By Rose and Dick Kidder, F321063
We purchased our first RV, a 1984 Toyota Dolphin class C motorhome, in November 1995. Because we most always took our dog, Daisy, a golden retriever crossbreed, with us wherever we went, it was natural to include her in the RV.
Daisy was a calm dog, and adapted quickly to the RV lifestyle. We got her one of those water dishes that do not spill — and they really work — so she always had water.
We bought the RV so that we could stay in the driveway of my parents’ mobile home and be close by them. My mom was in the end stages of cancer.
One day we left their house in a hurry with my dad on board, to run an errand for Mom. Unfortunately, we were in such a hurry we forgot to set the microwave off the kitchen counter. It slid off and partially landed, or shall we say, almost landed, on Daisy. She made a single leap from the back, between the two seats and landed in Dad's lap.
To her great credit, she continued traveling with us, by her own choice. She was leery of things moving, but accepted it with caution.
Another great thing about Daisy is that she learned the command "Go potty.” It was amazing to us, but she actually learned to go to the bathroom on command.
If we were about to be on a stretch of road where we knew there was no place to pull over, we would let her out before we started, and told her "Go potty.” It only took a couple of times, and she learned what to do. And she consistently did it.
Adjusting to new coach
In July 1999 we purchased a new Sea Breeze class A motorhome. Daisy went with us to take delivery on it. Boy, was that a surprise. After traveling in the small Toyota Dolphin for about 40,000 miles, we thought she would be thrilled to have such a wide aisle to be in (she could lie down with her feet straight out).
But to our surprise, Daisy was scared to pieces. She jumped up under my feet in the passenger seat and squeezed herself under the dash, and there she stayed for most of the 150-mile curvy trip home. After a few trips in the Sea Breeze, she got used to it, and was the first one in when the door was opened.
We now have 59,000 miles on our Sea Breeze. So you see, we travel a lot in our RV. Even though I (Rose) still work full time. To put on that many miles in that short of time, you have to be on the road quite a bit.
Our most recent trip ended Jan. 4, 2003 . We had Daisy with us. She had been diagnosed with aggressive cancer in early July of 2001. Yes, that's about 19 months earlier. They said she only had a few weeks left to live. So we loved her all the more, and spoiled her totally.
I guess Daisy decided all the love and special foods were too much to give up, so she kept on living, and enjoying every trip. She was with us on a 6,000-mile trip across Canada, down through Illinois and back home to Trinidad, Calif. And she swam -- or at least walked — in every lake and river that we stopped at — and that was a lot of them.
As I said, Daisy was with us on January 4. She was getting weak, and sometimes we had to help her get in the motorhome. But she loved being with us.
The last thing she did on that last trip was to come up and let us know that she had to "Go potty." As soon as we could, we stopped and let her outside. Sure enough, that's exactly what she was telling us. It was the last time she "told" us that. She was very weak and had stopped eating.
We said good-bye to our wonderful, loving Daisy dog on Jan. 8, 2003 . She was 11-1/2 years old — a good age for golden retrievers. We hope she enjoys some great rides in "doggy heaven."
We also had a very independent black cat named Ziggy. When we traveled in the motorhome we left Ziggy at home, where he could come and go as he pleased through an open window. My father-in-law lives close by, and he would come and give Ziggy a fresh food and water, and visit for a while.
There was just one problem. Ziggy was a family pet, and we were his family. When we were preparing for a trip, he started getting inside the RV for a while. So, Dick put a litter box in the bathtub for him, and we took him on an overnight trip.
Keeping us company
During the trip he yowled a lot, paced all over, and sat in my lap a lot. We had a harness and a leash for him. So we put the harness on when we left, and he kept it on all the time while in the RV. Plus, we took him on a very short walk. Have you ever tried walking a cat on a leash? Actually many motorhomers probably have. Anyway, that was the first time Ziggy accompanied us on a motorhome trip.
After only two trips Ziggy had became our RV cat, at the age of 15. Yes, old cats can learn new tricks. He always used his litter box in the bathtub. He learned to walk with Daisy without too much complaining, and his favorite napping place was on the bed in back. He also quickly learned that his food was in the "pet locker" under the dining seat.
Ziggy came with us on a two-week trip to South Dakota and parts in between Trinidad and the Badlands: about 4,000 miles. Once, we even let him out without a leash in a high mountain forest campground. He found a squirrel that he tried to race to a tree. He was 18 then, but still ran so fast he almost beat the squirrel to the tree. But the altitude was about 10,000 feet, and he wasn't used to it.
The squirrel beat him. Ziggy walked back to the motorhome, drank some water and "crashed" on the bed. He didn't move for hours. He was really "pooped" out, mostly from the high altitude. Of course, in human age he was almost 100, so that probably was part of it.
Anyway, Ziggy was a great RV cat. He never missed a trip, by his own choice, once he realized he was going to be left behind otherwise. He was a great friend, a great traveler, and we miss him. He passed away June 2002, immediately after one of our short trips.
We love to travel in our motorhome, and we love to have our little furry friends with us. We make sure they enjoy the ride, too.