Sep 062018

I wasn’t surprised to find out that I had ruffled some feathers, or maybe fur, when I said in yesterday’s blog that we made the choice to find a new home for my protection trained German Shepherd when we hit the road because he would not have been a good fit for the RV lifestyle.

Two people wrote to tell me that they couldn’t believe I was so heartless and callous that I would give up my fur kid without a second thought. Someone asked, “Would you do the same thing with your human children?” I wanted to reply that the reason I bought a motorhome was to escape my human children and so they couldn’t find me to move back in. Somebody else asked, “How could you turn your back on an animal that loved you and that you supposedly loved just like that? Don’t you have any feelings at all?”

Yes, as a matter fact I do have feelings. And I agonized for a long time about what to do with Magic, the dog in question. And in the end, I reached the decision that was best for him as well as for us. He was a dog that was used to having a big fenced in backyard where he could roam about at will, and he would not have been happy at all living in a motorhome and going out for a walk now and then on a leash. Not to mention the distractions of having other people and other animals around him all the time. You see, when you care about something, you have to take what’s best for them into consideration, too. That’s what I did. And he got a family with older teenage kids to play with and love, and he want back to work doing what he was trained to do.

Somebody else sent me a message that they would not be reading the blog anymore because they can’t stand people who are anti-dog. That’s about as far from the truth as you can get. I love dogs. Now, I’m talking about real dogs, not those yappy little barking rats that so many people have. But give me a springer spaniel, or a German Shepherd, or a golden retriever, or anything else that has at least a little bit of size to it and doesn’t bark every time the wind blows, and I’ve got a buddy. Anybody who knows me and has a real dog knows that I would just as soon bend over and love on their dog as I would shake their hand when I show up. I’ve had many dogs over the years, Magic just happened to be the last of them.

But here’s the thing – he was a dog. He was a great dog, he was one of the smartest dogs I have ever known, but he was a dog. Dogs are not people. Your dog is not your child. I took a biology course or two in my time and I know that’s impossible. And even if it was possible, it’s sinful as hell.

Other people contacted me about my comments that many RV parks limit the size of dogs they allow, and their insurance companies prohibit certain breeds, among them Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, and Dobermans. They said they would never go anyplace people where their dog is not welcome. Not a problem. We met hundreds of RV park owners in our time on the road, and I’ve never known one that went out of business because they had restrictions on dogs. I don’t think any of them will be going hungry because you decide to camp somewhere else.

I understand that people are passionate about their animals. We always were about ours, too. And now that we are off the road, the thought of getting another pet has crossed our minds more than once. But we don’t feel it’s fair to the animal or to us. We don’t have a big yard where one could play outside, the weather here is not always agreeable for taking an animal for a walk, and to be honest, we’ve grown selfish. We don’t want the responsibility of a pet, and we don’t want the pain and heartache that comes when you lose one. So if that makes us heartless and cold and callous and all those other things, so be it. Meanwhile, if I see you someplace and you’ve got a real dog, please don’t be offended if I pay more attention to it than I do to you. I do love me a puppy fix!

And after all that negativity, here’s a dog themed chuckle to start your day, from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs. They have to pick up their own food if they drop it on the floor.

Nick Russell

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

  21 Responses to “They’re Dogs, Not People”

  1. Every morning I read your blog post of the day. I really enjoy most of your writing, especially the Q & A .
    I felt compelled to comment on today’s post, as all too often people treat their pets as their children. I loved my Labrador, but she was never a substitute for my child.

  2. You’re not alone Nick,we feel the same way about dogs and after losing our golden retriever never decided to get another.

  3. You made the Right decision, at the right time, and for the right reason,
    if you feel you made the right decision. No apology necessary .

  4. I absolutely love my two puppies to death, but I sure would like to have the freedom to come and go as I please. With no puppy care or boarding around, I’m always stuck at home or in my rig. Taking them out three or four times a day in an RV park is a pain, not to mention the fear they are barking and disturbing the neighbors when I’m gone.

  5. When I decided to go on the road, I had two small dogs. One was 5, the other 14. And just for the record, these were not yappers. I hate yappers as much as the next guy, that’s why I trained them not to yap. A simple squirt of water and the word “Hush” does the trick. I knew the 14 year old would not be able to travel happily on the road with us, she hates to travel in a car for even short distances. So, I made the decision to leave her with my daughter. I knew she would be taken care of and she would have the company of my daughter’s dog. Yes, I loved her very much. That’s why I made the decision to leave her behind. It was what was best for her. Would I have loved to have had her with me? Yes. Did I love her enough to do what was best for her? Yes. I can only applaud you for making the right decision and giving this dog a happy life. My little 5 pounder that I brought with me is very happy traveling and she loves riding in the golf cart to take the trash out. On days we don’t have trash to take out, she still has to have her ride in the golf cart! lol! It’s so easy to be selfish and treat your animals as if they’re just another piece of property you own and to decide that where you go, they’ll go, whether they’ll be happy doing it or not. Sometimes folks, you just have to love them enough to let them go.

  6. I am anti pet as we don’t have any and or want any. There is no room in our life for them. Just saw an article in the last month where a lady was bitten by a puppy she had bought and died from it, enough said. But we do enjoy watching owners in the rain bending over to pick up dog crap, that is if they are good owners. And one more thought, if you were going to have us watch your pet, when you got back we would probably have forgotten where we left them.

  7. You did the absolute right thing Nick, and you know it. Good for you! Only you know what your dog would be happy with. If there was any hint that my dog wouldn’t enjoy her life on the road, I would do the same thing.

  8. Agree Nick. We are cat lovers and have had cats almost all of our lives. But they do not live forever and we WILL NOT let them suffer. It’s one of the hardest things to do to put them down but we think of the quality of life of the animal not us. And while we love them they are animals not people. That said we do every thing possible to make their lives enjoyable (food, water, toys, petting and attention, proper medical care, etc) Our cats have given us many pleasurable hours and lots of comfort.

  9. It always amazes me how people can get themselves “wrapped around the axle” over issues are really none of their business. I totally agree with you. My wife and I had a very nice Black Labrador but when we lost her it was just too hard to think about replacing her, not to mention that we retired and decided to become full-timers. It just did not make sense to haul a dog around with us while were traveling. We do as you do, getting our “puppy fix” when we meet people who do travel with dogs. For us, it just makes sense.

  10. This post really bothered me, rather i should say what people said you about doing the right thing. We were in the same situation, our dogs roamed several owned acres and hundreds of others. We had to make a decision to rehome the younger one, as the older we adopted from an apartment lifestyle and as such would adapt fine. There were several posts when we were rehoming that were extremly rude things like cold hearted, horrible human and like you, would you give away your child. Im not sure the mental capacity of people that make these statements or more so the ability to think about what is good for others over themselves. It was very hard for us and our children to do the right think and give our dog to someone, however it was a perfect fit. Family with kids, a happy home, A friendly dog he could play with and a huge yard. There is also the animals social makeup, they are not human children, the do not coo and caw thier babies, they are pack animals. I feel all these people treating thier ddogs like human children are the ones doing the damage to them, they dont understand and are confused by this human behavior, holding your dogs aswell, it creates alot of stress for them, in the end doing more damage then giving them to a loving home for the right reasons no matter how bad it hurts you, that is the unselfish thing to do for someone or a dog. Most people cant see past thier own needs and then blame thier shame on others. I try not to pass judgment however this mentallity pisses me off and is the same people probably dressing thier dogs.

  11. We are not full timers, but do RV 5 months of the year. We have an 8 year old boxer that travels with us. Part of the reason we RV is to be able to take her with us. Having said that we know when she is no longer with us, we will not have another dog. There are places we want to go that would require us to board her for long periods of time. She has never been boarded because when we worked we had a house sitter for her when we traveled so she would not adapt well to boarding. I applaud your decision. If that option had been available to us, we may well have chosen that option. For now we are happy to have her and enjoy her companionship. Everyone has a right to make their own decisions without being criticized by others.

  12. Nick, Well said, to many people treat their dogs as a child, nothing wrong with that, we had a Jack Russell when we went on the road over 10 years ago. he was 8 and had the run of two acres. We agonized over what to do, we knew that being confined to a 30+ SqFt RV after being in a 2500 soft home on 2.5 acres would be a great adjustment. We decided, since Houston was very protective of us finding a family to care for him as we did was difficult. We choose to bring him along, a decision we never regretted even though he limited our adventure especially in Alaska, etc. Your decision was a personal one and one we know you agonized about for a long time. We do not judge anyone about any decision they make. So those who have chastised you for your decision are being judgemental and I say good riddance. again great blog. Mike & Reggi

  13. Nick, Well said!, one would think you are a writer, oh wait, you are. I would like to copy what you wrote and every time I hear someone speaking bad about people who have to “rehome” their pet I’ll hand it to them. There are many reasons that people have to find a new home for their pet and I venture to say it is always done with care and concern over the pets welfare, as it should be. The people that don’t care abandon their pets and that is heartless. We have a 90lb lap dog who has traveled everywhere from 8weeks old, she is a love sponge and we will share that with you anytime. Jeannine and Dan

  14. While I recognize dogs are not people, for us they are still family members and not “just a dog”. Our mastiff is happy where we are… in a closet or on a farm, she wouldn’t want to be any where but by my side. But, I have also rehomed a dog, and both he and our other dog (before the mastiff) were MUCH happier not to be living together.

    I applaud you for finding a new family for your dog – because you knew he would be happier NOT living the RV lifestyle!

    Sometimes you have to love your dog enough to let them go be happier with someone else. And if you want to call that selfish, well… it’s ok to be selfish, too!

  15. I con-cur.
    I have photographic proof of you loving on Odie, the perfect mini-poodle, though.

  16. Geeks can do all kinds of stuff with Photoshop, Jim. Doesn’t make it true. 🙂

  17. Wow. Didn’t see this til today. I agree. Your replies were all on the positive side however, but I bet you got an ear full of the alternates. Glad somebody said it. I love them, but put side by side with my real kid….no contest. Well written

  18. We faced a similar situation with our dog, although in your eyes she wasn’t a real dog – she was a yappy little barking rat (Min Pin). ? When we had the travel trailer, she rode in the truck with us and didn’t like it but tolerated it fine. But when we bought the Class C, she was terrified of all the noises and was miserable. We gave it some time but she didn’t get any better so I called the woman we had gotten her from years before and she was the kind of woman who feels dogs are human and regrets giving any away. She was thousands of miles away but got on a plane and flew to where we lived and was so happy to get Lil back. I believe we did what was best for everyone involved and don’t feel bad about it although we missed Lil terribly. Would I have done the same thing with one of my children- absolutely not. But then dogs and children are not the same to me.

  19. I have never been to your site before but I just had to read how this all played out. I totally get your dilemma and that you had a tough decision to make. In the same situation it is just not the one I would have made which doesn’t make my decision more right or wrong then your’s. Your preference for larger dogs vs smaller though is really irrelevant as love for one’s pet is not more or less because of it’s size. I can appreciate that you made a decision taking into account the dog’s needs but what I didn’t hear you talk about was the effect that leaving a dog that has been dedicated, loyal and loving to you had on the poor dog. I worry that the dog would be lost without you?

  20. Denise, Magic was very happy in his knew home. He already knew the friend who adopted him, he had been to his house before and was very comfortable there. In fact, when we returned for a visit a year or so later he didn’t really give us any special notice. He had his new family and we were just company.

  21. Nick, this is a late comment, but I share similar views about having our pets be where they are happiest. We tried to have our cat go with us on a 200 mile test run only to find wet spots on every upholstered surface, except for our bed, as well as non-stop wallering letting us know that she didn’t want to be in anything moving. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done giving her to friends, but it was for the best obviously. I’m happy for the folks that feel that their pets are so close to them that they’d never think of re-homing them, but life can’t rotate around them for us.

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