We recently adopted a dog. He's an adorable Labrador puppy named Mani, and he's part of the family now. So what does that mean about travel?
"I'd love to get a dog," so many other travelers say to me. "But I'm not ready to make the commitment to being in one place. I want to keep moving."
I've always been a strong proponent of not allowing circumstances to get in the way of travel, particularly children. People use children as a reason not to travel, but the reality is it's entirely possible to go anywhere and do anything with your kids if that's what you really want to do.I don't think the same with pets.
A child can adapt to a new circumstance. She can ride a bus. He can climb a mountain. They can learn to pack light, say goodbye and do everything an adult can do.
A pet cannot.
Is it fair to stick them in kennels underneath the airplane? Sure you can find a pet sitter, but ultimately, if you plan on being gone for a year or longer, is that pet still your pet? How do you take a 500 mile bike trek with your dog? Crossing borders becomes far more complicated depending on vaccine needs. And exactly how will a dog last on one of those 20 hour bus rides from one end of a country to another?
So what does it mean that we have a dog now?
Does this mean we plan on being in one place for the next ten years or whatever Mani's lifespan will be? Does that mean we might travel short periods of time instead of going free with no return in mind? Does it mean we will move the entire family to another spot in the world and set up shop and home somewhere else for a while? Or maybe it means we travel by car, dog in tow, as we go wherever four wheels can manage?
It means as anything else. There are more questions to ask. There are more complications. It's most definitely not as simple as throwing passport, money and pocket knife in a pack and heading out the door. But as with anything else, we'll figure it out when the time comes.
In the meantime, here are a few websites I've found that might make the trip a little easier.
Tips for cat, dog and horse owners covering everything from what to consider with vaccinations, crossing borders and tips for traveling by air, car or bus.
This article from Matador Change discusses how "support animal" was originally another word for seeing eye dog or other animal used to help people with disabilities, but now is often used by anyone who wants to avoid the pet transportation fee on airlines.
All you could possibly want to know regarding laws and regulations related to traveling with your pets. Includes an extremely useful FAQ that includes animals such as birds, reptiles and amphibians as well as the standard mammals (including rodents!). Yes, you can travel with your rat.
A United States based website providing information to travel, camp, ski, lie on the beach, romp in a state park and find a hotel for the night with your pet. Includes a smaller international database of resources as well.
All inclusive instructions on shipping your pet nationally or internationally. Provides recommendations for papers, pet preparation and vaccination.
Photo by SeeMidTN.com