My husband, Tom, and I purchased a used motorhome in April and recently took a trip out west with our three-year-old English bulldog, Spike. While the RV was nothing but trouble, Spike was no trouble at all. He loved the experience of cruising the American highway all day. Why shouldn't he? He napped the hours away on a cushy couch, waking up only long enough to pee, poop, eat, and drink. Spike had the vacation of my husband's dreams.
Making Spike's doggie dreams come true involved some pre-planning. I had to be sure we had enough of Spike's grain-free food to last for the 10-day vacation and beyond. (In case of any delays on the road.) While Tom and I dined mostly on paper plates, Spike ate out of his own food/water bowls on his own personal mat. He had his treats at the same time everyday as well as his medication for his eyes and ears. His doggie bed was set out on the floor, just in case he got tired of the couch. We brought along extra collars and leashes and plenty of waste bags for picking up after him.
Surrounded as he was with all of his own personal, creature comforts, Spike enjoyed gazing out the expansive front window of the RV. A few times a day, he'd hop off the couch for a quick drink of water and then come check on us in our captain's chairs. (We always left plenty of bottled drinking water in his bowl.) At night, Spike would take a quick trot around the campsite to check out the other dogs and the KOA K-9 doggie parks. He liked the other dogs. Hated the doggie parks. Too much heat and too much activity for a bulldog. He just did his business and returned to his air-conditioned home on wheels to settle in for the night.
Toward the end of our trip, we sprung a water leak in the RV and had to spend the last two nights of our vacation in hotels. Spike had never been to a hotel before, but once again, he adjusted like a champ. Or maybe, I should say, like a pampered king. From his doggie bed in his crate at home, to a RV couch, to his own queen-sized bed, Spike was living the dream. He slept so soundly, we had a hard time waking him up those mornings. We resorted to enticing him with tidbits from the free breakfast buffets.
Traveling with pets can be difficult. Tom and I were lucky on this trip, at least with Spike. The RV is another story altogether. But our bulldog good fortune didn't happen by accident. I planned ahead to be sure Spike had all of his own things around him. The smell of his own bed, the regularity of his own food and treats, the familiarity of his daily home-based schedule. Keeping Spike on track, decreased the problems we could have faced by altering his routine too much. Leaving home can be scary for some pets, but with some well-organized preparation, a family vacation can be safe and happy for everyone - human and canine alike.
Spring has definitely sprung at The Buddy Foundation in Arlington Heights. Along with dozens of dogs and cats of all ages, sizes, shapes, and colors awaiting their new forever homes, there's a crop of new puppies and kittens just released for adoption. These adorable little furballs need lots of attention and care. A three-month-old puppy can hold themselves for only three hours. And although these small-breed puppies are already pee-pad trained, the Foundation is asking that potential adoptive guardians be either stay-at-home parents or that they work from home. The Foundation wants to assure that the adopted puppy is never left alone for too long. For more information on any dog or cat at The Buddy Foundation, visit their website at www.thebuddyfoundation.org
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