Padfoot the Reluctant Traveler
I call myself an indecisive traveler because I don’t like to choose just one place to travel, one job to work, or even one place to eat. My dog, Padfoot, however, is more of a Reluctant Traveler than anything else. Maybe some of you travelers and/or pet lovers can understand my struggle. How far would you go to stay with your pet?
For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you know a bit about my dog, Padfoot, who has been featured in many posts. Perhaps the most popular would be No Ladro en Español, closely followed by our epic journey from Argentina to St. Louis, both parts one and two. Padfoot is a very special dog who fears many things, two of which happen to be moving and changes of routine. This is an issue, considering I have a hard time staying put.
Padfoot’s sob story
Here’s a summary of how Padfoot’s life has gone thus far. The first piece I know of is that he, along with his mother and brother, were shoved into a trash bag and left to die in the woods. Luckily, he was rescued and I adopted him. We lived in the same apartment for 2 years, with only a minor change of one roommate switching out for another. Padfoot was accustomed to people coming and going often, and him rarely being home alone for long stretches of time.
We graduated. I moved my things and Padfoot into my mom’s house and disappeared off to South America for 3 weeks. My mom informed me that for an entire week, he hid under the bed, sulking, sure that I had abandoned him.
I came home. Rejoice! We stayed at my mom’s for a few more weeks. The I got a new apartment. The first day I left Padfoot home alone, he got stuck in the blinds and broke them as he tried to leap through the window after me.
After 1 year in that apartment, Padfoot and I flew off to Argentina. This was obviously and lengthy, frustrating ordeal. You can read the details here, but for the sake of this post, let’s just say it was traumatic.
Padfoot struggled with language barriers, the lack of grass in the cement-covered city of Buenos Aires, and the creepy old-fashion elevators with the accordion doors. He had almost gotten used to it when…
I left for another trip
I got a chance to visit 5 cities in six weeks and I had to take it. After surviving the hell of crossing country lines with a dog, I decided to leave Padfoot with some friends in Buenos Aires. But I came back! It would have all been fine, except..
I got a new apartment
In my defense, it was a way cooler and nicer apartment. Plus, it was closer to my work so I was able to come home on my lunch breaks and take him on nice long walks. Padfoot doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand these advantages though, so this was just yet another hit to his fragile psyche.
Let’s fly again!
Then came the time to return to the US. This is where the whole “Gettting my dog out of argentina part one and part two” comes into play. We survived, and moved back into my mom’s, where he lived a happy life. People and other dogs were everywhere, and he had a nice big yard to run it. His tiny little mind was at peace.
Another moving day!
The thing is, I’m an adult, so I couldn’t crash with my mom forever. You guys won’t judge me too harshly for moving my poor dog again, will you? As soon as Padfoot saw my boxes and suitcases, he began acting weird. Every time I placed anything larger than a purse into my car, he would howl and wail while he threw himself at the door, trying to make sure I didn’t leave him behind. When we finally did move, he was so bewildered by the new space that he sprinted away in fear, nearly getting hit by a car. It was a rough first day.
What’s a dog loving traveler to do?
I adore my dog. I have obviously put myself through a lot of seemingly unnecessary stress just to keep him happy and by my side. I cannot imagine living without him permanently. However, I have made a compromise. I no longer take Padfoot with me on any trip that requires more than a few hours of driving. The benefit of being near my mom, is I can drop him off somewhere he considers safe and familiar, and he seems to comprehend that it is temporary. I also spent an absurd amount of money on fancy leashes, tie-ups, toys, treats, and even a Thunder Shirt to keep him happy in our new home. What’s a Thunder Shirt, you ask? Why, swaddling clothes for dogs, of course! I know, I know – it sounds like a stupid informercial gimmick, but I did my research. Apparently, this $40 vest thing allows you to swaddle your dog and apply constant and comforting pressure to their body. The Thunder Shirt calms dogs who fear storms, abandonment, and a wide variety of other special dog ailments. Plus, he just looks freaking adorable.
So, Padfoot is happy once again. I’ll let you know how he does when we start packing to move to a new state next year.
Are any of you pet owners? How do you balance taking care of your pet with all your traveling?