I had to derail a little from my original topics to discuss something that is near and dear to my heart…..my pups. Our dogs were the main reason we even began thinking about purchasing an RV. On the way home from a last minute weekend getaway to the north Georgia mountains we just kept talking about how much we missed them and how we hated that we couldn’t bring them along. So we started discussing what type of rig we wanted, and actually swung by some RV dealers. Well, that idea snowballed quickly from that Sunday afternoon, and by Monday evening we started kicking around the idea to go full-time.
Traveling with our pups…in the beginning 3 of them, has been amazing and sometimes challenging. We lost our oldest, Charlie, about four months in, to spleen cancer. But she didn’t miss out…we showed her the best of RV life while we could. Learn more about our precious Charlie Girl here. And now, our Princess Pretty Face, aka Penny, has been diagnosed with lymphoma. This has shed light on a challenge we hadn’t really thought of when deciding to take the full-time plunge, continual care while traveling. We aren’t in any one town for more than a few weeks, making it impossible to see the same vet as needed. While in Whitney, TX we noticed marble sized lumps around her throat and made an appointment at a local office, Young’s Animal Hospital in the nearby town of Hillsboro. Dr. Arnold and her team were amazing in helping us navigate this very scary and incurable cancer. Offering to make phone calls, setup appointments, share records & tests and ship to wherever we are whenever we need more meds. It was a VERY teary few days after the shocking news. But worrying about care along our route was one less concern and we’re ever so grateful for their kindness. Our hope is to encounter more vet offices like theirs along our travels. We’ve started chemo and hope to have a good six months with our girl. In the meantime we’re just showering her with love, treats, extra long walks and whatever else her little heart desires.
Campground and RV Must-Haves
Making the transition to full-time RV living was obviously a “family” discussion with the pups barking their approval, (we think…LOL), but we knew it was up to us to make it as stress-free on them as possible. They weren’t used to being on leashes and seeing so many people and pups on a daily basis. So in the beginning there were a lot of barking fits, but it only took a few weeks for them to get used to the idea of “neighbors”. One of our first RV purchases was a set of these fences so they had an outside space of their own without getting tangled up on leads and cables. They come in different heights and are easy to setup and light weight. In the beginning, Penny would jump the fence. So we attached just her to a lead that was connected to something sturdy when she was in the fence while she got used to her new surroundings. And even though the photo below doesn’t show it, they love their cot for sun-bathing and afternoon naps. Unfortunately with Penn’s cancer and Oz’s older age and little legs, they can’t “adventure” for as long as they used to. We got a wagon so they can still go on long walks and such, but not get too tired. Click here to get up to 45% off select pet products & supplies on Amazon.
Another MAJOR concern is power outages and temperatures in your rig while you’re gone. There are so many apps and services to help monitor your pets. I’m pretty sure after hours and hours of research we’ve looked into them all. Being that reliable WiFi is often an issue with camping, we instantly removed those that use WiFi, either with cameras or communications, off our list. That narrows it down to 2…Nimble (RV Pet Safety) and MarCell PRO. We haven’t decided which one to use yet, but here’s the break down.
Nimble – device cost $249 + yearly monitoring costs $120 = $369 total first year
- Verizon signal
- Install an app on your phone to monitor conditions that also sends alerts
- Built-in battery
- Digital screen display
MarCell PRO – device cost $219 + yearly monitoring costs $179.40 = $398.40
- You can choose between AT&T or Verizon
- Receive emails, texts or phone call when conditions are out of your set range or there is a power outage
- Plugs into an outlet
I’d say the main difference between the two is that Nimble is geared towards RV and Pet owners, while the MarCell isn’t. But their functions appear to be pretty similar. Both offer coupon codes and savings periodically. Just read reviews on both and decide which is the best fit for you and your fur family.
Road and Travel Safety
Once making sure their comfort at the campground was taken care of, we started working on our travel days setup. As I’m sure you know, travel days can be stressful and adding two semi-hyper pups to the mix doesn’t always help. There were a couple of items we bought to help keep them from tearing up the truck, getting loose as soon as we open the door, or grabbing a nibble from our lunches when we both run in at a stop. This cover is nice and soft for them and durable enough to protect our leather seats. And these seat belt leads keep them in place and SAFE if we were to get into an accident.
But by far the best part of traveling with pets is just having fun and watching them experience new places, animals, plants, etc. along with us. But with exploring comes safety concerns, whether it’s a poisonous creepy crawler, snake or plant. It’s a good idea to somewhat know what to look for. Here’s a guide that may come in handy. Not that I’m partial or biased at all (LOL), but we have two of the best road dogs and full-time RV sidekicks this dynamic duo could have ever asked for! And I can only hope to give them as much joy and happiness as they give us.
Here are some helpful pet resources, whether you’re on the road full-time or not.