I love to travel. A LOT. Most of the time my adventures either revolve around or directly include my dog. However, there are some times when it’s just not OK to bring her with me. This summer I planned a 2 day, 2 night trip where it wasn’t safe to include Pippi. This was the first time I left her for more than just a short overnight (dinner to breakfast). This was also the first time I felt some real anxiety around leaving a dog at home too. Or, to be more specific, my friend’s home.
Pippi is a very sensitive, quirky dog and most of the time, it’s just the 2 of us hanging out and interacting daily. Of course, I’ve taken her to friends’ homes, dog parks, had people over, etc. but I can tell all those activities stress her out a little bit. I was so worried that she just wouldn’t settle in at my friends’ house. Plus, crazy scenarios and questions kept popping into my head. They don’t know how sneaky and fast she can be. What if she gets out? Oh great, hottest days of the year so far. What if she doesn’t drink enough? What if she bites a dog while on a walk? What if a dog bites her? And on and on.
To help alleviate some of these (possibly irrational) fears, I did the following.
- Created a google doc with regular vet & emergency vet info at the top, feeding instructions, commands, and anything else they could possibly need to know about her. Then I shared it with every member of the house. And printed out 2 copies – 1 that would go with Pippi, the other left on my desk at work in case anyone else needed to view it.
- Called my vet and told them I was going away for a few days and gave them the name of the primary dog caregiver. As well as the first names his roommates.
- Brought Pippi over to my friend’s house to meet everyone and hang out in the house for a little while. Hopefully I left some of my scent behind.
Pippi has a large canvas L.L. Bean bag for all her travel gear so I packed that up with toys, treats, dog food, more treats, food & water bowls, extra treats, a back up leash, dog towels, and an extra bed. When it was time for me to hit the road, we went for a short walk then I loaded up the car with her bag, her crate, and, of course, her. She was nervous when I dropped her off but I set up the crate and put her bowls near the entrance, dropped some treats in and around the crate, and walked out. My heart broke. She didn’t make a sound but I felt terrible!
When I came to collect her (and her ridiculous amount of stuff) 2 days later, she was in her crate. She looked up at me but didn’t move. I called her. No response. I moved closer and put some treats in my out stretched hand. Still nothing. So I just babbled away and started packing up her things. Finally she got up and out of the crate and stood near the door. I packed up the crate and got ready to go outside. The moment I opened the door she bolted outside. Thankfully, my friend has a great fenced in backyard. So I let her sniff around while I put everything in the car. When it was time to go she reluctantly came to me and got in the car. After we got home she just laid in the corner for 2-3 hours. Then out of nowhere she bounds over to me, tail wagging, smiling, and ready for some petting! Typically, I’m against applying human feelings to dogs but the only explanation I can think of for this behavior is that she was flat-out pissed. I’ve got a little drama queen on my hands! She finally remembered that she’s a dog and that life is awesome and needed some ear scratches!