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Published: October 8th 2018
I've got a dog named Winston that's around 10 months old. I didn't plan on getting him, or any dog for that matter.
I've got two cats and a bird, and they've kept me busy enough as it is. One cat is older (18) and the other is 7. The younger cat demands constant attention while the older cat only wants to know when I'm going to feed him. The bird is a loud mess, but she's easy enough to travel with. Put her in a cat carrier and give her some food, she's ready to go anywhere.
One day I went online and stumbled across the local animal shelter
, and saw a pic of a newborn puppy. For some reason, I decided that I wanted him right away. He's got one of those faces that makes you think he's always a second away from making a smart comment. So I went, picked him up, spent more money than I'd like to admit buying things for him, and for the past ten months, he's been a pain in the a...I mean, an absolute joy.
He's a good dog. He's sweet but whiney. He wakes me up at 5:30 every day because he wants to go outside. He pulls on his leash, jumps on everyone he sees, and wants to eat everything. All that said, I love him to death. The problem is how do I travel with him?
I can't take him with me in a car. He likes to force his way up front and stand on the driver. He's a big boy, so that makes it hard to see the road. If I get the RV, that would make things easier as long as I can keep him and the cats somewhat apart. I decided to look up how to travel with pets
, but for the most part, the articles involved flying.
There were some about driving, but they never seem to apply to me. I guess that's the problem with looking for information online. It's like cable; there are a million things on, but most of it sucks.
I moved to Kansas with my cats in a U-Haul, but other than the constant yelling for the first hour, they don't cause any problems. The old one wanders around the car while the younger one hides from the world. The dog? He's a wrecking ball. A one pup crew of destruction. Let your guard down for a second, and he's chewing on anything he can find, consequences be damned.
The first thought that came to my mind was fly him out to wherever I go but drive myself and the cats. The problem is that A.) It's expensive and B.) I feel strange doing that. If I hate to fly because it sucks, should I fly my dog? It seems like a weird thing to do. I don't want to fly because when the plane crashes, I don't want to be on it, but here you go Winny, Godspeed, and good luck.
Second, I wouldn't want him to be in some weird container surrounded by other animals wondering where I'm at. I know that dogs don't think like humans, but I can imagine him pondering whether or not to give up on me after three hours. Would he move to Los Angeles and work for BuzzFeed? He would make an excellent writer.
When I went to Wyoming, I left him with a local dog trainer that babysits dogs. That works for a week, but what about when I start going around the US? I can't be a Winnebago warrior without Sergeant Winston, he who chases bunnies and squirrels. He's a war hero in his own mind.
I think I'll have to figure out a way to rig up the RV so that he's got his own space. I'm pondering whether to block off the front half and make it a cat-free zone or let them all run wild, the chips falling where they may. One is responsible, the other is fun. My biggest concerns are if an accident happens and the legality of it. I'm not sure if you're allowed to have pets in the back of a Winnebago if it's towed by a truck. These are the things I need to know.
In between destinations, there's the problem with hotel rooms. A lot of them don't allow pets because they "cause damage." The last hotel I stayed in had a kid running up and down the hallway at two in the morning though. I think I'd gamble on pets causing less damage than children. Traveling with pets isn't easy, but it's necessary. Pets are an extension of most people's families. Telling them "sorry, but your dog can't stay here" doesn't seem right to me. If your establishment will allow Steven Tyler to stay there, Winston shouldn't be a problem. He won't trash the room or sing overrated songs that people love for nostalgia reasons only.
I want to take Winny out west and let him run around in the mountains. He's big on climbing, loves cold weather, and likes chasing animals that he'll never catch because I keep him on a leash. I think he'd dig Wyoming and Montana. I can imagine him having a big yard up there and rolling around in the snow, preferably (for him) right after I give him a bath. Why stay clean when you can destroy an hour of your human's hard work in the course of two minutes?
If anybody travels long distance with their dogs and wants to share some knowledge, let me know. I'll take any tips I can get. I'm looking forward to it, as much of a pain as it seems. I've always liked the idea of having a dog in the passenger seat riding down some long highway in the middle of nowhere. It would help if he stayed in the passenger seat and wasn't determined to make driving in a straight line impossible, but hopefully, that will happen when he gets out of his puppy power phase.
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