Advice for travelling with aged dog needed!!

I have a dilemma, and could really do with some help, so please, please feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post.


It’s all about my dog Charlie, some of you will know him personally, some of you will have got to know about him through this blog, either way you’ll know that we adore him. Although this hasn’t always been the case!

Haughty Boy

So Aloof

We took Charlie on when he was 8 months old, he was as black as pitch with just four white paws and a white flash on his chest. He had already had three previous homes and came with a little bit of baggage, (like a trunk, a couple of suitcases and a backpack full of issues)!  He was a skinny, wriggly little thing. He was aloof, he wasn’t interested in people or other dogs, the only thing he wanted to do was run, and run he did, he could run for Britain, we should’ve called him Forrest! He would run until he collapsed in a heap, gasping for air and sometimes that could take hours! I was a regular ‘Billy No-Mates’, he’d go off on his own and I would be terrified that he was lost and would never come back. I would go for my daily walk armed with a flask of coffee and sometimes I thought I should even take a sleeping bag … just in case! Not one week went by without me ringing the Hubster, in tears, blubbing that I had lost the dog!

Always attached

I’m not looking at you!

Charlie wasn’t the most pleasant dog, he didn’t like cuddles, he didn’t want to listen, and ‘come’ just wasn’t a word he understood, along with many other commands. We actually questioned whether he had ever lived with an English speaking family. He wasn’t the most endearing dog, although quite handsome, everything about him was sharp, his nails, his elbows, the bones in his bum and above all, his teeth and I felt those on a couple of occasions!  I took to either carrying an empty washing basket around the house for protection or wearing a wax jacket as armour, he would leap up in the air and lurch at me (for no apparent reason) and hang off my collar by his teeth! I have been known to hang out my washing with a rabid. snarling, dog hanging down my back! On one occasion he actually threw himself at me and literally ripped off my tee-shirt (and bra) with his teeth, leaving me topless! Unfortunately I was chatting to a (male) neighbour over the fence at the time and found myself livid, embarrassed and a little afraid!

Forest Gump

Forest Gump

Trying to create a bond with him took a good four years, he had absolutely no intention of becoming my friend! He refused to even look at me, he wouldn’t wag his tail when I came down in the morning and greeted him with soft talk and a bowl of food!  I took him to Agility Classes in the hope he would realise we were actually a team! Bah, what a pain that was! He was brilliant at agility, I was rubbish, the instructor took an instant dislike to me and so it was never really a enjoyable pastime. I would leave exhausted each week normally with bite marks on my arms (and very often in tears). Money well spent eh?

I knew it was because he had problems, but getting him to settle took years and there was more than one occasion when I wished we hadn’t chosen him, I knew we would never give up on him, as he would surely have been put down had we returned him to the dog’s home. He tried my patience to the hilt and the tears I shed over those years would have filled a fair few buckets!

To be quite honest with you when I read the book Marley and Me, I thought ‘I can beat that!’ Marley was a pussy cat compared to this little devil that had moved into our house. I should’ve written a book and now Charlie would have a silver water bowl and an ermine lined basket!

However, I’m a great believer that deep down, there is a good dog in every dog, and damn me if Charlie hasn’t turned out to be an absolute cracker, he’s now 14 years old and a true little gentleman. I honestly didn’t think he’d make it past 14 months!! He is truly my little angel and I adore him, the fact that we’ve worked so hard to get him to this stage makes me love him all the more.

Sleeping Charlie

Over the last couple of weeks Charlie has been itching, we couldn’t even stroke him as it would set him off on a mega scratching session, he wasn’t sleeping – in fact nobody in the house was sleeping, as all we could hear was the thump, thump, thump of Charlie scratching through the night. We were all getting a little tetchy. He had been treated for fleas before coming to France and had been shampooed too, I had scoured his underside, which is white and not too thick and there were certainly no uninvited guests. So off we went to the vets. On arrival, we sat in the waiting room, I don’t know if dogs speak in different languages or if they know there’s a foreigner in their midst but all the dogs that were there, were very interested in Charlie’s arrival, maybe they thought he was famous!

A male vet came to the waiting room and called my surname, I jumped up grabbed the lead and followed, he walked down a long, airy, wide corridor calling my surname every so often, I thought this was rather strange, he hadn’t even looked at me, or looked back to see if  I was even following, it was on the fifth time of him calling my name that I realised it wasn’t my name he was calling at all!  ‘Aurelie’, ‘Aurelie’ he called again and again, I then realised Aurelie was his veterinary nurse and Aurelie sounds exactly like my surname, I turned on my heel dragging poor Charlie behind me  and returned red-faced back to the waiting room, explained to my sister what had happened – fits of giggles ensued much to the amusement and bewilderment of the French people waiting with their dogs!!

Charlie Welcome

Eventually, a lady vet came out, called ‘MY’ name, shook my hand and led me to a consultation room where poor Charlie was manhandled and laid on his back while she looked at his tummy, one injection, a tablet, a course of cortisone tablets and 65 Euros later we were back on the road to recovery. However, it seems to have taken it’s toll on Charlie, he doesn’t want to walk, he has been panting and to be honest we had one little fit a couple of days ago, where I actually thought he was going to leave us. As I stroked him and tried to keep him calm, my tears just welled up and overflowed, it was a stark reminder that I must get myself ready for the worst. However let’s not dwell on that … and so now dear blog reader I need your help;

this is my dilemma, we are going off in our motorhome in a couple of weeks time for a many months, we want to explore new places and enjoy a little bit of freedom and adventure. Now then, imagine the scene, we pull up in a lovely town in France, it looks interesting, we want to get out there and have a good root around, aha we have a problem! We have a dog that wont walk!!! We can’t leave him in the motorhome as it may be too warm for him and to be perfectly honest we wouldn’t enjoy ourselves if we knew he was on his own. He is old, he’s tired and to be totally honest I don’t think he has that much time left. So what do we do? My sister has a colleague who has kindly given us a Pushchair!!! Don’t laugh, please!!!

Charlie in pushchair

A red one, a bright red one, no a really, really bright red one! I have even got Charlie to get in to it and he is really quite relaxed and I know with a little more training he would be more than happy to have me push him around. BUT, is this the right thing to do, ok so my street cred will go right out the window as for the Hubster … well let’s not even go there! So do we take the push chair and let Charlie walk as far as he can and then pop him in the pushchair or do we simply leave him behind in the van? I can already imagine the looks and comments we’ll receive from passers by!

This is certainly not how we envisaged our adventure, but I’m afraid that Charlie is a priority so I leave it to you, tell me what to do!!!



17 thoughts on “Advice for travelling with aged dog needed!!

  1. It may be a temporary situation. Cortisone can be hard on dogs (and humans) so it may just be working through his system. We had a dog on cortisone for a while after an accident and she just seemed like a mop, dragging around with such effort, we were afraid we would have to put her to sleep. She was younger than Charlie though, recovered after a few weeks once the medication was out of her system.

    Personally, if he seems up for a short walk and doesn’t mind being in the walker, I say looks be damned!

    I wish him well, quick healing, poor Charlie. I admire your dedication. My cat that, sadly, reached her time this past March, was a cat version of Charlie. She was a terror, chased people she took a dislike too (which was most!), left me with scars and even sent me to the hospital for hand surgery after a particularly bad scratch. However, she also traveled the country with me, moved coast to coast on more than one occasion, and to me was a loving companion. If I had not taken her she would have been put to sleep in her first year. We spent 20 great years together.

    Good luck with Charlie and update us soon on how he’s doing!

    • Hi – thanks so much for writing, I think you’re absolutely right about the cortisone, I think it has worked it’s way out of his system now. Wow your cat sounds like a little minx!! but where would we be without them. I did laugh when you said she put you in hospital!! Cheeky little monkey. I think you’ll enjoy my post today … all good news!!

  2. Aw Michelle you have made me cry my eyes out!! I had never seen Charlie in his younger years! What a handsome young man he was and indeed still is as an elderly gentleman!! If he gets in the pram go for it!! He will probably get second wind and start running again! Hope your journey goes well my sweetie! Loads of love to the 3 of you! Andrea, Martin, Roon and Pretty xxxxx

  3. take him with you, and the pushchair. I have been laughing at you walking up the corridoor in the vets. so funny ha ha. I am still off work. i liked going out in the wheelchair i am sure your dog will love it. xxxx good luck Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2014 14:24:34 +0000 To:

  4. Your Charlie reminds me a bit of my Beauty. I wish I’d thought of a pushchair for her. We both would have been a lot happier and able to do a lot more. Granted, she was 75 lb, but I think we could have worked it. In fact, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it. When Beauty was a puppy, I would go for 2-3 mile walks with my sister-in-law and toddler in a pushchair. The toddler wanted out of the chair about mile 1. Boy would crawl out, and puppy would crawl in and ride. The stares and laughs followed us everywhere. The toddler racing around and the puppy in the pushchair. By the way, my dog had allergies and I gave her a Benadryl every day to control it. She lived to be 17, but 14 is also very old. You’ve done well. No matter what you decide, it won’t be easy, but life was never meant to be easy. Keeping you in my prayers.

    • Thank you so much for writing to me about Beauty. You’ll enjoy my blog today with updates on Charlie’s maiden voyage in the pushchair. I gave Charlie a ‘loratadine’ recently but it didn’t agree with him, so I’ll avoid that for the moment. Gosh 17 years that’s amazing, I hope Charlie keeps going for a few more years yet! Charlie weighs about 50lbs and I really felt the weight this morning!! so at 75 it would be a big ask!! Thanks again for thinking of us, we do appreciate it. Take care.

  5. Oh Michelle darling, we know that charlie was getting slow and old, in your heart you knew this, I feel you must include charlie in all you do, if it means putting him in a wheelie, do it girl!, it would be wrong to leave him alone now, I know this is your dream year but if charlie has only a short time with you, you must give him your time, He is to him your family, your pack leader, bloody hard I know, but deep down you know this is the right thing to do, let im finish his time close too you both doing what you are enjoying doing, he will remain content and happy until……. also this will make you feel right in your self and happy for him… love and hugs sweets x x x x x x x x xx

    • Oh I know you are so right, but I’ve always had a bit of a thing about people putting dogs in pushchairs, but we have a situation whereby we don’t have a home to leave him in while we’re out exploring! which is a bit of a pain!. It’s been an amazing response that I’ve had regarding Charlie, he really does bring out the best in people. I will be answering your email very soon, in the meantime, I send you oodles of love and think of you often. Much love.

  6. Pingback: There’s life in the old dog!!! | Hidden (formerly takingsnaps)

  7. Aww poor Charlie, you go for it Michelle, you won’t be out of place they all do it on the continent, big hugs for Charlie and you xx

Let me know what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: