Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Traveling without Dogs

Sometimes we can take our pets with us when we go someplace.
And sometimes we just cannot.

I am currently away from home at a conference. I am missing my puppies a large amount. Everyday I phone home and talk to my parents who are puppy-sitting Jenny and Lil. (Gracie is staying with her friends at Pet Sitters.)

So far Lil has been playing in the sandbox and yard with my six year old nephew during the day. She has dug holes in my parent's yard, chewed up a watering can, and broken a fruit bush. Hmm. I wonder how long Labrador puppies will be welcome visitors. Meanwhile, Jenny is looking for me and spending time in the room I slept in the night I dropped them off.

When I travel without my dogs I find it makes me even more vigilant for the sight of dogs. I've been seeing a lot of small dogs -- terriers and chihuahuas, a French Bulldog. I've seen young street people with a few Pit bulls, and one young woman with a Kelpie mix. And I've seen some working Labrador guide dogs. Overall though, being in the heart of a city where dogs are a little uncommon, I'm getting even more dog lonely.

But another thing I think about is the life of city dogs. The city I am in is not without green spaces, however, I'm right downtown and there is more cement that a dog has to tread than one will find in other places in the city. So while there are parks that the city dogs can visit, they have to spend a lot of time pacing the pavement to get to those green spaces.

A dogs quality of life is fairly dependent on the person(s) the dog lives with. A dog can be loved, cared for, socialized, and have a good quality of life in a range of geographic locations. While some individual dogs and a few breeds are more and less suited to city life, overall it is not being in or out of a city which determines a dog's quality of life. Quality of life has a lot more to do with how a dog is treated and how their needs are seen to by their people. Having lived in a more urban area once myself though, I am reminded how much I am able to enjoy with my dogs now that we are in a more rural location. Just having the dogs I do is something I would not have done in the city.

A Labrador puppy, for example, is not a puppy I personally would own in the city. I would argue though, that in many ways a city dog owner has to be more devoted and intentional than a rural dog owner. When I lived in a city I had to make a point of walking my dogs multiple times a day. Now, in the rural setting I am in, I can be lazy and not walk the dogs any further than around our yard. The dogs still need walks but it is easier to give into the temptation to not provide them.

Where we geographically live with our dogs is more a matter of personal preference I am arguing, than a naturally "better" place to live with dogs. There are some breeds that are more suited to some climates than others and some breeds that require a much more intentional, devoted owner in some situations than others. A sheep farmer for example, is in an easier position to provide the stimulation and exercise that a Boarder Collie requires but that hardly means that only sheep farmers should own Boarder Collies, or that sheep farmers make the best Boarder Collie owners. I think you get the idea.

Kelpie Puppy

I would be interested in hearing the stories and opinions of others. Where have you lived with dogs? Do you think you have a breed of dog that is better suited to some locations than others? Do you think you could provide what your dog needs regardless of where you could potentially live? Would you only live in certain kinds of places precisely because of your dogs?

Personally, I do choose to live in greener places for my own quality of life. The dogs I currently live with are able to appreciate some perks related to where we live too. I don't think though that they are any happier or leading any fuller lives than the dogs I owned when I lived in a city. I do believe that living with a dog is a little easier for me in a rural setting than in the city. I am interested in hearing what you think!

1 comment:

  1. Hi: I travel a lot - maybe once a month. With 2 super senior dogs, 1 young dog and 1 super senior cat this is particularly interesting as they are on a whole lot of meds.

    My pets "vacation" at North Wood Pet Lodge. Lynn does an excellent job with them and I always enjoy seeing her. One of the things I like about her place is that you can see the kennels - in fact, you help her and her staff load them up and get the dogs out. I've taken my animals to another place where owners were not allowed into the kennel area - although they had a video feed from camera of it and a picture window in. Weird - I'm guessing liability stuff.

    They only have set open hours, so I usually end up with half a day or an evening where I'm without any animals at home. I'm not someone who gets lonely, but I have mixed feelings about that time - on one hand, whew! I get a few hours without monitoring everybody and I can vacuum without massive trauma. On the other hand, I also miss them.

    On a related topic - traveling WITH pets, I've always worried very much about my dogs knocking around loose in the "back-back" of my Subaru Forester. If I got rear ended that would be the end of them.

    I realized this is why a lot of people who go long distance with dogs have them in travel crates. However, my one year old is still working on feeling comfortable entering the extra large travel crate I bought. So, in the meanwhile, I actually set up the dog seat belts I got awhile ago. They are in the passenger back and the dog(s) are on a "line" like a clothesline so they can move around some, but in an accident they won't go flying around. So far, I like them, but found it didn't really work with two big retrievers - they get in each other's way. So, for now (witness the complexity of my animal management) my one year old goes on the seat belt (and he's the one who travels a couple hundred miles to Mqt and back regularly) and my 13 yr old will go into the back back. I would be horrified if anything happened to the 13 yr old due to a rear end, but I would be devastated if something happened to the one year old. My 13 yr old has had a very good, long life and she's far more comfortable in the back-back (she tends to stand stiffly in the middle seats on her delicate collie legs coupled with a barrel chested lab torso)... And then the 14 yr old beagle can go in a carrier or loose in the back-back. And yes, the cat goes in a carrier.

    Excellent organizational skills sure pay off in multi-animal households!