Friday, February 23, 2018

The Family Forum: Traveling With Rover

Summer is coming and the Carrigees are gearing up for our weekend family getaways that include our much loved furry family member, our Bulldog, Lucy. She has traveled with us since she was a puppy, so has become an old pro at it. 

However, that was not always the case. Both humans and canine had to learn some tricks and tips to make traveling fun and safe for everyone. Here’s my personal advice as someone who’s been there, done that.
Do a trial run first. Some dogs can get car sick, so be prepared for that. 
Just as with kids, dogs need to be in some kind of harness in the car. Some dogs will be anxious and need a special toy or blanket for some comfort, and some dogs might need to ride in a crate.
We learned the hard way that travel may be unexpectedly difficult for dogs.
One harrowing trip home from camping taught us this. Lucy was sitting happily in the back seat with my son and one of his friends. It started to rain and my husband turned on the windshield wipers. Suddenly, there was a sound that was like fingernails going down a chalkboard. Lucy was screaming and hollering and clawing her way to the front seat. She jumped up into the windshield and hit it so hard she left her face print on it. Slobber was flinging everywhere. We were all covering our ears from the piercing squeals, and the boys were looking to see how badly they been accidentally scratched. 
Meanwhile, Lucy was banging her mouth against the windshield, trying to catch those evil wipers. He lower teeth were tapping away at the glass: clink, clink, clink. When the wipers moved, so did her mouth, and a trail of slobber went with her. 
Thank goodness it was one of those one-minute rain showers. My husband turned the wipers off and we all just sat in shock. We were all covered in slobber and fur. He pulled over, got the crate out the back of the truck and found a way to fit it in the backseat with the boys. She rode home in there the rest of the way back.
Always bring your dog’s medical records with you (make sure all shots are current) and have contact information on the collar just in case your dog gets separated from you. Don’t forget to bring Fido’s leash.
While we camp along the Florida Panhandle, we have a few favorite campgrounds. One of them has a dog swimming area. Lucy met an older Australian Shepard there one day and they enjoyed playing. The dogs headed down to the water and Lucy bolted right in, totally unaware that she couldn’t go in as her new friend had done. (Many people don’t realize that most Bulldogs can’t swim. They are way too heavy for those little legs to adequately keep their chunky bodies afloat.) 
Of course, Lucy went right under. She turned around and came right back, snorting water out her nose. So, Lucy learned where she could go and where she couldn’t, and just like a toddler, she had to stay in the shallow area. After that lesson, she enjoyed walking along the shoreline and trying to catch the small waves in her mouth. The day ended with a bath for Lucy and an early bedtime for all of us. (We did buy her a lifejacket the next day.)
Always bring water for your pooch and never leave an animal inside a car!
When you take a dog traveling, it is just like taking a baby with you. You have to pack food, bowls, water, blankets, toys … everything but the kitchen sink.
So when traveling with your pet, the best advice I can give is to prepare for … everything. They are fun to take on family vacations, but you also need a plan to go along with them so your trip doesn’t turn into a nightmare. Don’t get caught in the rain without a dog crate in the backseat!


By Melissa Carrigee

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