Lessons Learned From Traveling With My Dogs

This post is part of our Saturday Editorial Series.  Normally, we let the dogs do all the talking! Join rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake every weekday for their take on life!  

When we invite dogs into our lives, we already know a few things. First, we know that it is our responsibility to protect them, to feed them, to take care of them.  We also may feel like it is our responsibility to teach them.  But in all of the “tricks” and failed obedience lessons later, I have learned a few things.  That dogs are much better teachers.  And dogs will always, yes always, lead us to where we need to be in our lives.

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Following our blog for the past two and a half years since we made the leap into full-time travel has probably made you think twice about traveling with your dogs!  Why?  The breakdowns, the long days, getting caught in freezing weather, running from fires, hurricanes and the expenses incurred with this lifestyle.  Maybe.  But even with all of those problems, traveling with my dogs has taught me lessons that I never would have learned otherwise.  I thought I knew what was important.  But I didn’t know how important.

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When I look back on our travels, many times it is not the specific destinations that we visited, but the people we met at the rescues and shelters, how Brickle and Digby liked the place, or great food we had.  So many times, people ask me what my favorite place was on our travels.  And I always say the same thing…where Brickle and Digby were the happiest.

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Our dogs mean everything to us.  I am quite sure that you feel like this if you read our blog.  We want people to know how much you can change the world and make it a better place when you rescue.  We also want people to know that when you try to give your pet the best life possible, that you will live your best life.  I have.  Being on the road has, without question, changed me forever, whether I stopped doing it today or ten years from now.  I will never be the same.

Lessons I Have Learned From Traveling With My Dogs

  1.  Time. The first lesson I learned from traveling with my dogs was that before this lifestyle change, I had spent a lot of time away from them.  There were things I could not help, like my work schedule and other responsibilities.  Time went by so fast during my first years with them.  Sometimes I wonder if we all had a clock right in front of us with the minutes and seconds counting down, would we waste that time?  If our circumstances allow, take this lesson.  Make time for your dog.  Take a little longer walk.  If you don’t have to work extra hours, don’t. Make your dog feel special.  Cuddle five minutes longer.  You can’t get it back.
  2.  Adjustments.  One of the great things about traveling with your dogs is that every day can be different.  You can wake up in a different place every week if you want to.  Some places you may not like the moment you get there.  But your dog will always get excited over that first walk there, those first smells.  They will be excited at adventure and new things to do! Take this cue from your dogs. Give the place a chance.  And this has carried over into my life.  I used to think I had everything figured out.  My career path, where I wanted to live.  And none of that happened as I thought.  I could have let disappointments in life paralyze me.  Or I could simply give this path a chance.  Make adjustments.
  3.  Life is more than stuff.  This may seem shocking.  But your dog has no idea what money is.  We all need it.  We all have to have it to even take care of our dogs.  But I will never second guess our decision to do these trips in our house on wheels.  It probably was not the best monetary decision.  Let me just be upfront about that.  But is anything in life ever guaranteed? I could have waited for the “best time” to do this.  But waiting may have meant that Brickle and Digby would not be able to enjoy it.
  4.  You need more in your life than your dog.  When we first started on the path to full-time travel, we had the goals of visiting 48 states and 48 rescues.  We were focused, determined, tired.  I forgot about missing my friends and my family.  I had a job to do.  But as the time went on and we reached our goals, I felt that I began to put too much pressure on my dogs to be everything to me.  They could not fulfill every person’s role I was missing in my life.  So set time aside for those phone calls, those texts.  Make time if you can for visits.  Full-time travel can get lonely.  And my dogs are everything to me.  Just don’t put every pressure on them.
  5.  Realize that you aren’t perfect, and your dog is not either.  There are many things about traveling with your dogs that people don’t tell you.  What if your dog doesn’t like other dogs, or is very protective?  How can dogs like this enjoy travel?  What if your dog isn’t the most “well-behaved” or has anxiety?  Guess what.  Our dogs have some of these problems.  And guess what.  So do I.  Traveling with dogs can be more work for some of us, but making necessary precautions can make it work!  Don’t think that everyone’s else’s dog you see traveling is picture perfect.  None of us are.  But all of us deserve to do what we enjoy.

Even above any lesson that I could have learned from my dogs, I learned that I did not know it was possible to love so deeply.  I look into their eyes, I take a breath of their fur, yep, dirty fur, and I try to take it all in.  I will never take for granted the time I have had with them.  If I have done one thing right in my life…just one…It was that I tried to do all I could to show Brickle and Digby how much they mattered.  They weren’t just two dogs at a shelter.  They were two individuals.

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Travel may mean for us that we have less money in our pockets.  It may mean that we are going to have harder days than others.  It may mean that life is not as predictable and “safe” as it once was.  But when I look at my dogs enjoying each and every day, I don’t care about anything else.

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We have no idea where our life is going to take us. But I know that if I listen to Brickle and Digby they will lead us where we need to go.  It’s just up to us to listen.  So listen to your dog and ask the question, “Where do you want to go today?”  Then.  Go!

-Rachael Johnson, Owner and Girl Person of 2 Traveling Dogs and Your Dog’s Diner

Catch our 2 Traveling Dogs Pawcast Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play! And please leave us a review!

Congratulations to the winner of our Pet Releaf Giveaway, Lisa Myers and her 15 year old furkid! Pet Releaf can help your pet too! Remember to use coupon code 2TDFALL at checkout to save 10% off of your order at www.petreleaf.com and give them a “like” on Facebook for making the world a better place for pets with their organic CBD oil products!

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One thought on “Lessons Learned From Traveling With My Dogs

  1. Montse

    I really enjoyed reading your reflections on travelling with dogs. So far I’ve been able to work from home most of the time, but one of my main worries is being able to continue to do so. I didn’t get a dog so that others should take care of her or to leave her alone the whole day while my husband and I are at work. I try to enjoy her company as much as I can, and living in the moment while I’m with her 🙂

    Like

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