September 18, 2014

Travels With Bailey, or RV There Yet?


Our 2 year old cocker spaniel, Bailey, is unlike any other pet we have had. Even though she is our fifth cocker, she is unique. Everything makes her nervous, even things that don't exist might cause her to bark or run to us for protection. Up until three months ago she refused to eat out of her doggie bowl unless one of us was right there to assure her the food was not going to harm her. She needs more love and attention than any dog we have ever seen.

Of course, Bailey came with us on our just completed RV trip. Leaving her in a kennel for two months would have killed her and no family member could make such a long commitment. So, what is it like to travel with a dog, especially a dog like Bailey?


A sing along


Actually, a joy. The trip would have been much less fun without her. She forced us to take long walks several times a day. She prompted us to go outside in all sorts of weather. She woke us up each morning by jumping up on the bed and "suggesting" it was time to start the day. She curled in our lap and made us feel special.

She is not a good traveler, however. Betty has set up a cushioned doggie bed in the front of the RV right between our two seats. Even so, Bailey spends the three, four, or even five hours we are driving somewhere sitting up and shaking. No amount of cajoling, giving of treats, or ignoring her behavior results in any changes. Only if Betty sits back in the living area will Bailey lie down, but only as long as her head is on Betty's lap and she can still keep an eye on me!

Once we have arrived at a campsite, though, she is transformed. All the new sights and smells have her on high alert. She adores exploring wherever we may be - the campground, a park, or a picnic area. 


She sees her first bunny

How brave she has become: The bunny stares her down


Whatever it is must smell good

What's that over there? Can I go?

Water must be from a bottle, just like mom & dad


I know they are coming back..aren't they?
She has no problem if Betty and I leave her in the RV, with a few treats, lights and air conditioning, for several hours while the two of us go places dogs aren't allowed or appropriate. She doesn't bark and doesn't create any mess. She simply lies on the coach near the door or on her bed waiting for our return.

Her ability to wait calmly for us turned out to be very important. We could go out to eat, visit a museum or historical site without a worry. We discovered that many local, state, and some national parks do not permit dogs, even if on a leash. I assume there are health and liability concerns but it was a shame we couldn't take her to some beautiful places that she would have loved. If she didn't have the ability to be left behind, this trip would have been very different, and not nearly as satisfying.

Some RV parks have a rule against leaving your pet alone in the RV. Again, I understand. Being in a campsite next to a barking, lonely dog for several hours would not be pleasant. We solved the problem by ignoring the rule. Bailey doesn't make her presence known so any disturbances were not likely. And, we decided if the campground made an issue of it we'd pack up and go somewhere else. The trip would have been a major disappointment if we had to always have the dog with us. 

All dogs (and cats, I assume) are different so what we experienced with Bailey may not apply to you. But, for us, the RV adventure would not have been nearly as enjoyable and memorable without Bailey along. She is part of our family and belongs with us wherever we go. That's just the way it is.










I received the following graphic from a home security company just as I was finishing this post. Based on the above, I would classify Bailey as part barking buzzer and part couch potato.






18 comments:

  1. Our dog does very well when left alone in the RV also. I agree with you: that makes RVing with a pet all the better. On some journeys pets aren't allowed, so being able to leave our dog in the RV (with a/c on, of course) for a few hours has made our traveling more enjoyable.
    Our dog will not sleep in the car while driving. She likes to sit up and look all around. Also, when we pull over to catch a few zzzzz's, she won't sleep either. She sits up and actually guards us. If anyone comes near the vehicle, she growls and let's them know she's Miss Security.
    When we finally do settle into a campsite, she will NOT sleep on the floor, in her doggie bed. She demands that we fold down the kitchen table, fluff up the pillows and she jumps up to sleep in a full sized bed. It's amazing how these animals know what they want AND make their requests known to us. As you said, they are all part of the RV family.

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    1. We have trained Bailey to spend most of the night in her bed in the front of the RV between the seats. But, about the time it starts to get light she wanders back to the bedroom area, pushes the bathroom door that partially blocks the hallway when open, and leaps into our bed. After appropriate greetings and ear-scratching she is content to go back to sleep for awhile, but right between us.

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  2. Love this post! Enjoyed your description of your life with Bailey on the road, and the photos were great! There is something about a sweet dog that makes me (and most people) smile and feel good all over.

    We have always had labs over the years. Every one of them would be described as "The Social Butterfly". The only risk someone had coming into our house was being licked to death :-)

    Our last one died about 3 years ago. It was a tough decision, but we have decided for now to not take on another dog. The condo we rent in FL does not allow pets, and we have found this to be true for many of the condos we considered renting. We sure miss having a beloved dog at our feet. But, I don't miss the early morning call to get up and play! Eventually, if we move to a warmer climate, we would consider it again, although a smaller dog this time.

    Bailey sure is a cutie. And so lucky to have you and Betty cater to his every need! A dog's love goes a long way to make up for any inconvenience they create.

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    1. I imagine Bailey will be our last dog, but we said that for the two years between Bailey and her predecessor! The hassles and extra time and expense are nothing compared to the love and companionship she provides us.

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  3. Our dog hates the car -- she, too, shakes and pants and drools and basically thinks the word is going to end. So we leave her behind when we travel. Fortunately, we have neighbors who take her in, for a modest fee since their boy loves our dog.

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    1. Bailey can't wait to jump into a car, but then pants and shakes nonstop. Once we get to a park or wherever we are heading she leaps out with shouts of joy and unrestrained excitement. There is something to be learned from a dog: be fully in the moment. Whatever is going on now can change in an instant.

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  4. Loved the post about Bailey. Have you ever tried a thundershirt on Bailey. We had one dog that really need it and it stopped the shaking etc. This current dog is afraid of nothing. I have a thundershirt that is no longer needed if you like I owuld be happy to get it to my fellow Arizonian. Is that even a word? Cindy

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    1. Arizonian? Sure it is word, or certainly should be! Thanks, Cindy. We have a thundershirt and used it when she was younger. It did seem to help, but no more.

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  5. This was a perfect read as my husband and I plan our cross country trip next month with our 13 yr. old Lab. She has similar traits as Bailey...head on ones lap and eyes on another...too funny!
    In our young retired life we are going try a winter season in a ski town. Being a ski bum sounds like fun!!!

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    1. A ski bum? Good for you. That is certainly shaking things up. Yes, Bailey is only comfortable when she can see us both. Even at home she will sit either halfway between us in the living room or right next to the one person in the room. If she is 20 feet away in another room she will still move to be within a few feet of the nearest person.

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  6. Loved this post! We have two older Jack Russells.....they stay with our son while we are away. I f you know the breed you understand that they are unique in their immense energy. Ours are 9 and 17 and have finally slowed som. They would not adapt well to traveling. Both dogs are rescued dogs and we spoil them much more than we ever dared spoil our children. And kids tell us just that:) One dog is "the queen" and makes sure we know it but the other dog must have been mistreated in previous owner's situation and just sits back and watches...definitely not the alpha dog. The Queen is terrified if it is windy, thundering, lightening, fireworks, etc. We tried the thundershirt but it was no help. We crate her when she gets shaky and she must feel more secure in the crate because it seems to calm her very much..
    Loved Betty's pictures! So glad you both are sharing again via your blog. Sure enjoying!

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    1. We bought Bailey from a breeder in Missouri with a good reputation. But, we are speculating that her nervousness is primarily due to her shipment to us by plane when she was 8 weeks old. She missed a flight she was supposed to be on so she spent an extra 3 hours in the shipping container. When she arrived in Phoenix she was without water and it took some coaxing to get her out of the cage. When she finally did she drank two bottles of water and shook all the way home. We think that experience traumatized her to some extent.

      We spoil her too, but how can we not: look at that face and devotion!

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  7. Our dogs would be the 'barking social butterflies'! All bark and no bite. But, traveling with them is not so bad. It's all about wearing them out before you leave them alone. Cool to read Bailey's 'take' on the trip!
    b

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    1. You are right: on days when we took her on several long walks and exploring sessions she slept soundly and was still a bit tired during the next day's driving. Even at home, a longish time at the dog park stimulates her appetite and then she goes quickly to sleep.

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  8. Cari in North TexasFri Sep 19, 08:23:00 PM MST

    Interesting post about Bailey's RV trip :-)

    My first dog loved to ride in the car, and I had to be careful of what I said or he would be at the door to the garage looking at me like, what are you waiting for? He wouldn't sleep either but would sit and look out the window or lie down occasionally on longer trips. He did not do well in motel rooms, so I had to either board him or have someone keep him when I traveled.

    I don't have a dog right now, but when I retire and get my travel trailer I will consider adopting another one. Most every travel blogger I read has at least one, so who am I to buck tradition? :-)

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    1. RVers have lots and lots of dogs. Many couples we encounter have two or even three dogs with them. One is enough for us.

      Bailey did very well on the one night we opted for a motel room because there were no decent RV parks in town. Just like in the motorhome, she waited patiently on the floor in her bed until we came back from dinner.

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  9. What an adorable dog you have and how fortunate he is to have you and Betty to love and care for him. I have two rescues who needed lots of TLC when we got them but, over time, they have done so well, no longer fearful. Sad to think that these little bundles of love were not treated and loved by previous owners. Glad that you 'understand' him. Dee

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    1. We spent a few hours at Best Friends, a nationally known animal shelter in Kanab, Utah. The most well known section is Dog Town which was featured in a tremendous TV show for a few years. Best Friends takes abused, hurting, and abandoned animals and turns them into loving, suitable pets. It is an inspiring place and makes you want to take home another few dogs!

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