Traveling Companions

After working for more than 40 years in the construction industry, I was looking forward to retirement. My wife and I both retired in 2016, and we had decided a few years earlier that we would travel, so we bought a motorhome. We also have two very large dogs that are our companions and go everywhere we go. They are Rhodesian Ridgebacks, which is a large breed. Our male weighs around 145 pounds and the female is around 125 pounds.
 
Traveling with two large dogs is not that much different than traveling with little kids. Sometimes it is a challenge because both dogs want to sit up front with us while we are driving down the road.  When we do stop at rest areas, we have to take a few extra minutes to let them do their business before we get back on the road.  We have taken our dogs to every convention in the Midwest over the last several years, so when we decided to start traveling to different clubs it was a no-brainer that we would take them with us. They are fairly well trained and sleep in crates at night. We have collapsible crates that are folded up during the day and then put up at night so they can have a routine just as we do. They eat about five pounds of food each day and that is something else that we have to make room for. 
 
After we get settled at a club, we get undressed and get our chairs out. We will then go walking around to explore with our dogs. We usually meet other dog-friendly people while we are walking and the dogs get their fix of being petted.
 
This particular breed is also called “Laidback Lion Hounds.” It does not bother them to lie around all day and sleep, but as soon as one of us mentions the word “walk,” they both perk up and are ready to go. They love to prance around as we walk them and are constantly looking for squirrels and rabbits to chase. Most of the clubs that we have visited have designated dog-run areas, and they love to chase each other in those areas. One of the best that we have been to so far is at Cypress Cove. They have four designated dog-run areas and our “kids” love them. We have also found that they are “kid magnets.” When we stop at any camp that has a lot of kids they usually see the size of the dogs and cannot wait to pet them. It is not unusual to look out the camper door and see several kids asking if Lexie or Zander can come out and play. They are great around kids! We have four granddaughters and the two youngest think that our dogs are their personal ponies, and they will wrestle with them all over the floor. The female will tire of this pretty quickly, while Zander will just look at the girls and keep lying on the floor. We always try to inform the kids that there is a right way and a wrong way to approach any dog, much less two that are generally larger than the kids themselves. They also make good watch dogs as anyone that looks in the motorhome and sees two big dogs looking back at them will not enter without one of us being there.
 
There are a lot of adults that mention how well-trained our dogs are, even though I think they could be a lot better. At our home camp, Sunshower Country Club in Indiana, we have an underground fence system that keeps our dogs in their area. Most of the time, when we are at the pool or clubhouse, other members will ask if we brought our dogs with us because they do not bark or make any noise when we are gone.  We have never thought of leaving them behind while we travel because they are our “kids” now and we love having them around. They are really not that much trouble to take on the road. So if you happen to see a retired couple walking a couple of small ponies, stop and say hello and meet our extended family.

Taken from the AANR Monthly Bulletin, "Across the Board" brings information and thoughts from the Governing Board of AANR to you. The Board values your membership and wants to make sure that it is doing what is right for the members and clubs. The first step is good two-way communication.