Taking the dog

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It can be a terrible dilemma. The kids are all fully independent, you feel financially secure, the van’s parked in the back yard, and you’re itching to take off and see what’s out there in the wild red yonder. So, what’s the dilemma? It’s faithful old Fido with his big brown eyes and soppy expression. He’s part of the family and he needs you. Leaving him for six months with the kennels, or even with family or friends is just not an option.

Happily, it’s not all over red Rover. Many, many people are taking extended tours with their dogs and having an absolute ball. Of course, there are many caravan parks and camping spots that do not allow dogs but there are many that do. What is required is more planning and more research and a little bit more determination. It’s a hassle sometimes but he’s worth it, isn’t he?

The whole task is made significantly easier by a huge range of excellent guidebook to camping spots that do allow dogs. National parks are pretty much out but most council sites and rest areas are in, and there are some spectacular places to enjoy.

Mark from Perth was determined to do his long dreamed about Around Australia trip and to take his beloved Sheba with him.

“I’ve had no dramas at all,” he says. “I’m very aware of how my dog behaves and she’s a beauty. The last thing I want is for her to upset other campers but everybody seems to love her so it’s been fine. Obviously, it’s a nuisance not being able to camp in the national parks but we still find a way to get out there and take in the sights – it just takes a bit more organising. It’s just the way it has to be.”

While travelling with a dog can be inconvenient at times, there are a number of notable upsides. Not least of these is the feeling of security. If you’re tucked away in the bush somewhere it’s comforting to know that you’ve got a very effective intruder alarm sleeping nearby. Then, of course, there is the company. An increasing number of nomads are choosing to travel alone and for this group, in particular, a dog can be a great companion.

A dog also gives you a reason to get out of bed and take that invigorating stroll along the beach or into the bush. Brian and Linda Wall have been travelling around Australia with their Maltese, Mitchell, for the past four years. The couple are professional fruitpickers and so often stay on the properties of people they are working for.

“We have had no trouble staying in caravan parks,” Brian says. “Obviously, some places don’t allow dogs but there are plenty that do. We tend to stay away from the big metropolitan centres where things might be different. The main problem we have with Mitchell is finding someone who will groom and clip him. It’s hard to do that when you’re in the wilds!”

So, it seems that while travelling with a dog doesn’t necessarily make life on the road any easier it can make it immeasurably more rewarding.

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