"We are never in any particular hurry when we go on our road trips"
By Jack Payton
When my wife and I fire up the RV for our weekend excursions, Mortie’s ears perk up and his tail begins wagging feverishly.
He knows we’re going on a trip!
Mortie loves going camping – getting away from the mundane
routines and familiarity of our suburban backyard is a treat he looks forward
to almost as much as Jennifer and I.
It’s important to all of us that we get away from the daily grind as
often as possible, so we go camping at least a once a month between April and
And while enjoying the fresh air and abundant flora and
fauna of the great outdoors is something that suit’s Mortie’s natural
disposition, such was not originally the case when it came to hopping into the 1993 Beaver Contessa and going for a six
or eight hour drive.
And when we hop into the Beaver for our annual
two-week multi-state driving tour, poor Mortie initially didn’t understand why we seemed so tethered
to our vehicle, and more upsetting to him was that he himself had to be
tethered on a leash when we arrived at the RV Park. He was used to being able to run free with
Mother Nature when we got to our destination!
So Jennifer and I began looking into ways that we could
ensure that our beloved retriever had a more enjoyable ride aboard the vehicle,
and had a better time once we reached our destination. The goal was to ensure that all of us had a
safe and comfortable trip – because if Mortie was anxious or gloomy, my wife
and I didn’t have a very good time either.
But with proper planning, a few precautions and a little bit
of time to allow Mortie to adjust, he’s come to enjoy both the ride and the
visits to various RV parks throughout the western United States.
So here are a handful of tips that we’ve picked up over the
years that you can incorporate to improve the RV experience for you and your
After a careful consideration, we decided not to crate Mortie up during our rides, instead allowing him to roam freely – with
the exception of a makeshift gate that keeps him from hopping into my driving
cabin. We recognize that there is a
safety risk here; animals will be more likely to avoid injury in the event of
an accident if they are safely harnessed.
We certainly would understand that others will err on the side of
caution here, but we’ve decided to make Mortie’s comfort and enjoyment of the
trip the priority, so we’ve sacrificed a bit on the safety side. This is a determination that the individual
dog owner will have to make for themselves and their pet.
We are never in any particular hurry when we go
on our road trips, so we make sure that we make frequent stops to allow Mortie
to run around and “use the bathroom”.
Mortie gets restless if he can’t burn off some energy every couple
hours, so we plan on stopping often – rest areas are generally great places to
let your dog wander around for five or ten minutes.
When we were first getting Mortie used to long
road trips we made sure to bring some items familiar to him – his blanket, chew toys, etc. – so he would feel more comfortable and less out of his
For our own sake, we make sure that we bring
along a comfortable dog bed for Mortie for when he wants to lay down. Now this doesn’t always keep him off of the
RV furniture, so Jennifer made some slip covers that can be removed and washed
periodically. We also make sure we have
a doggy vacuum handy at all times to quickly sweep up dog hair that can begin
to accumulate quickly.
We make sure to do our due diligence when
selecting RV Parks to stay at. We make
sure to choose one that is at least near an area where Mortie can run around a
bit. Most reputable RV Parks have leash
policies – and this is a good thing – so we want to make sure we aren’t too far
from a place where our dog can get some exercise. We also look for RV parks that have a policy
against aggressive dog breeds, as Mortie can be far too trusting and friendly
around other dogs, and we’ve heard horror stories about travelers and their
pets getting mixed up with the wrong kind of mutt at the RV park.
About The Author
Jack Payton is a car nut in the purest form. He loves to write about everything gear related, and rebuilt his first engine at 15. He works as a freelance writer for the online tires retailer http://www.tires-easy.com. In his spare time he enjoys family road trips, attending car shows, and tossing the Frisbee to his dog, Mortie.
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