The plan last fall was simple. We would get a puppy when we returned from our annual Spring Break trip to Anna Maria Island (AMI) with Evan, Tammy, Maddie and Robbie. The trip was set, the breeder selected and all was right with the world. Then in January, the breeder sent word that the litter was here and we would need to pick up our puppy in early March. Ten days BEFORE the AMI trip!
We had a choice of giving up our pick and not getting a puppy this spring or taking an 8 week old pup on a road trip. With encouragement from family and friends, we started planning the trip.
The new plan was to take 3 days to make the 16 hour drive to AMI. We outfitted the Jeep Cherokee with a soft crate that would allow us to place and reach the puppy from the front seats. Reservations were made at dog friendly hotels and we started work on our house training plans. The only unknown was how Teddy would react.
We made a few short test “trips” around town with Teddy in his road home. Those tests went well and gave us hope that it might work. So when the day came, we could not have asked for a better road tripper. Teddy was perfect on the 3 day trip down and the 3 days coming home. He was “accident free” in the car and the hotels. There were only 2 minor accidents in the condo (our fault). We couldn’t have ask for more from a dog of any age.
Teddy takes AMI
Our dog friends had said that the trip would be a great opportunity to socialize Teddy and would provide a great bonding experience for the family. And it was.
We had Teddy on many short walks near the condo, which is located on a very busy street. Most walks were on side streets with less traffic, but lots of pedestrians and dog walkers. On one trip a women stopped her SUV in the middle of the street, rolled down her window and asked if she could take a picture of Teddy. We said sure, assuming she would pull to the curb. Instead, she jumped out of the SUV, and crossed the street for pictures. Meanwhile traffic had to move around the parked vehicle. No one seemed to mind.
Other cars merely slowed when they saw Teddy. Every walk we were stopped multiple times with people wanting to meet and pet him. After a couple of days, many people knew his name and would call out to us as we walked down the street.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any real action pictures of Teddy to post. They are all pictures of post walk or play resting. He does that very well.
Teddy got lots of love and lap time.
Home again, home again
After a week of being in one place, we again put Teddy in his road home and headed north. Other than fights with the GPS, it was a smooth trip. Teddy slept like the tired puppy he was. Weather had been perfect all week and it wasn’t till the final day that we hit rain. Luckily for all of us, the rain stopped just in time for our last gas and pit stop.
On the second day, light traffic and Teddy’s perfect behavior allowed us to drive a couple of extra hours, and that made for a short final day. As we approached the farm, Paula told Teddy “We’re home!” and he got really excited. As soon as the car was stopped and Teddy released, he made a beeline for his favorite pee spot, then ran around the yard in pure joy. We weren’t sure those first 10 days would have been enough to stay in a young puppy’s mind, but he clearly felt right at home.
Do it again?
We are confident we made the right decision to take Teddy at such a young age. He met all sizes and types of people and dogs. He was a natural as a traveler and those long naps in the car certainly worked for us. We should also get some credit for the planning and care we took to make sure it would be a safe and comfortable trip. Would we do it again? Well we are planning the next AMI trip with Teddy now.
A final note. The tradition continues
There is a chair that has been in Paula’s live since an early age. It is made of hickory and once had been used by Army Officers in their club at Camp Atterbury. The chair has been a favorite resting and sleeping place for all the dogs in Paula’s life. Since our return home Teddy has continued the tradition.