Traveling with Dog Envy
Dogs have always been an important part of my life, up until the point that I began traveling. Owning a dog and traveling seemed to be mutually exclusive; doing both simultaneously just couldn’t be done. However, as time passed and the months of travel turned into years, the idea that we could continue our lifestyle of world travel AND be dog owners began to fill my thoughts. I started to obsess about dogs.
At the park, Marko, content to kick a football (soccer ball) around, couldn’t relate to my yearning for a furry companion, he having never owned a dog. For me, something was missing. As time moved on, I would see other people walking their dogs and be more and more overcome with longing. A man at a park bench would reach down to pat his chocolate lab, the dog looking up at him with a big silly grin. That’s what I wanted. I smiled at them both, filled with envy.
I began to sit at our apartment window which overlooked the park and call out to Marko every time a dog went by. “Oh look, a German Shepherd!” “Ahhh, come see the adorable little white Westie.” “Oh my god, come quick, come quick it’s a puppy!” He would give me a semi-forced smile as he tried to remain pleasant at my 18 th shout out about a dog sighting for the day.
It got to a point that it was nearly all I talked about and my desire for a dog to be part of our lives began to outweigh my belief that travel and dog ownership couldn’t go hand in hand. I started researching, discussions began and we started considering getting a dog to travel with us as a potentially viable idea.
For months, we went round and round; can we? Should we? How will it change things for us? Are we ready?
We decided on a breed, King Charles Cavalier. This is a small dog (under 25 lbs.) and well-known for being friendly and adaptable. With sweaty palms, I picked up the phone and began calling Cavalier breeders. This was getting very real. We scheduled an appointment to see a litter of puppies; we stopped on our way at the bank. My heart was pounding with excitement as I repeated like a mantra, we might not get a puppy today.
It was a 2 hour drive to the dog breeder’s house. There didn’t seem to be enough oxygen in the car. I tried to distract myself and hide my excitement from Marko but struggled to make conversation. My mind was continually returning its attempt to analyze, dreaming up hypothetical situations of travel with a dog; still in limbo attempting to calculate the right decision.
We approached the front door, my heart pounding like we had run rather then drove the distance. I hesitated a moment then rang the bell. The door knob turned, and the door creaked open. The father dog was the first to greet us, desperate to receive our attention, followed by three white and tan puppies. I took 5 steps inside the house, exhaled and plopped myself on the strangers’ floor, making myself level with the dogs, realizing as I did that I had been holding my breath since we arrived.
After being greeted by both the female puppies, casually the last and smallest puppy came to greet me.
“That is the only boy, he is especially sweet.” The woman explained.
The puppy crawled into my lap and curled up, I tilted my head up towards Marko, who was still standing in the doorway. I manipulated my facial muscles into my most angelic expression, addressing him with pleading eyes. I scooped up the puppy outstretching it to Marko for him to take the little boy. Marko returned my look with a soft warm smile, the puppy gazing up into his eyes.
We both knew in that moment that today we would no longer be a traveling couple, but instead would become a traveling pack. All my tensions and concerns about if we were already softened, being replaced instead by affectionate contentment.