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Our first trip away with our dog

This week Rai and I took our Australian Shepard cross Staffie, Buddy, away for the first time. Up until now we have hesitated for a number of sound and reasonable excuses. Not sure how he would go in the car for extended trips: how well he would sleep in the tent along side us: whether he would behave around other campers: excuse after excuse! We need not have worried.

There is something strangely appropriate about taking your dog away with you camping. Companionship goes without saying but it goes further than that. It’s like you see things differently. I for one have been more keenly alert these last few days, particularly with other dogs close by. Or simply more vigilant, that he may simply wander off and lose himself. I have studied my surroundings more closely and as a result experienced things I would otherwise have missed.

Admittedly we had some legitimate reasons as well. We like to visit National Parks where pets of any kind are strictly prohibited. As a fellow camper commented recently “even leaving your budgie locked in the car while you visit a scenic lookout will earn you a fine if your discovered”.

The logistics of carrying extra gear is another reason we haven’t brought him out in the past. Not this time. Limiting some of the “luxury” items we carry with us allowed us to fit his bed, two blankets, bowls and some canned food with ample space for him on the back seat of the wagon for the 4 hour trip. Honestly having him wander about while you relax at camp is its own kind of luxury.

A short stroll by the riverside transforms into a fun filled display of splashing and pouncing. The crystal clear water that was far too cold for me but Buddy had a ball. A quick shake when he’s done and we’re all refreshed.

There have been a couple of canine encounters which raised the pulse rate a bit but nothing dramatic and, honestly, the other dog owners are having the same experience as us. Just be aware of where your dog is and what he’s getting up to. Have the lead ready and if necessary tie him up for a short time.

The companionship of your best friend amongst the tranquility of nature is pure delight. And if your pet is as cute as Buddy you’ll have other campers coming up to say hello in no time. A great way to meet new friends, canine and human.

I have taken myself off to a shady spot a good 200 meters from our camp to write this, leaving Rai back at the tent, and Buddy has busied himself by running back and forth between us for the past 20 mins. Guess he’s going to sleep well tonight!

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