All my life I’ve loved dogs and travel. I always thought it was one or the other. Get a dog and settle down with a house, or travel the world solo. In the winter of 2016, I decided to throw that idea in the trash and take a once in a lifetime trip across the US with my dog Loki.
After months of planning, Loki and I started our journey across the country starting on the East Coast heading to the West Coast. It wasn’t a straight shot trip to get there as fast as we could. I wanted to make it fun and see the country with Loki. So I loaded up my little Subaru Impreza with Loki and we saw the country. We started in Virginia and went through:
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- and finally landing in California.
From the moment I decided to take this trip I knew I would have to get all my ducks in a row fast. I started doing research immediately on:
- How to road trip with a dog
- How to travel with a dog
- Top dog-friendly sites across the US
- The most dog-friendly states in the US
- and more.
Before I left I had planned my trip in detail starting with the states I wanted to go through, down to the sites I wanted to see in each town. I also had backup plans in case I decided to deviate (which I inevitably do) or in case Loki was not happy with one of the activities.
In my extensive research, I found that dog training was imperative to a safe and happy trip with a dog. So I found the best dog trainer for Loki in the area and got us golden on the basics like sit, down, come, and heal.
As an added difficulty, Loki is not your average happy, care-free dog. I got him from a shelter in Alexandria, VA who had saved him from a high kill shelter in GA after finding him wandering. They had no information about his background but I didn’t care because it was love at hello. I learned within the first week that he had a spotted past and was most likely abused. He was afraid of noises, strangers (in particular men), and had a fear of moving feet, boots, and belts. Even his leash scared him until he learned that to associate it with walks and that it wasn’t going to hurt him.
As if that wasn’t enough, I found out after a few vet visits with him that he had a fractured hip. He was going to need surgery to walk without a limp. It was a grueling time since we had only just become acquainted and he was being put through surgery but in many ways, those though times brought us even closer.
2 years later after the hip surgery, lots of patience, persistence, and training Loki has come a long way from his skittish self and isn’t as afraid of the world.
A lot of this confidence came from the training and then traveling across the country. He acquired the foundation with the training we did before leaving. Traveling across the country helped us to practice every day starting out in a familiar area and then upping the distractions each day.
At the beginning of the trip, Loki would shy away from strangers. But as the trip went along he started to cautiously go sniff one or two new people, and by the end, he would walk up to strangers and ask for pets.
Each day was a new adventure filled with fresh smells, amazing sites, scenic hiking, and new people and dogs to meet at dog parks across the country. It was an unforgettable journey that has me jonesing to be on the road every day and it gave Loki a love of travel and adventure too.
This isn’t to say that travel is a cure-all for dog problems but that traveling with your dog is possible and can even be a good thing for you and your dog.
My hope with this site is to help others find that joy of traveling with your dog. My goal is to bring all the answers to one place for a one-stop shop for your dog travel needs.