OkcPets Magazine July 2023

30 OKC Pets • July / August 2023 A Lot To LOVE Love’s Travel Stops Find Space for Canine Clients by Kelsey Warren-Bryant P icture it. You’re driving down the highway with the sound of your pup’s heavy panting in the backseat. You hear the clacking of her toenails as she shifts in her crate and then emits a long whine. You sigh. It has been several hours since you stopped to let her stretch her legs. You know you’ll need to stop soon. Of course, the average rest stop will not allow your dog to relieve herself on the property, so all you can do is pull over to the side of the highway and walk her on a leash. Cars will be zooming by at 70-plus miles per hour while you wrap the leash around your hand, praying that your dog doesn’t see a squirrel or get too curious while on the side of the road. It’s stressful, and you can tell by the way she ducks her head when the cars fly by that it’s stressful for her too. Frankly, you’re not looking forward to it. Most of us can relate to or at least imagine that scenario. Traveling with your dog can be a challenge, which is something executives at the popular Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores know all too well. So in 2019, they decided to change the game. An idea from a local Love’s manager turned into the company’s very first dog park, a fenced area outside the gas station meant specifically for dogs to take a break in a safe and comfortable place. Before long, one dog park sparked many. Fulfilling a Need for Travelers Gary Price, vice president of Love’s, has a lot to say about this unprecedented addition to the travel stops. Here are our questions and his replies. Question: “Tell me a bit about Love’s as a company. How did the company get started?” Answer: “Love’s is a family-owned and family-operated network of travel stops with more than 630 locations in 42 states, and it’s an Oklahoma company, based in Oklahoma City. The late Tom Love and his wife, Judy, started the company in 1964 — under the original name of Mus- ket Corporation — with a single location in Watonga.” Question: “Now, about your dog parks. What inspired the idea of building dog parks at Love’s Travel Stops, and when did this idea come to fruition?” Answer: “The idea came from the gener- al manager at one of our travel stops who was receiving numerous requests from RV customers for a dog park. He built one on his own, and the executive team saw what a success it was. We quickly determined that many of our core customers — profes- sional drivers, RVers, and casual custom- This dog stretches his legs in the safety of a dog park at Love’s Travel Stop in El Reno. Photo courtesy of Brett Dawson, Love’s Travel Stops.