Bo is beat.
We've just returned to our Michigan sticks and bricks home after a six week road trip. It was the first real trip for Bo, our now eight-month-old Norwegian Elkhound, and he is catching up on lost sleep.
He loved every minute of it. That's Bo looking out the Roadtrek's window as we stopped to check out a campground in Arkansas last week
Jennifer and I also enjoyed his company during these six weeks on the road. But we learned five things.
- Dogs need exercise – Unless you have a very small dog who doesn't do much more than sit on your lap all day, dogs need to get rid of all that energy. Especially young dogs like Bo. We try to stop about every 90 minutes for him to stretch his legs. He gets one or two walks a day, of at least 20 minutes and, as many times as we can squeeze it in, a visit to a fenced in, leash-free dog park in whatever area we happen to be visiting. We use the gopetfriendly.com web site to help us find them.
- Dogs do cramp your style – There are a lot of places where dogs are not welcome. And they really can't be left alone in an RV for long periods of time. So no movies, long, leisurely dinners, half-day hikes or bike rides like we'd often like to do. That's the cost of traveling with pets. Know it and accept it. We wish it was different but that's just the way it is. However, there are alternatives.
- But it's still worth it – The joys of traveling with Bo far outweigh the downside. He was Mr. Enthusiasm each morning, anxious to start the day's travel. Every time we stopped he couldn't wait to open the door and see what adventures were awaiting. He made us laugh more and kept us from siting around too much. To see the world through a puppy's eyes is to appreciate it even more.
- A place for everything and a place for the pup – We were very clear in showing Bo where he was supposed to lie while traveling and where he was to sleep at night. We brought his bed from home and aded a cooling pad for the Roadtrek. At first, he wanted to roam freely through the van while driving. Sometimes – at 50 pounds, no less – he wanted to jump up and sit in Jennifer's lap. No way. It took only a day or so to teach him his place. He's happy and secure in it and we are, too.
- Doggie Day Care is a last resort – We tried doggie day care from three places on this trip. Rates ranged from $15 to $20 a day. But we were unhappy about all three and would not want to try them again. One was extremely crowded, with about 40 dogs, divided in three rooms and watched over by five bored-looking workers. The other two places put dogs in solitary confinement, kennels or large pens with nothing to do all day. Maybe there are good places out there that offer daily boarding. We just haven't found them yet and are now gun shy of trying them again.
Bo's been back home for three days now and still resting up. When he's outside, I notice that he lies right next to the Roadtrek in the driveway.
I think he's trying to tell me something. He's ready for another trip.
We leave in about 10 days. Bo's going to have to learn patience.