Lucky Dogs.

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.

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6 Comments

  1. Allison

    My first dog, Lola, loved a good car ride. I took her everywhere. I was also in my 20s, living alone, and she was my sidekick. She was also a good passenger.

    Piper wants to get in my lap, or on my shoulder, or anywhere she shouldn’t be, and sometimes she honks the horn for me. She is not a good passenger, but I still love having her.

    My mother’s pugs, Maggie and The Dude are good passengers, but they leave a pound of hair in my backseat when they ride with me.

    I wouldn’t trade any of it.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Dogs can be great companions on the road. Ours ride in kennels so we don’t have to worry about them getting in our laps or honking the horn but they can still see out. My wife would regularly stop and get fries at McDonald’s and give some to one of our dogs and he’d actually bark every time he saw the golden arches because he knew what they meant.
      I also once rode with a friend whose dog was used to riding in the front seat. He was put in the back seat and spent the whole trip grumbling.

      Reply
  2. mydangblog

    Your dogs are so lovely! Atlas loves going anywhere, anytime and just about goes out of his mind if you ask if he wants a walk or to go in the car. He’s really become an emotional support animal for us–he’s actually helped me with panic attacks, which have gotten worse during this latest complete lockdown here.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m so glad Atlas has been a help to you. Even when they’re not officially emotional support animals they can still be very supportive. And, as my wife puts it, some of our dogs would rather go to Hell than nowhere. Although our dogs now have gotten so they like to visit new places but they’re not so fond of riding in the car. For them the destination really is more important than the journey.

      Reply
  3. ANN J KOPLOW

    I feel very lucky that I get to meet your dogs today, Chris. Thanks for another wonderful post.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3054: Distinctly NashvilleMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Our dogs felt very lucky to meet you too. The Dalmatian standard says they’re supposed to be “polite but reserved with strangers”. As you may have noticed neither Teller nor Junko have ever read the standard.

      Reply

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