Beau and I drove from Florida to Louisiana last week to see my extended family for Easter. If you’ve done a long trip with your dog, you know that packing for them is sometimes more work than packing for yourself. Food, emergency kit, lots of water, bowls, bed, treats, extra collar, extra leash, and lotsa poop bags! I was so preoccupied with organizing all of Beau’s things, I actually left my suitcase at home and had to drive 45 minutes back to get it! I had made a list – I just didn’t write down “carry luggage to car.” Good grief, as Charlie Brown would say.
I really love traveling with Beau. He’s great in the car and sleeps a lot, and I’m not alone. People often ask, “Are you traveling by yourself?” I say, “No, I’m traveling with my dog.” It’s surprising how many people think that’s a weird answer and clarify, “I mean another person.” It’s true that Beau can’t help change a flat tire, but he lets me take control of the radio and periodically reaches across the console and gives me ear kisses. I’d say that’s an ideal traveling companion! So no, I don’t travel alone when I travel with Beau.
We stopped at a beach in the Florida pan handle and in New Orleans along the way. He had so much fun in the French Quarter. Everyone wanted to talk to him and pet him, and he seemed to like sitting around listening to jazz! He broke the ice for me to talk to so many people. We started off talking about dogs, and ended up talking about other things. Everyone petted him and told him how they missed their dog that was at home, and most showed me pictures of their dog. I met so many nice people who I probably wouldn’t even have spoken to if it weren’t for Beau.
We had so much fun with my family. There was singing, dancing, and egg hunting. There were three young dogs for Beau to play with, so he ran miles around the yard over the course of a day. He really had a great time taking in new smells at the lake by their house and sampling all the different foods.
Our hearts are full after such great shared experiences in new places with other people. I think that all relationships benefit from shared experiences, both big and small, which is why I’ve always traveled with my dogs as much as possible. When I have to travel and leave Beau behind, I know that he’s well-cared for, but I feel so distant from him. I wish he was with me when good things happen, or just to meet the people I do and see a new place. It was so special that he was able to travel with me this time, meet all my family, and take part in every moment of the trip. Sharing such adventures together strengthens our bond. I think it makes him feel important. Valued. It also expands his world, builds his confidence, and deepens our connection.
If you have a chance to travel with your dog, I hope you’ll take it. While it can be a lot of work, the rewards are well worth it and long-lasting. Just ask your dog! They’ll tell you that they agree!