Tales of a Travelin’ Dog
Looking back at our blog posts, I realized that we don’t talk a whole lot about our biggest form of entertainment; Brady. We fully knew we would be going on this great adventure some day and figured, what better life could a dog have?!
As many of you know, Nate and I got Brady about three years ago from a rescue agency. He was found with about 100 other dogs- some dead, some alive, with no food, water or shelter from the sun. Brady’s life as a three month old pup was not looking so good. A rescue agency found these dogs and were able to save about 30 of them. They were all trucked up north to New England where they were separated and put in foster homes. We saw Brady’s sad little face on Craigslist one day and decided to go meet him. We knew the first time we saw him that he would be perfect for us. Little did we know how much energy he really had.
We got him home and proceeded to attempt to train him into being a dog that would be a perfect travel companion. We taught him basic commands, house trained him and even brought him everywhere with us to get him used to car rides. One of the first times we left him in the car, we planned to grab a bite to eat for lunch. We were gone for less than an hour when we returned to find the headliner to the truck torn down in sheets from the ceiling with a puppy in the back, all smiles.
We decided to enroll him in doggy training classes thinking this was a no fail way to train our wreckless pup. Well, needless to say, we were wrong. Teaching him to sit, lay down, etc. was very easy and he excelled in that part of class. However, at the end of each class they had what was called “playtime.” Brady apparently missed the memo that this was supposed to be a fun and playful time for all of the dogs. As soon as we would unleash him, he would bolt through the gate and lunge at the first dog he could find, grab their neck and pin them to the ground.
The other dog owners were mortified and our instructor did not approve so we were separated into another play area, where there was a full size German Shepherd waiting to play with Brady. Again, we let him off his leash and he darted right for the German Shepherd, grabbed his neck and started playing tug of war. We stood there, speechless, wondering what we got ourselves into.
Several months of hardcore training later, Brady was learning how to play with other dogs and was listening to us a little better. We still brought him everywhere with us; grocery shopping, running, hiking, to friend’s and family’s houses, etc. He greeted everybody with a full body wiggle and was so excited every time we brought him to a new place. He learned to become adaptable to any situation and didn’t seem to be bothered by much. We moved five times in the first two and a half years of his life and it didn’t seem to phase him one bit. We knew he was going to be perfect for this trip.
Brady has done extremely well on the trip so far. Every time we pull into a new place, he jumps out of the truck, ready to explore. His nose often takes him farther than it should but he always finds his way back to his new home; the truck. He has become very protective of Truck. Learning to become comfortable tying him up outside of it while we walk around a town was difficult. It gets too hot in the truck for him to stay in there and he is more than happy to be outside where he can keep guard of his home. He doesn’t let anybody that he doesn’t know get too close.
We both sleep extremely well in the back of the truck knowing that Brady keeps guard all night. If he senses anything suspicious, he barks to wake us up. He sleeps in the front on his bench seat and we keep the middle window between the cab and the back open. It works out perfectly. We get our space, he gets his but we still feel like we are in the same area.
Dogs are perceived a little differently down here; they are not to be trusted. This works out well for me when I go running. I almost always bring Brady with me because he makes me feel protected. It is a little more difficult, however, because we get chased down by stray dogs sometimes and they bite at the back of Brady’s legs.
On the beach, he keeps us occupied by attempting to eat every single dead fish he can get his paws on. It becomes a game for him. He will find the most rotten looking one and start to eat it while peering at us out of the corner of his eye. As soon as he sees us start to walk towards him telling him to ‘drop it’, he takes off with it in his mouth, whipping it from side to side. Once he is far enough away, he stops and looks at us until we get a little closer and he takes off again, swallowing the fish whole.
Brady has made many friends on this trip from stray dogs to domesticated dogs and from other travelers to the locals. The locals are amazed at all the tricks he can do. Their jaws drop in awe whenever we show them how smart Brady really is. When we conclude with the “bang, bang” trick, their hands immediately go into an applause. It seems that Brady draws a lot of dogs in, too. Whenever he is tied up to the truck, other dogs that see him will come over and lay with him under the truck. This has happened on several occasions. Everyone seems to fall in love with Brady. It’s hard not to!
Without Brady, we would not be having nearly as much fun as we do. He is ready to play at any given moment throughout the day and keeps us on our toes. Whenever we are down, he knows how to make us smile. Although it was a long road to get where we are now, it is one that was totally worth it. He is our family, our protector, our best friend; and we wouldn’t have it any other way!