The Unexpected Benefits of Travel With a Dog

by Gigi Griffis

Jet lag burrito = luna
I christen thee Jet Lag Burrito.

I knew traveling with Luna would be wonderful. I mean, aside from the large quantities of paperwork and the ridiculously high fees charged by every person who has to touch the dog along the way. I guess what I’m saying is that I knew it would be worth it. Worth it to have her with me, worth it to know exactly where she is and what she’s doing and not to be thinking about whether the petsitter might leave her outside too long in the cold or let her get stung by a bee.

What I didn’t expect is the additional benefit of being thought of as a local.

I have heard about this phenomenon before, from one or two of the dog travel blogs I read. But I hadn’t experienced it myself until now. Now, I understand. If you have a dog in tow, people assume you live there. And, for some reason, I absolutely love this. It makes me feel more a part of the landscape, more legitimate somehow.

So far, even in the many short conversations I’ve struck up with people on my long walks with Luna, no one has asked how long I’m staying or whether I’m traveling. Even with my distinctly recognizable American accent, they all assume I belong here. Did I mention that I love that?

And, in addition to being treated like a local, having Luna with me makes me feel like I belong. I’m sure my work schedule and the fact that I don’t have a return date or a physical address also help me feel this way. But a big part of this feeling is Luna and the fact that my schedule still includes walking and feeding and snuggling and potty-breaking. It adds normalcy to my day-to-day. Grounds me.

The biggest benefit of having Luna with me, though, is that I need her. I just feel better when she’s around. It’s always been that way–ever since I picked her up and held her for hours the first time we met, ever since I found a new apartment in one week just so that I could have her. She is, so far, the great love of my life. She’s how I got off anti-depressants. She’s what comforts me on the bad days. She’s my constant.

And, so, I’d like to take a moment to say thanks to the U.K. for changing your quarantine rules this year. And thank you for making it so much easier than I anticipated to get her in.

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Montecristo Travels June 4, 2012 - 5:10 pm

Oh how wonderful and awesome to read these words! Music to our ears here at the Montecristo Travels headquarters! Scotland is on our list so i look forward to hearing from you the ups and downs! ENJOY having luna and yes WE LOVE feeling like a local as well. MAJOR plus!! It is amazing the people you will meet, the doors that open … just fabulous. You are never “single” or “alone” when you travel with your dog!

gigigriffis June 5, 2012 - 7:51 am

So true! So far Scotland is lovely. So much more dog-friendly than the US. No one even bats an eyelash when I have her with me just about anywhere. And they looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if I needed to pay extra to take her on the train.

Erica June 10, 2012 - 8:57 pm

That’s amazing that you get to travel with your pup! She is absolutely adorable (I have a soft spot for Yorkies) and I can hardly count how many time I wish I had a little pup with me in Tokyo.

gigigriffis June 11, 2012 - 2:28 am

Thanks, Erica. Sorry you don’t have your pup with you in Tokyo! Are you in Japan long-term? If so, you probably could bring your pup over (I believe they just need a certificate, a rabies blood test and then a waiting period and you only have to quarantine for like 12 hours!).

5 Ways to Not Look Like a Moron in Edinburgh | the ramble June 26, 2012 - 9:13 am

[…] probably already know that having a dog with me has made me feel like a local. Working a pretty regular schedule also goes a long way to making me feel settled. And staying put […]

Katja and Africa March 30, 2013 - 11:17 am

What an absolutely wonderful post! I know what you mean when you talk about needing Luna. My dog Africa is probably one of the most amazing “things” ever happened to me. When I wasn’t doing so well, she was the one who kept me sane and didn’t let me give up. Dogs are wonderul creatures, I’m so lucky to have her in my life!

For almost 1.5 years I’ve fought to bring her with me to Germany from Finland (before that we lived in Estonia) and now finally it’s about to happen in a little less than 2 weeks! The reason why it has taken me so long to take her with me was that finding a dog friendly apartment in Heidelberg was incredibly difficult for a student budget.

Available apartments are already hard to get, let alone one where you want to bring a BIG dog. Finally I got lucky :)

It would be cool if you could check out our blog, I wanted to also write about dog travelling because I think it’s a growing trend. And then the fact that there doesn’t seem to be that much information regarding big dog travel, I was even more inspired to do such! :)

gigigriffis March 30, 2013 - 11:22 am

Thanks! And, yes, there’s definitely a demand for info on traveling with a big dog. I get questions about big dogs all the time, myself (I try to answer them based on research, but it’s always better to have someone with first-hand accounts answering things). Will check out the blog.

Ramona March 31, 2013 - 2:46 pm

I love what you are doing so much!! I have a little dog and she means the world to me! I love traveling too! I understand you so well! I wish you and your dog all the best and lovely trips!

gigigriffis April 1, 2013 - 7:59 am

Thanks so much!


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