Tina, our intrepid Australian Cattle Dog, will turn fifteen on April Fool's Day, and we want to pause to reflect on what a good traveler she truly is.
Tina has been with us since Mary found her on the streets of Holyoke, Massachusetts more than fourteen years ago, and despite two knee surgeries, her gradual loss of hearing and her diminishing eyesight, Tina still shows an enormous amount of joie de vivre and desire for adventure (and Olympic-length naps!).
Supremely adaptable, Tina has (relatively successfully) cohabited during our nineteen weeks of travel with many dogs, a number of cats, goats, horses and chickens, as well as a flurry of new human friends. We frequently find ourselves in new environments, and Tina seems to have a knack for finding interesting smells and comfy places to snooze.
Tina always wants to know what's going on, and she has become keenly attuned to the sounds of our vehicle and our patterns of behavior and movement within it. When we get in the cab and turn on the engine, Tina knows well that it's time to be moving on, and she readily assumes her position between our bucket seats (and more likely than not, is usually asleep within a few minutes of lift-off). Interestingly, due to her understanding that the rumble of the engine is equated with movement, Tina reacts similarly to the sound of our generator, and when we switch it on for any period of time, she will often move to the cab, mistaking the vibration of the generator for the engine.
While we have tried to help Tina to see our rig as both our vehicle and our home, she still is not terribly comfortable being left alone for any length of time, and wails and yelps of furious abandonment frequently emanate from the rig on the rare occasions that we do indeed leave her alone. This is somewhat inconvenient for us and gives us pause when we arrive at a destination that's not canine-friendly, and we do our best to assuage her fears with lots of treats and a few Benadryls to calm her frantic nerves. However, sometimes even if we both simply get out to pump gas or check the tire pressure, she is known to have a mini-freak out.
Over all, Tina continues to be a great travel companion despite her fears of abandonment, and it's her adaptability and consistently affectionate nature that make her such a wonderful animal companion. Despite her adaptability, we observe that Tina is most content when we are staying in a house, reminding us that it will eventually be in her best interest (and ours) to land ourselves in a situation where she can have the comforts of home and enter into her retirement years with grace and ease.
For those of you new to this blog or who just want to do a "Tina travel review", simply click here to see all of our blog posts labeled "Tina", and you will delight in photos, stories and videos, all of which focus on the lovable and sleek grey-blue dog that has come along---willingly or unwillingly---for our excellent adventure.