Meet one of those most important furry friends that I have – this is Jenny. When we first moved to Iowa 6 years ago I really wanted to adopt a large dog for my son with autism. I grew up with Doberman Pinchers so I have a special place in my heart for large dogs. I looked up our local animal shelter and headed out to see what dogs they had that day……knowing after 10 years my husband has always said no to having a dog.
Our Rescue Story:
Below is the first time my son met Jenny there at the shelter. I honestly went to the shelter expecting to not find a dog. After all it had to be the right fit and I knew my husband was pretty against having a dog. I walked down the hallways, and when I got to the end I realized there was a small outdoor area to check so I figured why not – I was already there! There were only 2 dogs out there, and Jenny was the VERY last dog in the short row. Workers told me that not one single person had even glanced at her in the 2 weeks she had been there! How heartbreaking! She’s SO beautiful!
I was a little hesitant simply because Jenny is a German Shepherd and I had small, very loud kids. They found Jenny out on the streets so she had no back story. But I fell in love, head over heels I knew in my heart she was the right dog for us. I went home to pick up the kids from school and brought the family right back out to meet Jenny. After seeing how my son responded with her my husband finally agreed – our first family dog!
We had to spend a lot of time working with Jenny the first few years we had her because believe it or not she got very car sick! I’m talking full on puking in my car several times in just a short 15 minute drive! It was NOT pretty! We slowly took her on short trips until we could make it 20 minutes away to the nature trails near our house. Thankfully now she has gotten past most of her car sickness so now she can travel with us short distances! She’s not great for long travel or near a lot of people due to her hyperactivity around other animals (pets & wildlife!) but we take her out as much as possible!
5 Tips for Traveling with Your Pets:
- Always always always be prepared for anything with your pet! Make sure you have at least 1 pet bowl (2 for longer travel), access to water (or a water bottle), food, and baggies to pick up waste. Don’t forget any medication your dog is on.
- Bring the proper leash and collar! Traveling can make for some long days and dogs can get really hyper if they need exercise! For Jenny, we use a dog prong collar because she can get pretty unruly when she comes across other animals. But make sure if you use one that you switch them to a regular collar when left alone and at nights.
- Have an updated pet tag on! This is SO important – even if your pet is microchipped! They are inexpensive and can provide immediate access to your pet if someone finds them and can call you. It can also alert the finder to any medical needs or let them know your pet is friendly.
- Bring treats! Whether you pack a few extra bones or whatever pet you bring – make sure to reward them for good behavior while traveling! Be mindful of messy treats though!
- Wear a Wireless Tracker. Unfortunately Jenny is a runner – she’s escaped and run clear out of our little towns we have lived in no less than 15+ times. Thank heavens she’s always come back or we’ve retrieved her successfully! It’s gut wrenching when you realize a pet has run away so a good quality wireless pet tracker is important.
What to Do When your Pet Can’t Handle Travel:
Leaving behind a pet to travel is a hard choice! Unfortunately most of the time when we travel Jenny can’t come with us. You want to make sure they are well cared for and loved while you are gone!
- Find a pet sitter or board your pet. Apps like Rover or Facebook Marketplace can help you find a pet sitter if you’d rather your pet stay at home than being boarded at a kennel or Petsmart hotel. Make sure that you check references and fully trust the person checking in on your pet!
- Leave out extra water dishes! Even though we have someone checking in daily with our animals we always leave a huge bucket of water in the basement for our dog to have access to in case something happens and the pet sitter doesn’t make it one day. We also leave the toilet lids open for water access.
- Have emergency vet numbers visible. No matter who is caring for your pets, they need quick access to any emergency vet numbers and a number that you can be reached 24/7.
- Consider local overnight trips to work with your pet! If you don’t think your pet will do will in a hotel or camping situation, try it out – but stay local in case you need to go back home with your pet!
- Leave extra treats / toys! When we go away I always leave extra large bones out for the pet sitter to offer my dog when she shows up! This helps to keep my pup busy while we’re gone!
- Check in! Don’t be afraid to call your pet sitter or place of boarding and check in to make sure everything is going smoothly!