Dear Buddy and Porky,
I just read Travels with Charley, that old John Steinbeck classic and I’m thinking, “I could do that!” Not write a bestseller, but just travel around the country in my camper with my dog, Spot. But what do you think Spot would think about such a plan? I would only be gone about two weeks, but I would sure miss her.
The decision to take Spot along or leave her behind is an important one for both of you.
While it may be tempting to take her along and you might think it would be sort of romantic, what is that other word for romantic? Oh yes, foolish!
You need to think it through based on what you already know about Spot.
How big she is and how much exercise does she need?
Does she get in the car willingly and seem to enjoy it or does she huddle in a corner and throw up?
That would probably be a signal that a two week road trip would not be such a great idea.
Has she been in the car for long stretches already?
A quick trip to the dog park is not the same as 10 hours on a highway.
And keep in mind that some animals are just not suited for travel because of temperament, illness or physical impairment.
If you have any doubts about whether there are any health considerations about such a long trip, talk first to your veterinarian.
If you still think it’s a good idea for Spot to accompany you, you will need to devote extra time to prepare for the journey.
For example, you’ll need to have all of the supplies necessary to keep her comfortable while she’s away from home and you’ll need to familiarize yourself with any pet-related restrictions or requirements imposed by destination states, hotels, parks, etc.
Pet friendly accommodations are more and more common, but you need to find them before you set out.
There are lots of websites and publications that can help.
www.petswelcome.com is just one example.
You also need to be absolutely certain that she is up to date with her vaccinations, that you have the paperwork to prove it, and that her ID on her collar is clear and complete.
If you decide that Spot should not travel, consider the alternatives: Have a friend or relative look after her, board her at a kennel, or hire a pet sitter.
If a friend or relative is going to take care of Spot ask if that person can take her into his or her home.
Animals, especially dogs, can get lonely when left alone.
But be sure that Spot is comfortable with the temporary caretaker and his or her home, not to mention any pets that person has.
If you choose to board her, get references and inspect the kennel.
Your veterinarian or local shelter can help you select a well run and safe facility.
If you are hiring a pet sitter, interview the candidates and check their references. (A pet sitter may be preferable if Spot is timid or elderly and needs the comfort of familiar surroundings during your absence.)
If you arrange for someone to care for Spot while you are away, provide that person with the telephone number where you can be reached, the name and telephone number of your veterinarian and her medical or dietary needs.
Alert your veterinarian to the fact that you will be gone and the name of the person that may be contacting her or him about Spot.
Travels With Charley is a great book and Charley was a great traveler, but not every dog is.
Do what is best for Spot.
Whatever you decide, bon voyage!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Located at 110 W. Second Street, Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.