo credit: Craig Campbell; Gwen Sebastian with Angel. photo credit: courtesy of Gwen Sebastian; Carrie Underwood with Ace. photo credit: courtesy of Carrie Underwood