Our latest foray into New Hampshire was blessed with cool mornings and evenings and warm, sun-kissed days. The longest day of the year was nigh and that was lovely too – we had glorious daylight until almost nine o’clock.
Fiona, Secret and Lobo are great travelers. We create routine for them within the boundaries of travel and this is a key to happy, travel savvy dogs. How do we do this? The basic routines involve, quite simply, food and potty breaks.
THE MORNING ROUTINE
When we wake in the morning, whether it’s 6 am or 9 am, we walk all three dogs so they can pee and poop if they need to do so. They know this, expect this, and rely on this, as well they should. This typically means wandering around camp bleary eyed in our pajamas, with a roll of blue poop bags sticking out of my pocket, but camping is casual and that is fine for us. No matter how sleepy we are, we are watchful for critters (chipmunks, snakes, bears, frogs, other dogs, moose). Rob takes two dogs and I take one.
Soon after we return to the camper, the tea kettle gets placed on the stove for me, and I begin preparing their bowls of food in our handy dandy bento bowls. At home, each dog is given his or her food bowl in a specific order and in a specific spot. This is how I create order and boundaries for meal times. I do the same in the camper – Fiona first by the dinette, Lobo next by the door, and Secret, third, is fed in the middle near the fridge. The dogs take a fish oil vitamin every morning in cream cheese and this is given before or after their breakfast. Lobo, ever vigilant for breaks in beloved routines, barks at me if I forget!
THE EVENING ROUTINE
The same routine is followed in the evening. Dinner is served somewhere between 5 pm and 7 pm. I like to vary the time – same goes with breakfast – so they learn to be a little flexible. Before we go to bed, they get a long walk around the campground to pee and poop. Then we settle in for the night of watching a movie, sitting by the campfire gazing at the flames, or falling blissfuly asleep to the tune of crickets and bullfrogs.
CAMPING WITH DOGS
You will find dogs everywhere in campgrounds. On leash, off leash, in vehicles, in golf carts, in tents, in pop up campers, in travel trailers. It really is a dog lover’s paradise. This is why camping made such sense to us; it makes traveling with dogs easy. We’ve done the hotel stays with one dog or two and that was great, albeit expensive. Now with three canines in our family, camping is the answer. Of course camping also means a lot of time spent outdoors, which we, as a family, love and appreciate.
LEAVE THE CAMPER BEHIND?! HECK YEAH
We discovered a great travel trailer “trick” on this last trip. The campground we were staying at has a policy, based on availability of course, where you can leave your trailer in place for two consecutive weekends, as long as you book and pay for the two weekends at once. To keep the electric on (and the items in your fridge and freezer cold) you pay a very minimal fee.
So the camper waited for us patiently all week long and we didn’t have to drive it back and forth from New Jersey twice. It was like having a familiar vacation home waiting for us in another state. I guess this is why some folks have “seasonal” spots at campgrounds and just drop their trailer in place for the entire summer season.
The savings in gas and tolls alone almost paid for our second weekend. When we drive with the trailer, we must stop at least every two hours to gas up. When we drive the car alone, it is every four or five hours.
The difference in ease of travel (not having an extra 22 feet of vehicle in tow to maneuver) and savings (cut the gas expense in half) with not having something in tow is huge. Staying two weekends in a place satisfies our desire to get to know a place better by staying longer. This pack is ready to travel!
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