Several years ago I answered phones at a company that provided money to truck drivers on the road. Whenever they had trouble they’d call a 1-800 number and I was one of two dozen or so people who’d help them out, or try to anyway. After about a month I got to know a few of the drivers and even if we had to keep it brief we’d chat a bit, usually about the weather, although I did learn that two different drivers, working for different companies, were anthropology professors. Were they doing research? No. They both told me the pay for driving a truck was just better.
I never thought to ask if any of them had pets. It’s not something I thought about at all until I just read an article about truck drivers and their pets—mostly dogs, it seems, but some have cats, even birds, and at least one hedgehog. And it makes sense. Most of the drivers I talked to were solo operators and having a pet come along for companionship could make the ride at least a little easier. When my wife and I have been on long road trips our dogs, who always come with us, help keep us awake and remind us to stop regularly because for them when nature calls it really calls. How they feel about travel varies, of course—they’re individuals too, although for some the destination is more important than the journey. Some are content to sleep, some really don’t like to get in the car. My wife took her first Dalmatian with her everywhere and he loved to ride along. She described him as a dog “who’d rather go to Hell than nowhere.”
For more than a year now our dogs have been work companions, reminding me to take regular breaks and just providing general support. I know that’s going to change sometime soon and I’m going to be back at work with people. I kind of envy the truck drivers who travel with their pets but I’ve also talked to enough truck drivers that I’m okay with spending a few hours away so I can come home to be greeted by our dogs.