Dogged by guilt

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Can we really leave our dog behind?
Can we really leave our dog behind?

Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
After years of dreaming, my husband and I are on the verge of becoming grey nomads. However, I can’t bear the thought of leaving our gorgeous Golden Retriever behind. My son and his family are moving into our house to look after ‘Toby’ but I don’t want to say goodbye. My husband Bill says the dog will be well cared for and I am being silly. He thinks I will forget about Toby once we are on the road but I know I won’t. Toby is looking at me now with those big, beautiful eyes and I sense he knows what we are planning. I feel so guilty. Please help.

Oh, Shelley. I really do sympathise. I am not a dog owner myself but understand how  these wonderful creatures can become part of the family. I know Golden Retrievers are big dogs but have you considered taking a trip in short hops and staying at pet-friendly van parks? Travelling with a dog does restrict where you can stay but there are plenty of grey nomads who do it. Alternatively, you might try taking a few short trips so both you and Toby can see how you feel about these separations. Absence may make the heart grow even fonder and those reunions would be something special. I really hope you can find a way to make this work.


Oh for Pete’s sake! If there’s one thing that’s worse than the whining of an over-pampered pooch it’s the whining of their self-indulgent owners. Newsflash, Shelley … Toby is an animal with cute eyes! As long as he’s fed and exercised, he won’t even notice you’re gone. Hit the road with Bill and enjoy the national parks, the beaches and camping wherever you want. Leave the sneaking around with hidden dogs, paying over the odds at ‘petfriendly’ van parks, and pretending not to be interested in seeing ‘pet-unfriendly’ beauty spots to the overly-sentimental grey nomad underclass. After a few months of sunsets and carefree happy hours, you’ll realise that scooping up dog poo and taking walks that you don’t want to take is not what retirement should be about. Let your son deal with ‘Toby’… he owes you!



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