Don’t Feel Guilty About Taking A Vacation Without Your Dog

This is part of our Saturday Editorial Series! Normally, we let the dogs do all the talking on our daily dog blog! Join rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake for their takes on life every weekday at www.2travelingdogs.com.

First of all, let me say this.  I love my dogs more than anything on this earth.  I love my dogs more than anything in this world.  Anything.  Everything.  All things.  My dogs have saved my life from that Depression Monster more times than I can count.  And I owe them my life.

But if you are like me, when you love your dogs as much as I do, you love with everything you have.  And you forget about yourself.  And that is just the truth.  That is just what happens.  That is what happened to me when we sold our home three years ago, bought an RV and dedicated ourselves to spreading the message of animal rescue with our two rescue dogs, Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake.

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But for the past three years, because we have been working so hard, and the RV lifestyle is very time consuming, I found myself losing it!  Losing what?  Weight.  Energy.  My personality.  Who was I?  Was I simply a caregiver to everyone but me?  Sure was!  And I didn’t even mind this most of the time.  I really didn’t.  I love taking care of my dogs, cooking for my dogs and taking care of my family.  I love it.  I feel like it is what I was meant to do.  But I was losing sight of what everyone always says.  To take care of others, you have to take care of yourself.  Oh, sure. How could I do that? I had stuff to do. Animals to save.  Senior dogs that needed me.  Yeah.  Right.  I just didn’t want to leave them.  I was being selfish, actually.  I was ignoring the fact that perhaps…just perhaps..they needed a vacation from me.

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So did I go on that vacation? Oh, it was a hard decision. In fact, my husband and I debated on whether to go just a day or two before. We refused to sleep in our beds but all of us slept on the couch in the RV up until the last day.  We were having separation anxiety before our plane even left.  I felt selfish, I just knew that they wouldn’t survive without me.  I imagined them getting lost, sick, broken hearted.  But it was to a point that we had to go.  We booked our tickets, our room, and our sitter insisted over and over we go.  Our family encouraged us to please go.  Our friends told us we must go.  So.  We went.  And let me tell you, we had a great time after about day three.  Yes, it took that long to realize they were ok…twenty pictures from our pet sitter later.

I knew that if I was feeling this much guilt, other dog parents were too.  So I made it a goal to tell others that the vacation you have been dreaming of, the one that you so need because you are an awesome dog parent?  You should go.  You need to go. And here are the reasons why.

  1.  You hold your family together. You take care of everyone and everything. Recognize this and give yourself credit. But even a car needs maintence. Don’t wait until you have a breakdown.
  2.  Your dogs can’t tell you to take a vacation. But they may need a vacation from you. Have you lost your temper lately? Have you raised your voice, or felt like you wanted to give up? Your dogs want you to be happy. That is what makes them happy.
  3. When was the last time you did something that reminded you of…you? What did you like to do as a kid? Read? Write? Hike? Take a nap? You are still in there. You are more than a caregiver. You are important and your role in your family is invaluable. Your dogs can’t survive without you, but are you..YOU? They need the real you.
  4. Do you find time with anyone besides your dog too much of an effort? It is not fair to wrap all of our hopes and dreams into one person or one individual, or our dogs. If every waking moment is dependent on them, that is a lot of pressure! It’s too much pressure on your dog.
  5. Does your partner love your dog too? We certainly hope so. Yet, sometimes, we let our dogs come into our relationship in negative ways. It is easier to ignore problems with our partners and substitute the love from our dogs. But those problems will still be there. You may need time just the two of you to get back in sync! It is not your dog’s fault. It is our fault if we let this happen.
  6. It’s ok to realize that sometimes, we simply need a break from responsibilities to learn that we LOVE the responsibility that comes with being an awesome pet parent.

So did I take my own advice? I did. It was actually harder than I thought to pull out of the driveway at the pet sitter’s house.

If you have done all of your paperwork for the sitter, made sure their vet knows you will be gone, and you have all their meals and treat schedules written down..yeah, we all do that, then go. I told my dogs the exact amount of days I would be gone. I told them why we were going. I told them to enjoy themselves. And every worse case scenerio I imagined in my head? None of that happened.

I am not telling people to go on vacation and leave their dogs with just anyone. I am telling you to do everything you think that you should and then give yourself permission to take some time away for yourself.

Because when you come back, you will understand that you should have done this long ago. For me, I now know that my vacation gave me focus and a new understanding of how I could be better for dogs. Before my trip, I was pushing myself too hard and I was pushing them too hard.

Time away gave me perspective to look at my routines and my life as an outsider. And I have made some changes. But it all started with a decision to go on vacation without my dog. Is it ok? It is more than ok. Give yourself some of the love and devotion that your dog gives you. Your dog will understand. Don’t feel guilty about taking a vacation without your dog. Feel guilty if you don’t go, because you will not be able to be the best you can be. Now…go!

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

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2 Traveling Without Dogs In London-Pubs, Grub and Hubbub

This is Peanut Butter Brickle.  I am about to break out my title of Sheriff again soon. The persons have started their journey back home.  Our spawcation is over on Friday.  I have mixed feelings about that.  Mostly because I have changed a lot during these two weeks.  Now, instead of matzo, my favorite crackers are cuban crackers. I am also enjoying the occasional bite of gourmet fish snacks.

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Now, instead of being the most handsome dog in the world, I am also the most relaxed, handsome dog in the world with a belly full of cuban crackers, eggs with spinach, and gourmet fish snacks.  Yes, Aunt Veronica has taken pretty good care of us.  Digby says that Aunt Veronica needs to give Girl Person her recipe for eggies.  Yes, we have had a good time.

The persons started their journey back yesterday on a plane ride from Milan, Italy to London, England.  Girl Person said it was a lot of commotion, lines, people running around, passports, customs and more lines, more luggage and more trains.

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In all of that commotion, one thing was clear.  This was the start of the journey back to us, the Big Blue Treat Wagon RV and warmth in this Florida place.  It was very cold, Girl Person said in that London place.  Cold and rain and giant backpacks make for some hungry persons. The first thing that they did was get a proper cup of tea.

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Then, they decided that since they were a little down about leaving that Italy place, they would drop off their luggage and go to a London pub. With some hubbub.

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Have you ever felt a bit exhausted, or all exhausted?  Have you looked at your watch, if you still wear a watch, which Digby does not, because he does not even wear pants….and do you wonder, maybe..what would cheer you up?  If you are in London, you don’t have to wonder.  Even if you don’t have a car, like the persons did not, you can find a pub right around the corner.  Or.  You can be Boy Person and Girl Person and walk two miles in the London cold to go to one you think looks good.  And then, it is better than you think.

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As the persons walked in to the pub after a long day of driving, flying and walking and walking again, all their cares melted away when they saw the fire, the people, and heard all the hubbub going on.

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I had no idea what hubbub was until Girl Person told me.  She said it is a lot of commotion and talking and activity.  It can be laughter or loud talking.  And although you would think that if you were tired, this wouldn’t be fun, well, you probably haven’t been to a London pub.  With hubbub.  With history.  With cider.  With chips.  Oh, Girl Person’s favorite.

But that was not all.  You see, as the persons sat there enjoying all there was to enjoy in a building more than 600 years old, a few other persons were enjoying all there was to enjoy too.  But they did this every night.  They had their own routine of talking.  Pub talking.  There was the email man who talked about sending emails, not getting emails, and hating emails.

There was the table of golfers from Wales and Ireland who were going to Florida to play golf and asked the persons how they met, what they thought about life and how they could be nicer people.  Yes, there was all of that. Oh, and also, they discussed a cruise, North Dakota and Mount Rushmore which was in South Dakota.  I had a hard time following this.  Maybe it made more sense with the cider.

Then, there was the man who loved hedgehogs.

And Girl Person said there was the man who was mad about the snow, the rain, the trains and the planes.  They could relate to that.  But they also could relate to how special all this hubbub was.  Everyone seemed to want to be there, to talk to each other, to enjoy the normalcy of the day by celebrating it.  Hubbub.  Hubbub in the pub.  Oh, with lots of good grub.  It did the persons good.

No, you see, it wasn’t just about the drinks.  Or the food.  It was the mood.  The persons decided that if this pub was good, they would check out another.  And for round two, Girl Person decided that if she was to be a good traveler, she had to find out if the chips were different at every pub.  It was research, after all.

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Many times, we may think that life is too complicated to stop and sit for awhile.

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We may think that there is no time to talk about the “little things” like hedgehogs, or email or snow.  But maybe, just maybe, there is someone that wants to hear us talk about the little things.  Maybe there is someone like us that needs to talk about the things that happened in their day too.  Where have we lost our sense of community…even with strangers?

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Because in London, no one is a stranger in a pub with good grub and lots of hubbub.

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These pubs that the persons visited may be 600 or 700 years old.  But what is even older than that is the need for us all to belong.

What is even older than that is for us all to remember that no matter where we hang our hat at night, we all are the same.  Let’s remember that we all need each other.  And we all need some hubbub.

The persons fly from London, England very late today to make their way back to that Florida place.  They have to rest for the night, get the RV the next day and make sure it is ready for me and Digby. So stay tuned!  We take the day off from the blog tomorrow, but Friday, we are back…and it’s going to be a very special day.  Reunited! We can’t wait!

-Peanut Butter Brickle

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