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Pet Spotlight: Papillons Print E-mail

Owners: Charles and Willa Cecil, Granite Falls, N.C. Gus enjoys a ride in the motorhome.

FMCA membership number: F403243 (we joined FMCA in 2008)

Type of pet: two ''guard'' dogs

Breeds: papillons with a heritage that goes back to Marco Polo and the ''Ming Dynasty''

Pets’ names: Gus the Wonderdawg (Gus) and Phineas Foghorn Farnsworth (Finnie)Gus (top) and Finnie are excellent RVing companions and good guard dogs, too.

Pets’ ages: Gus is 9 years and Finnie is 10 months.

What do you like best about motorhoming with your pets?
The company they provide. They are always ready for ''play'' or a ''nap on our lap'' or anything in between. We love to talk to people and they are a great conversation starter when they are ''out for a walk.” They are a real attention getter when they sit on the dash and ride ''shotgun'' for us.

How often do your pets accompany you on motorhome trips?
Just like the credit card advert: ''WE NEVER LEAVE HOME WITH THEM.'' Gus has traveled some 70,000 miles and Finnie just finished his first trip to the West Coast. They always travel with us.

What type of motorhome do you own?
We have a 2000 Pace Arrow. It is 33 feet long with two slides and it serves us very well. Since 2005 we have put over 70,000 miles on this coach.

Have you modified your motorhome in any way to better accommodate your pet?
Not really. We have put a Pet Pad on the nightstand for them to sleep on.

Does your pet have any favorite travel destinations?
Any destination that includes the word ''GO'' or ''RIDE'' is fine with them.

Was it easy for your pets to adapt to motorhome travel?
They both travel well. Since they are small dogs they will sometimes get into the ''dog bed'' we have for them and they will take long naps when we travel. They both love to sit on the dash and ''guard against gorilla and butterfly attacks on our coach.”

Do your pets have a favorite spot in the motorhome?
Finnie loves to lie on my lap while I drive. Gus enjoys Willa's lap during long sessions on the road.

What are your pets’ favorite toys?
Their ''favorite toy'' is each other. These dogs love to wrestle and play ''chase.” Finnie will instigate the play and Gus will participate for long sessions. Each has learned the tail pull and the leg-grab holds and they both use these quite effectively.

What is your favorite activity to do with your pet while traveling?
Long walks on the leash. They love to ''go outside'' when we get set up in a camp spot. They are both trained “Gorilla killing dogs” and they avidly hunt for Gorilla scat in every campground where we stop. They are also trained to defend against the savage “Attack Butterfly that you may have read about recently. We feel very safe with these two dogs defending us and we have yet to be bothered by Gorilla or Butterfly attacks while traveling.

Advice for other motorhomers who travel with pets or are considering traveling with pets?
We love all pets. We are especially fond of small dogs. The advantage of papillons is that they have no odor. They can go without a bath for a month and they produce no odor at all. Paps are easy to groom, are good-natured and travel well. Most of all, people just love them. Everyone wants to ''pet the puppies.”

If you travel with a pet, always pick up after your animal. Always be considerate to other campers who may have a hole in their shoe!
Carry your pets’ up-to-date papers from your vet. Always provide a fresh supply of food and water and a safe environment for your pets. Put your cell phone number on your pets’ collars. Keep a leash handy for your pets’ walks.

Other comments:
Traveling is one of the great joys of our lives. We always say “It’s the journey, not the destination.” Traveling means meeting new people on the road, making new friends on each journey. It’s the chance to see the world that God has created for our enjoyment. It is the ability to sit beside Muncho Lake in Canada or in Death Valley, California, and listen to the stone-quiet sound of the earth breathing and to listen carefully and hear God walking around in His Heaven.

Traveling in a motorhome is a lot like life.
Go and enjoy, see and touch, and never enter into a situation where you can not turn around easily.


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