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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

vandwelling, heat and dogs

http://thereluctantpaladin.blogspot.com/2010/06/summer-heat-danger.html

i just saw this on a blog i read when i actually get around to reading blogs. it is a reminder of the challenges of living in a van with a pet and keeping them safe. the temps inside the vehicle were a sobering reminder of what happens inside a vehicle in the sun, and how quickly it can happen.

one advantage of vandwelling is that i can follow seasons and climate according to our comfort and safety. i absolutely hate the heat, so avoid it if at all possible. if i can't relocate to a cooler region, then gaining elevation is an option, and will be experimenting with that in the future, after i relocate to the southwest.

even here in the northeast in the summer, i do most of my shopping at night, thanks to walmart and other 24 hour businesses. if i do have to go somewhere in the daytime i leave the engine running using my spare key, and leave the air on. i still keep my business short, because i worry about an AC malfunction or the engine stalling (never has, but there's always a first time)  i set a timer on my phone to beep me after 10 minutes, in case i lose track of the time, and i wear a neck lanyard with info and photos about my vehicle and my dog, so if i should become incapacitated, someone will know to get to Mutt. it also contains vet and emergency contacts who are instructed on how to recover Mutt and get him home safely.

this issue has had a lot to do with the types of things i do on the road. i don't go anywhere dogs aren't welcome, which would be most tourist attractions, some national parks or campgrounds, theaters and malls, restaurants...that sort of stuff.  but that's cool, because none of that holds a candle to the pleasure i get from hanging out with Mutt. he is just the best thing that happened to me since my kids, and dogs lives are too freakin' short. i don't want to miss a minute :-)

9 comments:

Paladin said...

I wish everyone were as conscientious as you are about their pet's safety. I'd have to do a lot less scrambling around on hot days! :)

hoboknitter said...

hey, paladin, thanks. i am aware my actions don't change the fact that in many places it is illegal to leave a pet in a car for even a few minutes, at any time of day or season. and of course, none of the steps i take are gonna prevent you from being called out by a concerned citizen anyway, and scrambling around in the heat. sorry about that :-)

i am almost pathetically, desparately in love with my dog. i kinda feel the same way about my lifestyle. i hope that the balance i strive for protects both.

i was told that since mutt is a rescue dog, any accusation of leaving him in a vehicle, and the spca could take him away. a fear that is with me constantly.

Anonymous said...

Katie, I am lucky enough to have a service dog so he goes everywhere w/me. There are cooling vests you can get from REI or North Face. I purchased a cooling vest for my son that I found listed at a disability website. It worked VERY WELL!!! I can only imagine it would work with my pup, the reviews were outstanding. He is having a really hard time cooling down this summer. I had thought of shaving him but i hear differing views on that. I wonder if i can find one for cats......

hoboknitter said...

hey, thanks for the heads up! I will check out those vests.

I just shaved mutt to about 3/4 " length....long enoug to protect him from sun (his coat is very dense) but enough to cool him off a bit, as recommended by a vet. Helps with the shedding in the van, and quick to dry after getting wet....

Anonymous said...

Try Eureka, CA it can be cool in summer and not too cold in winter with no snow. Check the weather history on the web. You can have your homebase in Brookings, Oregon not far at all from Eureka, or head down south for winter, but no real need if you want to stay in Eureka plus save gas. You can stay put and make life easier.

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

Just came across your blog--love it! So jealous though, that you have your dog with you. I'm in Asia and had to leave my RR Zola back in the states with (a wonderfully gracious) friend... the adventuring is great but its like I left a sliver of my soul at home! Cheers to your care for your dog though, seems like a lucky Mutt

hoboknitter said...

@anonymous: thanks for the info! we traveled up the coast in august 2 summers ago. we love that area. spent alot of time in ft. bragg.

are the boondocking (free camping) places around there?

@lauren: i hear ya about the sliver of your soul. if only they could talk on the phone! how long will you be in asia?

Anonymous said...

Hoboknitter if you boondock in Eureka, CA it will have to be using stealth. Parking at Wal-mart, Target, the Mall, hotel parking lots, apartment parking lots, or anything else you can find. But it's nice cause you have all the city comforts and don't have to stock up on supplies.

Go to this website it's about van living on $20 a day and using a white cargo van to blend in. He parks just about anywhere.

The website is www.vanabode.com
also try www.cheaprvliving.com

Lauren Alissa Hunter said...

I was planning on staying until next Spring but will be back for a friend's Christmas Day due date-- so only a few months to wait! I think South America is next and I have met people who have taken their dogs with them so I think I might rise to such a challenge... she will love the rainforests and volcanoes, no doubt.