This is going to be both a fun post and an informational one, and hopefully for some, an inspirational one. Recently, we have decided to expand the Nickname International crew from 3 to 4 by adopting a street puppy in Antigua, Guatemala. You can see more about Tug here and watch his film debut here. But for now, here are 5 reasons why getting a puppy (or dog) along the journey is a good idea.
- You have the time to invest
- Yes the life of an overlander is busy, but its busy with the things we decide to make it busy with. This is a break for most of us from our formal lives and with it comes a lot of freedom. So a new dog or pup does take some time, but with the flexibility of being on the road, it’s a lot easier to give it. If they need to stop for a quick wee, no problem, its not like it’s interrupting a board meeting. As overlanders, most of us have the time to be a super pet owner!
- Potty Training is EASY in a small house
- When you have a regular house potty training is a pain in the butt. Dogs always find a deserted or hidden corner of the house to do their business, and you have to stay SUPER vigilant at all times. When you are living out of a tiny house, you don’t have much floor space to get soiled, and you are never more than 5 feet from the outdoors. Your dog will quickly understand that inside the vehicle is home and outside is the bathroom. We can count on one hand the number of accidents Syncro had when was a puppy in the van, and Tug is doing even better (or maybe we are).
- You get an additional travel companion that breaks up the routine.
- Long overland trips can become a bit monotonous at times. The routine of planning a route, finding water, food, and a place to camp, can start to drone on after a while. A new dog can break up that day to day routine with their own antics and needs. With our latest puppy, having to stop more often for his potty breaks has made us see more of the places we travel to. Also, when you get sick of your human travel companion(s), you can now take a run or walk with your four legged friend for a little relaxation and sanity reclamation.
- You have an instant people magnet or deterrent
- We have found through our travels that having a dog on board can be a great way to meet people in foreign lands. Whether its at a small pet store in rural Romania or morning walk to the beach, pets attract pet lovers. This flipside is also true, we have been pleasantly surprised at how effective it is to have Syncro looking out the window at border crossings and other places where touts like to hassle. They tend to do a better job of leaving us alone and not approaching the truck when they see the dog.
- You helped save a life
- Anyone who has traveled has seen the dire need and reality that exists on the streets for unwanted dogs and cats. Many developing countries lack the resources to address the need, and the animals are paying the price. By giving a dog a new home (or cat! :), you can literally rest easy knowing that you have saved a life.
So no more excuses! If you see a pup you can help, just do it :). And don’t worry we will also tackle some of the myths around having a dog on the road in a later post.