Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jasper the RV Dog

Jasper the RV Dog
There are actually five of us on this trip. Dad’s little nine pound Rottweiler, Jasper (he is actually a Shih-Tzu) is along with us, and very much a part of the company.

We have taken our cat across the country with us, but she just stayed in the RV. A dog is a lot more work. He has to be walked, and given a chance to do his social networking duties - peeing on things to announce he was there.

Jasper did not start out as a good traveler. He wants to go, but when he gets in the truck, he will not settle down, panting, and pacing. He wants to sit on someone’s lap and that is not allowed; he does not understand why he cannot sit on a lap. We decided that we had to establish his boundaries, and decided to put him on the floor when he wouldn’t behave. He found a way around this, by simply deciding that the floor was his favorite spot - so much for punishment!

He actually settled in pretty good, and has developed a routine. He now goes into the back seat, and almost immediately settles down on the floor. He moves back and forth from side to side, but sometimes, is so quiet, that “where is the dog?” is a common expression. He can tuck himself under the back seat so we can’t even see him.

There are two things that Jasper does not like, lightning, and rumble strips. He gets so upset he does not know what to do. He wants up, he wants down, he wants . . . . he doesn’t know what he wants. Actually he just wants the lightning to stop! The rumble strips are another matter. He used to panic every time you drove over one. Of course with the trailer it is worse because eight tires instead of four are rumbling. On a narrow little road in Pennsylvania there were not only rumble strips on the side of the road, but also in the middle. You couldn’t avoid them in a fifty foot long vehicle. Poor Jasper was frantic. The trip has actually been good for helping him learn that the rotten rumble strips can’t hurt him, because after 17 days, he is getting used to them, and unless you are on them a long time he ignores them.

Jasper had a very traumatic experience last evening. The KOA RV park had a very nice “doggie playground”, and I was teasing Dad and Sharon, that if they were good doggie parents, they would take him over there to play. Sharon finally agreed, and I went with them. There were two big ugly white dogs there already, but as soon as we opened the gate their owners assured us their dogs was “OK”. Sharon let Jasper off his leash, and he started exploring, ignoring the other dogs.

Not so with the other “OK” dogs, one charged at him, running him over in a cloud of dust, and chomped down on him. The owner immediately yelled “No, he is too small to play with!”, and came to separate them. I think they actually thought he was a nice moving “chew toy”. By then, the owners were upset, and as a result their dogs got upset, and the other one went after Jasper as he tried to get away. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt, but he definitely did not like being used as a “chew toy”. He did not like going to the “doggie playground” after that.

As I write this we are rolling down highway 95 towards Death Valley (Harolyn’s advice), and Jasper is happily sleeping under the back seat by Regis’ feet. He seems to be settling into this RV trip just fine.

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