So, what about the dog?
What a question! But it is repeatedly asked, even though it is usually asked quietly and cautiously. As if we would dump him on someone, or worse yet, put him down before leaving.
I have been incorrectly saying he turns twelve this October, I just looked it up and he turns eleven! What a gift! He is a German Shepherd Dog, originally from Germany, brought over to be a show dog but when he didn’t perform highly enough they decided not to show him any more or breed him and put him up for sale at age three. We fell in love with the big lug and have had him ever since. He came to us with the unlikely name of Enzo. We almost renamed him Dude because most of the time he is so chill, but we like the name Enzo and we didn’t necessarily want everyone in town to look up when we called our dog!
He was very well trained when we got him and we worked with him to be my third service dog, a job he performed for years. I slowly began to use him less as I grew stronger and now rarely need him for that purpose except at home.
So, yeah, he goes with us. It does complicate things of course. We have to figure out transportation that doesn’t involve sticking him in the baggage section of a plane. Since he is a service dog, I think we have that covered. We have to look for lodging that is pet friendly. I suspect it will be too difficult to argue a semi-retired service dog’s rights with regard to housing in other countries. Airbnb and the like seem to have quite a few options for guests with pets so we will work around that. We have to travel with his items as well as ours, it’s only fair! We have to limit ourselves to places where we can get into the country without quarantine or issues, so that is a consideration and requires some research. He isn’t small, he is 95 pounds, so I can’t just tuck him in my tote with my guide book and go. We will probably take into consideration cultural feelings towards large dogs, we don’t want to be somewhere that everyone is terrified of our sweet boy. But he is Enzo the magnificent, our buddy and protector and soon to be homeless companion.
In preparation we are trying to make sure that he (well, all of us) are in the best shape possible for this adventure. He has arthritis in his elbow and back that has slowed him down a lot in the last year. We’ve been having laser and acupuncture treatments and recently shifted to ultrasound therapy, massage and swim therapy. The place we go for this treatment is Tsavo’s Canine Rehab in Del Mar, CA where the staff takes wonderful care of my furbaby. We are told that the treatments should take about 8-12 treatments for maximum effect and the results last a couple years, rather than the monthly acupuncture we were doing before. We have done about 5 treatments so far and the results have been really good. Enzo is taking to his swim sessions like a pro. With the supplements they recommended, massage and regular exercise he should be good to go!
Now Dan and I have to get ourselves shaped up and we will all be good to go!