Unique RV Pets

 Posted by at 4:35 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 062009

It’s no secret that when it comes to critters, I’m prejudiced.

I don’t like cats, I’m a dog person. But I don’t like just any dogs. I abhor yappy little mutts that serve no purpose in life except to make noise and waste precious oxygen. An ill mannered dog of any size is not something I care to be around.

I tolerate well behaved medium sized dogs just fine, and I like big dogs. My preference is for the working breeds, be they spaniels, retrievers, or shepherds. Over the years I have owned a couple of Springer Spaniels that were fine animals, but my favorite dog of all time is the German shepherd. For my money, you cannot find a more intelligent, loyal, or versatile canine companion. I have had several in my life.

However, a German shepherd is probably not the best suited dog for the RV lifestyle, which is why I don’t have one today. In fact, as much as Terry and I both love animals, we don’t have any pets, and have made the decision not to do so for as long as we continue to be fulltime RVers. For our particular lifestyle, vending at RV rallies, doing speaking engagements, and leaving the bus a lot to cover stories for the Gypsy Journal, it just is not fair to have an animal that spends so much time alone. 

For many years we traveled with Terry’s cat, Sasquatch, who came as part of a package deal when we got married. But he wasn’t your run of the mill kitty. He was a hybrid with some lynx, Manx, and Himalayan blood, that tipped the scales at well over 20 pounds in his prime, and looked like a bobcat. He also had several extra toes on each foot and could use them like a hand to grasp things. Even though I don’t like cats, he was a good conversation starter because he looked so unique. Sasquatch passed away a few years back, but he wasn’t the only unique pet we have seen in RVs as we have traveled around the country.

Once, in Lake Conroe, Texas, we met a couple who fulltimed with two parrots. They said the birds loved traveling, and were always drawing a crowd wherever they were parked when they brought them outside. Since parrots can live a long time, the owners had already made provisions in their wills for the adoption of the birds if something were to happen to them. Since then, we have met several other RVers who travel with birds.

I also met a couple once who fulltimed with a collection of snakes, which they used to present educational programs to schoolchildren. I hate snakes even more than I do cats and yappy little dogs, so I took their word for it and did not venture inside their motorhome to see for myself.

While I have never seen them myself, I have met RVers who told me they traveled with ferrets, a skunk, and even a monkey. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.

My friend Henry Gartner, better known as Flakey the Clown, travels with a couple of rabbits that he uses in his act at RV rallies and shows. Does that qualify them as pets or props? I’m not sure. Just as I wasn’t sure if the goldfish one couple kept in their RV to entertain their cat qualified as a pet, or just pet food.

Perhaps the strangest pet we ever saw in an RV was a baby kangaroo, which is more correctly called a joey. It’s owner came to a Life on Wheels session in Bowling Green, Kentucky when we were teaching there several years back, and people were crowded around wanting to pet and hold the little guy, who just wanted to snuggle up to his human daddy and go back to sleep.

Thought For The Day – Don’t believe everything you think.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  7 Responses to “Unique RV Pets”

  1. Hi Nick,
    Having raised and shown German Sheperds for many years we know exactly what you mean. The strangest pets we have seen in an rv was one couple that had chicken on a leash that they would stake out in the grass by there campsite. They also had a whole set of pet rocks that she spent about twenty minutes making sure they were comfortably arranged on the picnic table. I guess what ever floats you boat (or kayak).


  2. We see the usual variety of dogs and cats that people travel with when they come into our park. I have seen a couple that traveled with a dog and a bird and one couple came in and had a turtle with them. Most people seem to favor small dogs, though one couple came to our park because they have large dogs and had been turned away at other parks.
    We have some folks that come and have four dogs that travel with them. They are always out walking their pets. Everyone has their preferences!

  3. HI Nick:

    Twice now, in our 5 years of traveling, we have encountered folks traveling with pot bellied pigs in their motorhomes. They also had to carry and store a long ramp so the pig could get in and out of the motorhome. I just cannot imagine living with and tripping over livestock in my motorhome. To each his own.

    Linda Sullivan

  4. We ran into someone a few years back who traveled with a full sized pig in their motorhome. They had a ramp for it and carpets inside so it could stand. It sure looked funny to see this pig walking up the ramp.

  5. We just saw a pet in an RV last weekend that really blue our mind!! It was a pot bellied pig. They are not the type to put on a leash like a dog because they go where they want to go and you have no control over them. These people were trying to get it back into the RV and we all thought it was hurt because of the squealing so we got up and walked around the end of our RV to look and they were trying to lift it back into the RV. It was taking two people to lift it since they do become very very big and weigh a whole lot.

    Love to get the Gypsy Journal and read it cover to cover —

    Dick & Belva Sackett

  6. When you see the Spiedels, ask them about “Star” (our German Shepherd/Dingo mix) and “Jake” the parrot. We were all part of the Camp ‘Bago scene this past week. You had met our previous shepherd, Krissy, at Elkhart CG about 4 years ago. She had a lot of medical issues during our travels to the point that we took photos of the Vets we visited as part of our trip photo albums. After she died, we traveled a year without a pet and Luke would disappear sometimes getting his “dog fix”. Star was a rescue and is very, very mellow, loves people and cats and does not bark (which makes for a great CG neighbor). Now if we could get the squirrels and chipmonks to quit teasing her, life would be perfect!
    — CoolJudy and Luke Rinehimer

  7. I’m with you on the snakes, Nick. I’m scared to death of them! The strangest RV pets I ever saw were some folks who had a bus conversion and had a 45 gallon sale water aquarium built into one wall. It was beautiful, but I would be afraid every time we hit a bump it would break and cause a flood.

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