Yes, you guessed it. I’m sharing with you one of the disgusting sides of living with dogs in close quarters, funny things they do, and living the camping dog life.
Oliver’s smelly farts
***Warning: Some of this content may not be suitable for those with weak stomachs.***
Let me start by saying that Daisy and Oliver are getting used to this life and really enjoy the different smells, hikes, and car rides. What they don’t like is the constant change. Dogs are creatures of habit and when you disrupt their schedule, their gut health is effected. Just like humans, when we get nervous or stressed out, we feel it in our stomachs. New places, new people, long car rides. Who wouldn’t be stressed out? Dogs also sense what their humans are feeling, so if I’m nervous about pulling a trailer, you bet those pups are concerned for their pack leader.
When we first started this journey, Oliver was so nervous that he barely ate anything. Daisy was not far behind. They didn’t know what to do with this change. I broke out their comforts and smells from our old home, but those first couple of nights were scary for them. Shaking, pacing, panting, and fowl smells. Yep, you guessed it. Dog farts. They stink. Especially when there is a stressed gut involved. We (me and the dogs) would be sitting around the camper watching some tv and a rancid smell would suddenly enter my nasal cavities. It was hard not to run out of the camper to get some fresh air. I didn’t know which dog to blame, but I soon found the culprit: Oliver. Even late at night, during a dead sleep, I would be woken up by the smell. Boy was it getting bad. Daisy didn’t seem to be affected with this problem, otherwise it would have meant double the trouble for me.
I’m going to spare you the talk of their bowel movements, as you can imagine how those went.
After about two months of this new life, the dogs seem to be okay. Well, minus Oliver’s gas, they still get nervous when we move and have separation anxiety whenever I exit the camper. They look forward to hiking and walks around the campground.
Okay. Gas talk is over.
Daisy and Oliver love themselves some treats. When we lived in a brick and mortar, their treats were hidden behind a cupboard door. I bet they wished they were smart enough to open that door. When we first started this adventure, the treats sat in a basket, under the dinette, full access to the dogs. A few days in, I returned from a trip to town and noticed a treat bag laying in the middle of the floor. I didn’t think anything of it and thought that I forgot to put it back in the basket. Well, the next day, I came back from the shower trailers and to my surprise, their water dish was moved and the same treat bag was not in the basket and sitting close to where the water dish had mysteriously moved to. You guessed it, the treat bag was empty. Empty! Both dogs looked at me like “I didn’t do it!” But who can yell at those two cute faces? This happened on a couple more occasions until I decided to buy a locking bin. The treat thieves’ plans have been thwarted. I’m sure Daisy still stares at those treats hatching her new plan.
Dog fights happen
For the New Year, and to avoid the pending terrible storm that was rolling in, I decided to spend the weekend at my sister’s. I left my campsite and trailer on New Year’s Eve and drove through the Chattanooga traffic to Northern Georgia. We’ve been to my sister’s plenty of times and I know that my dogs do not get along with their Boxer, Lucy. It could be that Lucy is territorial over the kids or my dogs just hate bigger dogs. Either way, they are arch enemies. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I was greeted by nieces and nephews. Before I took Daisy and Oliver out of the truck, I asked if Lucy was put away. I was given the green light that she was in the basement. Not even 15 seconds inside the house, Lucy comes barreling through the doggy door and grabs a hold of Oliver’s leg. I grab Oliver into my arms and between me, the kids, and my sister, we’re trying to break up the dog fight. Lucy was soon led off and stashed inside someone’s bedroom and I put Oliver down. He started limping, so I picked him up to check for cuts and bruises. Poor dog had a huge chunk (over an inch) of skin ripped from his front leg. Me and my sister in a panic thought of how we needed to treat his wound and realized that he needed stitches and neither of us were qualified to render this type of medical treatment.
I will remember ringing in the 2022 New Year, driving away from the emergency veterinarian with a stitched up dog and another dog, scared from the noise of nearby fireworks, hiding on the passenger floor boards. What a fun night. I spent the rest of the weekend ensuring that Oliver was okay and didn’t bust any stitches. On a good note, he didn’t nip any of the kids.
3 weeks later and the stitches are still in. We started out with Oliver going on very short walks and then we graduated to a dog carrier/backpack (see picture below). It didn’t help that when I was away from the camper, he would jump up and down from the couch. Eventually, the suture area started to look good and I felt that all of us needed some exercise and short hikes would be okay. After the initial 14 days of stitches, I took Oliver to the local vet and they said they didn’t think he was healed enough to take the stitches out, so they recommended another week. So here we are, one day away from a second attempt to get the sutures out. Pray for an overnight healing.
Hiking with dogs
We’ve been on a few hikes and the dogs love it. To prep for hikes, I pack a small hiking pack with water, dog treats, a collapsible water dish, first aid kit, snacks for humans, a compass, knife, emergency poncho, extra poop bags, and the park map. Luckily this time of year, there isn’t anyone one on the hiking trails, so I haven’t had to worry about a run-in with other hikers and their dogs. I usually get a good workout on most of these hiking trails, but only when I pull the dogs away from smelling everything along the trail. If I left it up to the dogs to lead the hikes, we would stop every 10 feet to sniff and pee. I know that the dogs enjoy the adventure, but they are getting older, and Daisy is starting to have some joint issues and has pulled her back a couple of times, so looks like long hikes won’t be in their future for very much longer. I’m sad about that, but these bodies that the Lord gave us weren’t meant to last forever.
Here are some adventures that the dogs have had both at Sasquatch Farm and Lake Guntersville State Park.
Let sleeping dogs lie
Yea, the title doesn’t really mean what I mean, but bear with me for a moment. Let me tell you a secret… the dogs sleep with me. Gross! Well, you’d be surprised of how many dog owners let their dogs sleep in the same bed with them. According to a 2020 People’s magazine survey, “74% of respondents happily share their bed and/or couch with their pooch.” Living in a brick and mortar, we had steps so the dogs could get on the bed. Living in this camper, steps just don’t fit and the bed seems to sit a lot higher off the ground. I measured the space under the bed at 23 inches high, so add about 7 more inches to that and that’s about the approximate height of the bed. Heck, I have to hop up just to get into it. Our nighttime routine is me picking up both dogs and putting them on the bed. In the morning, I have to pick them up and place them on the ground. I know there’s a solution, I just need to find the right size set of stairs and so they can sit on one side of the bed. If anyone wants to offer their carpentry skills, please let me know.
Other than the bed, the dogs have plenty of comfy spaces to snooze throughout the day. Daisy even has a safe space under the bed, which I have sacrificed storage space to accommodate them.
We are still figuring out this transient lifestyle and the dogs may never be 100% okay with travel day, but they do enjoy each destination.
Leave me a comment and tell me about your adventures with your pets. I’d love to hear about it.
I hope you enjoyed this addition of the Traveling with Jesus blog. Follow me on Facebook for updates and photos.
Bender, Kelli. “Cuddle Buddies! Nearly 75% of Dog Owners Let Their Pets Sleep on the Bed with Them, Survey Says.” People, August 11, 2020. People.com>Pets
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