Type of pet: Dog
Breed: 90 percent Wheaton terrier, 10 percent chow. Lots of folks enjoy guessing her breed when they meet her. It’s a source of conversation.
Pet’s name: Beauty
Pet’s age: 4½ years
Owners: Chic and Terry Holliday, Jacksonville, Fla.
FMCA membership number: F352307 (we joined in 2004)
How often does your pet accompany you on motorhome trips?
Every single trip. If she isn’t welcomed somewhere, neither are we.
What do you like best about motorhoming with your pet?
She is a source of joy, not just for her parents, but other folks also delight in watching her ride on the dashboard and sharing her beauty. Truck drivers toot their horns. Construction workers wave. Travelers smile. Who wouldn’t be proud?
What type of motorhome do you own?
A fabulous 2004 Gulf Stream Atrium. It always draws a crowd, and we get many requests to see it. In Beauty’s future, I would like to get a ramp that’s easily set up and stored.
Was it easy for your pet to adapt to motorhome travel?
Beauty has the neatest routine. Dashboard for takeoff, from where she observes the road for up to 20 minutes. When the sun enters her spot, she’s out of there.
Does your pet have a favorite spot in the motorhome?
When we’re in motion, on the dash. Then at the air vents between us. Sometimes behind my captain’s chair. At campgrounds, she likes the cool tile in our kitchen area. At night it’s last one is a rotten egg, as she claims her spot on our bed. She has a specific route to get there, too.
What are your pet’s favorite toys?
We name each and every one. When one is missing Beauty literally pouts. There’s Elmo; Mr. Cheerios (stuffed ring); Mr. Squirrel (who is missing and the replacement isn’t working); a Blue stuffed bone, which was a gift from the pet store in Jacksonville Beach; and little “dog-dog,” which Beauty won in a contest.
Have you modified your motorhome to better accommodate your pet?
Its two steps and bench at the foot of the bed is one of the reasons we decided on the purchase. Yes, it’s true! I’m 4-foot-10½ inches tall, and Beauty and I had trouble getting into bed in past RVs. We were too short-legged. Our Atrium’s design was perfect for us. The windows are at her eye level, which was also a selling point if you can you believe it. She is not spoiled … nah.
What is your favorite activity to do with your pet while traveling?
Beauty and I have a morning routine that is a must, whether we’re at home or in the RV. I throw her a “throw” and that’s her signal for our love fest. We do kissing, belly rubs and nuzzling for five minutes. Then we practice “pleased to meet you” and “sit up” (no “gimme paw” for us).
Advice for other motorhomers who travel with pets or are considering traveling with pets?
There are some safety issues, from climate to leashes … Make sure your pets are as comfortable as you wish to be. Have backup plans in case your air conditioner stops working. Keep a checklist to make sure your pet is fed, has water and is walked before you depart for activities. I made a door hanger for placement outside of the motorhome. It contains “in case of emergency” info and has her picture and name so she can be rescued if necessary. Always carry clean-up bags, gloves, or equipment for poop control.
Beauty loves to dress up (or I do), so she has several outfits. They bring smiles and conversations and rewarding friendships. Life is about sharing happiness. Beauty is our happiness. She does no harm toward other animals, and we keep her safe in that regard, too.
She was a gift from our youngest daughter after we had lost our two chow chows within six months of each other. Shadow, 17, traveled with us for 17 years; Aristotle for 16 years. Yes, we cried for a year, declared “never again” and of course ate our words when Beauty was delivered in a ribbon-covered basket filled with combs, brushes, toys and treats hanging around the perimeter.
One of Beauty’s favorite campgrounds is Eagle’s Pride at The Great Outdoors RV Resort in Titusville, Fla. She loves the agility equipment in their super dog playground. At Circus Circus KOA in Nevada, she enjoyed one of her first “private” pet playgrounds. Another campground, somewhere out West, has a groomer on staff who picks up your pet and delivers it back to you as beautiful as ever.