One of my favorite activities during the non-snowy seasons is to pack up the car and hit the road, visiting nearby friends and attractions. I have only had my own dog for about a year now and quickly learned some new skills during our first trip together.
Luckily, I have a dog that doesn’t mind being in the car…under certain circumstances. The first trip we took together was only about a four-hour drive total but that was a huge difference in time for a dog used to about 20-minute drives at a time. I quickly learned some things were missing from my solo road trip routine that was necessary when traveling with another being.
We needed to stop way more often. My dog tends to tolerate shorter trips but she can turn fussy and annoyed after about two hours on the road. The lack of moving air in the car with the windows up on the highway mixed with her boredom and need to pee. She would frequently stick her face into the driver seat wondering when we might stop next. She would pant and pace instead of relaxing in the backseat and I began to learn the signals for “We need to stop soon.”
While I couldn’t always guarantee a rest stop right when we needed it, I did try to stop at small-town gas stations, parks or even a nice field to let her out to sniff, stretch her legs and go potty. These frequent breaks also help make longer trips more bearable for me, giving me a chance to stop an appreciate where we were and where we are going.
I overpacked like a crazy pet mom. During our first road trip together, I over-analyzed everything we brought along and packed extra of everything including bedding, toys, food, and treats. I even brought along an extra collar and harness “just in case.” Of course, during the trip, the extra toys and bedding were ignored for the excitement of being on the road and once at our destination there was no time to play with toys or eat treats as we both happily fell asleep at the end of each day of adventuring. After this initial trip, we downsized our packing list to bring only the essentials.
Having someone else along for my trip taught me lessons about slowing down and thinking through each trip we take. The journey to the destination is half the adventure so take some time to soak it up. What you bring with you doesn’t matter its about the memories you bring back.
Slow down, pack light and always venture on!