Traveling with your Pets from the book, Living the RV Lifestyle

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Donna’s latest book can be found on Amazon.com  and as a Kindle E-reader, Click here to go to the Kindle store.

“This book is a fabulous resource for anyone considering travelling this beautiful country for recreation, or as a mobile temporary or permanent lifestyle. The author embarked upon the latter with her husband and cat in tow, leaving their traditional life in Northern California behind, and as a result have seen and experienced 36 national parks during their first 3 years. Not only does this book contain invaluable information regarding the lingo, procedures and logistical aspects of a life on the road, but provides the many options available for those who have various interests and motives for considering doing so. Each informative chapter closes with a tale experienced during their travels, which are insightful and provide a personal perspective. This book contains so much information on this subject and is a pleasant and enjoyable read!”    Posted by an Amazon customer

My new book, Living the RV Lifestyle:  Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road is a combination of practical advice on RV living as well as personal stories from life on the road, giving you an idea of what it’s really like to live the Full-time RV life.

The excerpt below is from Chapter 7Traveling with your Pets

Many people choose the RV lifestyle because they always wanted to travel with their pets.  Some can’t imagine going anywhere even on a cross-country trip without their pets.  As I’ve traveled around the country, I’ve seen so many different breeds of dogs come bounding out of RVs – from Great Danes to tiny Terriers.  Sometimes, I’ve seen people walking three or four dogs around the campground, and head back to their RV where they all piled onboard.

The RV lifestyle can work for many dogs, and even other pets, but it’s probably wise to take some test runs with your pet to see how much they enjoy traveling.  Some dogs ride all the time with their owners in their car, but it’s still a good idea to take them on a week-end trip first in the RV to see how they do, and what they might need.

Some of the essentials are a collar with name tags (even if the pet does have a microchip), a harness, and a couple of different leashes – a shorter, four-to-six foot one for busy areas, and a longer, 10 – 20 foot retractable leash for open areas in the country, and at some campgrounds.  All campgrounds seem to require that pets be on a leash at all times, and most don’t tolerate animals being tied up outside the RVs except when you’re sitting outside with them.

My husband worked as a Camp Host one summer season in Utah, and one of his biggest pet peeves (pardon the pun) was having to remind pet owners about keeping their pets on a leash at all times, and picking up their pet’s poop.  You would think that most people are used to those rules even where they live in more traditional neighborhoods, but it seems some people seem to “forget” the rules when there is no one around watching them.

Anyway, I’ve had the most fun taking my cat, Zeus out for a walk on a leash around the campgrounds.  It seems that a lot of people have not ever seen a cat walking on a leash.  Zeus is now 17 years old, and has been walking on a leash for about 7 years.  His outdoor adventures began at my last home where he was mainly an indoor cat with an occasional outing on the back deck until I decided to try walking him and his brother on a leash.  They were about 10 years old at the time so it did take some practice, but they quickly learned that this was the way to go outside.  At the end of this chapter, I have included a story of Zeus’ travels on the road.

Some campgrounds might insist on keeping your pets’ vaccines up to date.  Some do have you sign forms that attest to this fact, but it’s best to bring along their health records, and extra supplies of their medications just in case of an emergency.

Other items that can make pet travel more comfortable are outdoor bedding, and indoor pet beds; outdoor exercise pens for smaller dogs; favorite toys; a collapsible crate or pet carrier; portable water dishes for hiking and long walks; pick-up bags; first aid kit; dog shampoo and brushes; flea and tick spray; muzzle; orange vest with reflectors for night walks, and hunting season; paw boots for rough terrain, hot sand and cold weather; and a life jacket for swimming and boating.  If they have special food needs, you may want to stock up, but watch the weight in the RV.  Those pet food cans, and large bags of dry food can add up fast.

Having your pet along can make you feel more at home especially as you transition to the Full-time life.  My cat, Zeus has been a great companion and a comfort while we’ve traveled, and one lucky cat, to be able to see so many places in his lifetime.  I think Zeus might have more than nine lives.  Here’s his story.

Pet Adventures – Traveling with My Cat, Zeus, the Road Warrior

Zeus on his perch at Holiday Hills

Like John Steinbeck with his dog, Charley, Jim and I were fortunate to have a traveling cat – not just a cat who tolerated traveling, but who seemed to even love it, more than me at times.  In California, I never took my cats with me on vacations, or even on road trips.  I always called up a friend, and later a pet sitter to keep an eye on my cats while I was away.  I didn’t think of bringing them with me because I usually stayed in hotels or resorts that didn’t allow pets.  I didn’t realize that that was why many people traveled in RVs so that they could bring along their pets on summer vacations and week-end getaways. 

When we finally sold our home in California in June 2014, we decided to drive back to Massachusetts, and take Zeus on his first major road trip.  We had taken him away for a long week-end once, and he did well.  But traveling cross-country was the big test.  Zeus did better than I could have ever imagined.  Most of the time, he quietly sat on my lap, or on the back seat, only getting antsy when he needed to eat or take a bathroom break.  I even got out his leash, and walked him at rest areas if he wanted to go outside.  At most campsites, Zeus couldn’t wait to get out and sniff around just like all the dogs we saw at the campgrounds. 

Eventually, we did see other cats.  But most of the time, they stayed in their RVs, and slept in the big  front windows of the Class A Mobile homes, or peeked out of windows in the Airstreams.  Zeus also claimed his favorite spots in our RV – sitting atop his scratching post next to the dining room table, or on the back of the recliners, and even in the cubbyholes of the RV.  He liked to try new spots so that he could have different views of the outdoors. 

At first, Zeus didn’t mind moving around every week, or two.  But by the end of our first grand circle of the country, he started to grow tired of the constant moving.  I could usually tell when he was sleeping on the bed, and opened one eye in the morning, and gave me a look on moving day.  “Like you gotta be kidding!  We’re moving again.  Didn’t we just get here?”  Okay, maybe, that was me speaking through Zeus.

I think Zeus was as happy as me to arrive on Cape Cod, and stay in my sister’s driveway for a couple of months.  Now, we’ve been staying in more places longer which gives him a chance to really get to know the campground even if the neighbors and their pets keep changing.  At each campground where he’s stayed longer, Zeus has created his walking routine which varies slightly, but most of the time, he checks out the same spots, usually ending up on the picnic table, waiting for a brushing.  I guess cats are also creatures of habit.  Right now, as I write about Zeus, he’s waiting for his nightly walk.  Morning and night, and sometimes mid-day, he ventures out, ready to see the new arrivals at the campground, and to check out the local birds. 

Zeus’ presence on this journey around the country has been a calming influence at times, and comforting when I’ve been moving around so much.  His constant loving attention has been reassuring especially when I left behind many of those creature comforts that make up a home.  Living more simply was one thing, but living without Zeus was never an option.  He’s made the trip more entertaining even with his challenging moments.  Zeus began this trip at age 14, and is still going strong at 17.  I’m hopeful that Zeus will be with us into his 20’s.  Traveling wouldn’t be the same without him.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A. © 2017

Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A., CHT is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Western Astrologer and Author who counsels clients through her business of Iris Holistic Counseling Services on the road at http://www.DonnaFisherJackson.com. She has published the self-help book, The Healing Path of the Romantic: Type Four of the Enneagram Personality Type System and a novel, Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives, based on the true story of a Romantic. And now her latest book, a travel adventure book, Living the RV Lifestyle:  Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road.  All of her books are available in a print and Kindle edition on Amazon.

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About Donna Fisher-Jackson

Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA, CHT has been traveling around the United States and Canada in her tiny home - a 39 foot Fifth Wheel Bighorn RV since 2014. Her new book, "Living the RV Lifestyle: Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road" is now available on Amazon. She continues to do her counseling work on the road. For seventeen years, she lived in Northern California where she pursued studies in Western Astrology, Holistic Counseling, Hypnotherapy and Past-Life Regression. Donna completed certification in Astrological Counseling with the Astrology Institute West in the San Francisco Bay area. During her time in the Bay area, she also graduated with an M.A. in Counseling Psychology specializing in Holistic Studies from John F. Kennedy University in Northern California. Her counseling business, Iris Holistic Counseling Services, began in 1999. In her counseling work, she shares the insights of Hypnotherapy, the Enneagram, Dreamwork, Western Astrology and the Mythic Tarot. She specializes in life transitions, relationship issues, mid-life, career/vocation and life purpose.
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