Traveling With Your Dog

By Mary-Ann Lopez

Explore My World Travel profiles Mary-Ann Lopez, active supporter and volunteer for Brainwave, a national pediatric charity. An avid dog-lover, Mary-Ann is “mother” to a stunning German Shepherd named “PJ”. She briefs us on how she and husband, Alex travel with their much-loved pet.

Let me tell you about the third member of our family: PJ is a 6 year old German Shepherd who has the sweetest nature and whose only vice is to lick you to death. PJ is also a fully qualified visiting dog who visits Nursing Homes and Children’s Hospitals, which is a whole other story.

We do love to travel with PJ as much as possible for short breaks around New South Wales (Australia). PJ is intelligent enough to know by what we are packing as to whether she is included or not. Once she has worked out she is included, the minute we start putting things in the car, she is in first!

We live in Sydney, and a favourite place that Alex and I love to travel to with PJ is Lake Munmorah, which is 1 and a half hours drive north from Sydney. It’s an easy drive and a quaint two bedroom cottage right on the lake awaits us on arrival. This is a place to “recharge” the batteries! The cottage has a lovely deck where we like to sit and watch the world go by, reading, enjoying a glass of wine or dining “al fresco”. If we don’t feel like cooking, not far away is Budgewoi, which has a great “fish & chip” shop where we can eat and gaze at the water, or take it back to the cottage.

There is also a dog-friendly beach nearby Lake Munmorah, which always brings a laugh when you can play and swim with your best friend and just enjoy their antics.

Travelling with a pet is no different to travelling yourself. Always make sure you take any medication that may be required and always have ample supply of water in the car; like you and I, they need to drink along the way. We always pack PJ’s favourite blanket (it’s a bit hard to pack the couch!) and a special toy for security.

Unfortunately, PJ can not travel with us when we go overseas. We are fortunate to have wonderful friends who take care of her while we are out of the country. However, I find the short breaks that Alex and I have with PJ relaxing, enjoyable, and therapeutic. We forget about all the “hustle & bustle” of every day life. I am lucky enough to work from home so I get to spend many hours with PJ; Alex however does not, so when we are away it is beautiful to watch Alex & PJ bond and how, for the duration of our holiday, she becomes his virtual shadow.

Travel Tip:
There is a great book called Holidaying with Dogs which have lots of options for holidaying with your pets around Australia. We always go for the place where dogs have a free rein, as PJ is definitely part of the family.

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