On September 19, 2009, I cried as I said goodbye to Chewy and Abby. Chewy pranced around me, licking my chek with his sloppy wet tongue, his stump of a Cocker Spaniel tail wagging against me, thinking I was going to take him with us. Abby, on the other hand, understood. She stood on my lap, refusing to let me stand, and kissed me softly and gently. I told her that Patrick and I were taking a trip of a lifetime, something we had always wanted to do. We flew that day to Sydney, Australia, and spent 2 1/2 months in Australia and New Zealand. We came back home, flung ourselves into their arms though they hesitated to give us their affection at first, wondering why we had left them for so long.
We left again . . . to go to Southeast Asia . . . to China and Japan . . . and to Southern Africa. We visited places we had dreamed of while thumbing through the yellow covers of National Geographics. We thrilled to the call of the open road and the freedom to experience the world in more than the two-week spurts we were used to in our careers. But, every day we spent away from our dogs was another day missed from their all-too-short lives. We used to call my parents using Skype every three days to check in on them but, it wasn't enough. Though we wanted to be permanent travelers, we did not want to be permanently separated from our pups.
Chewy and Abby in Hilton Head, South Carolina
And, then, we came to a realization. Why did long-term travel mean living without our dogs? Why couldn't we take Chewy and Abby with us on the road? Why couldn't Chewy explore Tuscan markets with us and why couldn't Abby run through the fields of the Connemara? We started planning, researching, and investigating our options and, in February 2011, started out on a whole new adventure: two humans, two canines, one SUV, and two continents.
As with so many of our actions in the last two years, we didn't plan to launch a new blog . . . The Road Forks keeps me busy enough, as it is. But, we have quickly come to realize that there aren't a whole lot of people traveling with medium-sized dogs and, as far as we can tell, there is no one currently on the Internet planning a trans-continental trip with two dogs. (And, if you know of someone else doing this, please let me know because I would love to talk to them). Thus, this site, The Road Unleashed was born.
We want this site to be a personal chronicle of our successes and (hopefully few!) trials, but we also want it to be a resource to help other people venture out into the open road with their canine companions. You can expect to find posts about:
- Sit/Tips and Tricks: Suggestions for how to travel with pets, including visas, vaccination issues, helpful gear and useful websites.
- Heel/Places: Straight-up reviews of pet-friendly cities, restaurants, hotels, parks, and attractions.
- Wag/Inspiration: Stories from other pet-loving travelers
- Look/Candid Canine: Photography of our favorite traveling pups and other pups on the road.
We hope that you will enjoy traveling (virtually) with Chewy and Abby as they journey across the United States and Europe with their tails high in the air and noses to the ground. We're the ones behind them, holding their leashes, grinning like fools, and entirely ecstatic that we get to share this crazy, wonderful world with them.