My Furry Loved Ones

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A lot of people thought we were crazy when we told them we planned on bringing our pets with us. I guess we are kind of crazy.

To me, my pets are much more than just pets. They are members of my family. It didn’t really make sense not to take them – they had been around for all the other big moments in our lives, so why not this one? I couldn’t imagine having them be a part of my life for so long, and then just dumping them somewhere for a year. IMG_5151

This is Pirate. I’ve had him the longest (10 years!). He has really been there for me through both my best and worst life moments.I found him when he was just a tiny little kitten in Mexico. I couldn’t bear leaving him behind. So, I snuck him into my sweatshirt pocket without telling anyone. He fell asleep and didn’t wake up until after we had crossed the border and were almost home. My mom wasn’t pleased at the time but she actually grew to love him, and she was actually sad that the apartment she lived in wouldn’t allow pets. She was really worried about how he would handle the trip. Pirate’s a boss, though, and he handled the trip like a champ.

IMG_0659This is Gordie, but his official name is Gordon Freeman. We got him when he was 6 months old, and now he’s a little over 3 years old. We were told he was a Chihuahua Terrier mix, so we thought he would stay relatively small. He grew quickly. We have a feeling that he might have been abused when he was younger because he’s very skittish about people, and doesn’t like strangers. It took him a while to trust us, even. But now he’s actually super loyal to us and if you ever try to hit any of us, he will actually bark, growl, and jump at you in an effort to protect us.

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This is Walter. David and I had been talking about how we felt Gordie needed a friend. I was perusing Craigslist one day and saw this little guy, and I was like “OMG IT LOOKS LIKE A MINI GORDIE – WE TOTALLY NEED TO GET HIM” but the posting said he was $120. David said, “You should respond and say you’ll take him for free.”

Lo and behold, I got an email later and the person asked if I wanted him. Um, yes! So, I stopped by and it was done. I couldn’t say no. He’s apparently a Pomeranian Terrier mix. He was so tiny when I got him –  only a couple of months old – and now he’s ridiculously huge, and he’s not even a year old yet. He’ll be a year old in December.

Apparently, the previous owner’s dog was accidentally impregnated by a neighbor’s dog, and they simply had no time to take care of a puppy in addition to a baby. I didn’t tell David I got him. I just brought him home. He was really surprised. He said, “I didn’t think that guy would actually give you the dog for free.” Luckily, David saw his cute face and couldn’t be mad, but he did ask me to please not bring home any more pets.

So, that’s the rule now. No more pets.

Gordie was so happy to have a new friend. They seriously look and act like brothers, even though they are not related.

Bringing our pets wasn’t without its challenges, though. Roadtripping across the country with one pet – let alone three – requires a lot of planning. We were lucky that our pets didn’t require sedatives, but I know there are some pets who would probably need them to get through such a long trip. If you ever plan on taking a furry one on a trip, here’s some advice:

  • Stop every couple of hours so your dogs can relieve themselves and make sure they get plenty of exercise. Tire them out. That way, they will sleep in the car when you’re on the road. If you just let them do their business, they will still have tons of energy and will be active in the car.
  • Book your hotel in advance to get better rates. Expedia has the best rates for pet friendly hotels
  • Bring a big jug of water and use disposable bowls for food/water
  • Don’t tell the hotel that you have pets unless they ask. If they ask, you should definitely let them know. Extended Stay has the best pet policy (they don’t ask)
  • If you do have to disclose that you have pets, expect to pay about $10 per pet per night
  • If you’re traveling with a cat, those aluminum foil baking pans can double as a litter box. Use a pan liner on the pan, pour cat litter into it, and after your cat does his or her business, you can just bag up the litter and toss it.
  • Keep your cat in a carrier! We had left the gate on ours open thinking he might want to roam around and stretch his legs. He ended up pooping on David’s favorite blanket. If we had kept him in the carrier, he would have held it and just meowed to let us know he needed to go. (Pets generally don’t like to defecate where they sleep)
  • Make sure you walk your dogs before you go to bed and as soon as you get up to avoid any accidents in the hotel room
  • Keep pet treats handy
  • Don’t expect to leave your pets alone for extended periods of time. You don’t want them to destroy anything or wake other guests up. If you are going to leave your pets in your hotel room, tire them out beforehand so then they’ll just sleep. Don’t forget to put your “do not disturb” sign up

I’m glad we brought them with us. They remind me when to take a break. When I’m feeling stressed or anxious, just petting or hugging them makes me feel instantly better. The fact that I need to take my dogs on daily walks keeps me active. Their alertness – while sometimes annoying – does make me feel safer. I never have to worry about anyone breaking in because our dogs are incredibly loud and protective.

As for how our pets get along….I think it helped that we had the cat first, and he was the oldest. When we got the dogs, they were puppies and learned the cat was the boss. My cat was initially annoyed but has grown to tolerate them, and will occasionally engage in play with them. Sometimes when I wake up I find that the three of them are cuddled together on the bed, which is adorable.

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