Motorhoming | Family Motor Coach Association
Owners: Ray and Marsha Lamp, full-timers from Sugarloaf Key, Fla.
FMCA membership number: F378555 (joined in 2006)
Type of pet: Dog
Breed: Maltese/poodle mix or Malti-poo or Maltipoos are a hybrid dog crossed from a Maltese and a poodle. This cross gives a smooth, silky, wavy coat and a well-proportioned body with impressive agility. Malti-poos shed very little, making them a great hypoallergenic breed, which is what we needed in our home.
Maltipoos are personable, playful, bright and spunky. Mitzy enjoys romping around a lot. Much like her Maltese (dad) heritage, she is bounding with energy and loves a game of chase. Like her poodle (mom was apricot) heritage, she is so smart. Mitzy can even tell time. She knows when it is 6 a.m. to get up and if I give her some kibbles, she will settle down for another hour of snooze time. At 5 p.m., she looks for me to feed her dinner by standing up and scratching me gently with her paw. If I tell her to wait a minute because I’m busy, she will come back every five minutes until I get up from what I am doing to feed her.
Pet’s age: Mitzy will be 3 years old on Oct. 18, 2008. She was born in St. Petersburg, Fla.
What type of motorhome do you own?
A 40-foot 2006 National RV Tradewinds with four slideouts.
How often does your pet accompany you on motorhome trips?
We are full-timers since September 2006, so Mitzy goes everywhere we go in the motorhome. When we can, we like to take her along in our toad, a 2006 GMC truck (it carries our 2004 Honda Gold Wing motorcycle). Mitzy sits in the middle with the air conditioning pointed at her.
What do you like best about motorhoming with your pet?
Mitzy gives us such joy and she loves the routine we get into once we settle down for a few weeks. No matter what is going on, she loves her “mom” and “dad” and wants to be with one of us 24/7.
Mitzy is a great watchdog and makes me feel safe whenever Ray is not around, but knows she is not supposed to bark. Therefore, when she hears outside noise she growls and goes to her favorite window seat to see what caused the noise.
With such personal attention, Mitzy has a well-rounded vocabulary and we have to spell words if we don’t want her to understand what we are discussing. For example: “Do you want to w a l k the g i r l?” or “Did you give Mitzy any “t r e a t” or “k i b b l e?
Does your pet have any favorite travel destinations?
My family lives in St. Petersburg, and Mitzy loves it when we go back to Florida for the winter. My two sisters dote on her the whole time we are visiting and always have a new toy for her to play with. We used Skype and a webcam last week with my sister, Lisa, and Mitzy went crazy. Mitzy knows Lisa’s voice and Mitzy couldn’t understand why she was not able to get to Lisa and ran around and around looking for her and barking loudly.
We found out in Texas that Mitzy loves to play in fresh snow and colder weather.
Was it easy for your pet to adapt to motorhome travel?
Mitzy was very wary of the motorhome at first because she was only a year old when we began to travel full-time in 2006. We acclimated her to the coach with little visits since it was parked in our backyard for over a month as we prepared to go full-time. Whenever we turn the passenger chair around for travel the night before we leave, she jumps into the chair immediately and is a “happy camper.”
Does your pet have a favorite spot in the motorhome?
Mitzy loves to “drive.” Once we realized she wanted to sleep under the steering wheel whenever we set up and wanted to get away from interruptions, we put one of her favorite pillows there. However, if either of us decides to go lie down in the bedroom, she is right there with us. When we can’t find Mitzy, she is “driving.”
What are your pet’s favorite toys?
“Squeak” or “Rudy” (Rudolph is a stuffed toy with a squeaker). Mitzy loves to chase one of her tennis, golf or rubber balls inside or outside if there is enough green grass to run. Whenever she gets tired of bringing Squeak back, she keeps it to herself. She also has her sock. I tied two old socks together with a squeaking ball inside one end. She loves to play “sock” and brings it to one of us when she feels it is her time for attention. We play tug-of-war with the sock, and then we throw it into the bedroom so Mitzy can chase it and return it. It’s good exercise for those days when it’s too hot outside, or wet and rainy.
Have you modified your motorhome in any way to better accommodate your pet?
We keep large cushions on the floor in front of the couch and her favorite chair so when she jumps off, she is cushioned. Our vet told us back in 2006 she may need surgery eventually for her “loose” luxating patella, but she does not seem to have any problems with it and is not in any pain. She is always running and jumping.
We were not home a lot before I retired, so Mitzy was trained to do her duty on paper in our bathroom when we lived in our concrete home. We had to decide how we would handle this in the motorhome while traveling. Neither one of us wanted to get up early to walk Mitzy if the weather is inclement, so we showed Mitzy the shower and prop the door open and she jumps inside and does her business. The cleanup is very easy. We keep a cushion in front of the shower to assist in her entry inside the shower. I know this sounds crazy to some, but it has worked for us.
What is your favorite activity to do with your pet while traveling?
When we are moving in the motorhome, Mitzy has her own “bed” to the right of my seat and we keep her leashed with her harness and attach the leash to my seat to make sure she is safe and secure in case of any emergency. Mitzy likes to sleep while we travel, so there is not much activity while we are in motion.
Tips and advice for other motorhomers who travel with pets or are considering traveling with pets:
When we take a trip from the RV, I am always sure to carry Mitzy’s personal bag with us. The bag contains favorite toys, treats, dry food, chew bones, and two bowls for food and water. Most important, I make sure her documentation is in this bag — her microchip certificate, her last recorded rabies certificate, her most current information on her shots, etc. I also carry any medication she may be taking.
If we leave Mitzy in the RV, we have a full-page photo of Mitzy in a window and it states, “If there is an emergency, please rescue Mitzy from the RV.” I also take information with us about Mitzy in case of an emergency.
We found out the hard way (vet bills for an allergic reaction) that whenever Mitzy is walking outside, especially on a “dog run,” we must wash her chin and nose real good and wash her paws so she does not lick anything that might cause an allergic reaction. Since we started doing this, Mitzy has not chewed on herself and has not had any more severe allergic reactions.
We Floridians have heard of black flies, but never experienced them as we did in the New York area. We were at Schroon River when I found two red spots on Mitzy’s stomach area about the size of a dime each. I called the local vet’s office the next morning thinking the worst (ringworm), and the nice girl at the front desk assured me they were black fly bites. I went to their office to purchase the gel recommended to stop the flies from biting. We had no problem after that, except for ourselves. The flies sure do leave a welt and it lasts for days.
We also found out there are different shots necessary in the northeast section of the United States, especially for Lyme disease.
Although we are very careful with Mitzy, she is very low to the ground when we walk her and is constantly smelling the ground and other animal feces, which of course can contain who knows what. Most people pick up after their pets, but a few do not. This we do not understand. It creates a big problem for others.
We have a Web site, http://rv-travelers.com/default.html, about our motorhoming travels to the West Coast from Florida in 2006 and 2007. I am working on putting up the blog for our East Coast adventure and will post it soon, I hope.