Wheelhouse Journey

traveling full time with an old dog

Traveling Full Time with an Old Dog

Planning our Adventure with Denali

Traveling full time with an old dog is something we never hesitated to do. And when Nancy and I were planning this adventure, it was with our chocolate lab, Denali, in mind. At the time, he was 12 years old and slowing down quickly. Due to his age, we didn’t want him to live his last years or months waiting by the door for 10 hours a day. After all, he meant too much to do that to him. Nancy and I wanted to take care of him and let him live his last amount of time he has. Since he had a little trouble moving around, we made sure to visit our vet due to his aches and pains. As a result it made travel easier for him.

Adventures of an Old Dog

From the moment we left on July 1, 2017, he was never alone. Either Nancy or I was always with him, trading hiking or adventure days so that he had someone by his side. He needed help to get in and out of the truck or trailer, but he was always so happy to go where we went.

Travel days were his favorite, as he had the entire back seat to view out the window or lean over the center console to sneak some treats. With us he traveled 10,000 miles through 7 states, 4 National Parks and countless state parks. He waded in rivers, viewed sunsets over lakes and accidentally drank water out of an ocean. Denali strolled on sandy beaches, visited wineries where he manned a bar, and kept us company at breweries and restaurants. Even moderate hikes were not too tough for him. Wow, was he impressive on those for an old dog! He made so many friends along the way who told us what we were doing with him was so amazing and wonderful. Nancy was so inspired by his strength and will, that she wrote an article on some of the adventurous things we did on the west coast.

Denali’s Health Scare

Over a couple weeks in mid-September, we had some health scares with him. As we made our way to the bay area through central California, he fought hard and pulled through. With some day trips to Yosemite and Kings Canyon, he showed us how hard he was fighting. On Thursday, September 28, we made it to Oakland. Over the following night and into Saturday, he finally let us know it was time. It was exactly 3 months since we left Minneapolis.

A Gentle Soul Lost

September 30, 2017, we said goodbye to our lovable travel companion. Anyone who has had a dog knows the unconditional love it shares with you, and for nearly 14 years he was by my side to provide that. He was always there for me when I got home, greeting me with a wag and big hug. Denali loved people and wherever we went people loved him back, often thanking me for petting him, and was an infectious, sweetest and most gentle soul.

Missing Our Travel Companion

This is so hard, not knowing where to go from here without our best friend. What we are doing is as much about Nancy and I enjoying life as it was about him. Everything we did over those three months, remind us of what we shared with him. Traveling full time with an old dog certainly had it’s challenges in our day to day routine, yet we wouldn’t change a thing. Most of all, there is no regret. We gave him the time of his life and let him live it. Our best friend is incredibly missed.

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