For us, petting a Greyhound is pretty much instant happiness. So why don’t we have a Greyhound right now? Or even a dog?
Six weeks ago we unexpectedly lost Buddy, the last of our Greyhounds. Long before that, we’d decided we wouldn’t adopt another pet unless we stop traveling.
Don’t worry – although there is a bit of a reality check here, you won’t need Kleenex for this post.
(and, as you might’ve guessed by the title, there is a fun ending)
Why not combine full-time RV life with dogs?
Plenty of people travel in their RVs with dogs and other pets. They seem to do it happily and successfully.
Brian and I had many good days with Buddy.
While I feel bad about the times he struggled, I don’t regret bringing him along on our adventure. We’d never have left our boy behind.
But whether you see it on Instagram or RV blogs or not, RVing with dogs isn’t always easy. I want to acknowledge that.
These are things worth considering if you’re wondering how your dog will fare with full-time RV life.
Any anxiety *will* be amplified
While Buddy loved many aspects of RV life, some of it stressed him out. We’re talking Prozac stress and worse.
Not knowing beforehand how a dog would take to our lifestyle is one reason we don’t plan on adopting while RVing.
Veterinary care while traveling is a challenge
I could write an entire blog post about this. Instead, I’ll give you food for thought and add that we were incredibly fortunate with the vets that cared for Buddy.
- Getting refills for meds was an ongoing struggle.
- You never know how experienced a vet is with your specific breed or issue.
- Your travel schedule and your pet’s health can collide.
- Every vet we visited used e-records; we had Buddy’s records sent to any new vet we visited. All it took was a phone call.
Our longtime vet (and best Greyhound vet ever) in GA did as much as he could via phone. But the reality is, when you travel across state lines, even veterinary care becomes entangled with regulation and liability.
It’s hard to be free
I felt bad leaving Buddy alone to go places where he wasn’t welcome, or places he wouldn’t be comfortable.
We sought out and found many dog-friendly places in our travels so far. More often than not, though, taking Buddy along was impractical or flat out prohibited.
Surprisingly, U.S. National Parks are often off limits to dogs. We didn’t discover this until we were in South Dakota and planned to visit the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore.
For the last five years or so, I’ve found myself limiting what I do because I am concerned about one dog situation or another. I’d argue this is the way it should be. Even if that makes me a bit of a Crazy Dog Lady.
Brian and I would prefer to have our boy with us. Anxiety, limited freedom and all. But since we cannot have him back we are going to do more of what we could not (or, OK, would not) do when he was with us.
Moving forward – positively – after loss
For over a month and a half we’ve had all Buddy’s gear piled up in our RV, hoping and trying to donate it to a Greyhound rescue group.
You wouldn’t think making a donation would be a problem.
The all-volunteer nature of Greyhound rescue/adoption groups, our single vehicle, Brian’s work schedule, and possibly our itinerant status complicated things.
Most of the stuff we had would be useful only for a Greyhound or a similar (and even rarer) breed. Greyhounds’ large but skinny physiques, deep chests and bony bodies call for things you can’t usually walk into PetSmart and buy.
If we’d taken Buddy’s stuff to the Humane Society or another shelter we might as well have put it in the dumpster for all the good it would have done.
No, it was bad enough we had Buddy’s stuff but no Buddy. Something good had to come out of our loss. Damn it.
The universe conspired to help us
Yesterday was a rare weekend day off for Brian. I was determined to make this donation happen. Unfortunately, by bedtime the previous evening I had nothing.
My attempts to reach out to volunteer groups and meet up had gone nowhere.
After Brian turned in, I stayed up Googling. I figured I’d find an event, we’d show up, and if the group seemed legit we’d offer them Buddy’s stuff.
I searched for anything within an hour or so of our current location.
Then I tried Chattanooga – two hours away. Nothing.
Probably good, because a two hour drive each way would mean four total hours of drive time. Not a great way to spend a day off.
Except…the stuff…and the possibly two to four more weeks of constant reminders that no Greyhound was using it.
I thought of Nashville, but knew that it was close to four hours away.
I Googled to see if there even was a Nashville group.
Of course there was.
I clicked through to see if they had any events planned.
Of course they did.
The next day. In a location that was even further away than Nashville proper.
Greyhounds. Possibly several Greyhounds. Accompanied by their guardians, some of whom were rescue group organizers who could put Buddy’s stuff to good use.
And, as an added bonus, craft beer. If that wasn’t enough, buying craft beer was 50% off AND benefited the Greyhounds.
I lost count of how many wins that was.
Despite the drive, I knew we’d go. I sprung it on Brian when I got up. He dreaded all the driving, but agreed it was a good opportunity in every other way.
If we could create our own heaven it would probably look a lot like this
Flytes owners Trish and John Nelson have two Greyhounds (Heaven, the white dog crashed out on the floor in the last photo above is one). The Nelsons moved from California to Pleasant View with the express purpose of starting the brewery.
We talked with several attendees about Greyhound things, all the while trying to juggle flights (or maybe “Flytes”?) of beer, pints of beer and petting as many Greyhounds as possible.
Trish told me that they made the trip from California in a rented RV. Heaven, she said, was a wreck the entire time.
We could relate.
Craft beer + Greyhounds could be our thing
This morning when I went on the hunt for a craft beer journal (laugh all you want, but we forget beers we love all the time, and that makes us sad), I discovered a “United States of Beer” poster/journal.
The idea is to drink a beer from every state.
“What if we made it a mission to drink a craft beer from each state, and it only counted while in that state?” I suggested.
“While petting Greyhounds!” one of us added. I forget whose idea that was. We’re equally culpable.
Some RVers take off with a plan to visit all U.S. National Parks. Or see all 50 states. Or work a job in every state.
Even if they don’t have a declared mission, plenty of RVers have those state sticker travel maps and their own rules for what they have to do to add a sticker.
We just wanted to drop out of mainstream life, live more freely, and hopefully see and do cool things. We don’t need a declared mission.
But, if anyone asks –
Yes! We are on a mission to pet Greyhounds and drink craft beer in every U.S. state. Support our mission by inviting us out for either when we’re in your state.