Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and if you’re going on a road trip, there’s no need to leave Fido behind.
It may seem like an added challenge to have a dog with you in the car, but according to Will and Kristin Watson, it’s worth it.
The Watsons, along with their 3-year-old daughter Roam and 10-year-old pit bull Rush, have been traveling on a refurbished bus since April 2019.
“I wouldn’t want to do this without Rush,” Kristin told Fox News Digital. “I know some people don’t bring their dogs along because they don’t think their dog could handle it, but I would just say try and see before you just don’t give your dog a chance.”
“Most dogs really want to be with their owners in any way they can, so they adapt,” added Kristin. “And they’re just the best companions on these kinds of trips.”
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When the family got on the bus Three years ago, Kristin said it took Rush a while to adjust to the lifestyle change, though he was a little anxious early on.
“I think he transitioned really well,” Kristin said. “One thing he did a lot in the beginning is … while we were driving, he would run to the front of the bus and then run to the back and then run to the front and run back.”
Will explained: “It was hard to protect us when we drive on the road.”
Now, the Watsons give Rush some CBD for dogs before they hit the road.
“That really, really helped him calm down and be able to relax while we’re driving,” Kristin said. “It also helps tremendously with his hips, because he’s getting older. So jumping in and out of the bus, he can do it a lot better than when we started giving it to him.”
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Although the Watsons don’t carry Rush on the bus, he has two spots where he spends most of his time.
Giving your dog a seat in the car – or on the bus – helps make your pet feel more calm and at home while on the road, according to Outside magazine.
In the Watsons’ bus, Rush spends his time either in the front with Will while driving, or in the back on the bed.
“He likes to stick his head out the back window and smell the new smells,” Will said.
The Watsons also leave all the essentials for Rush so he can access them while on the road.
“He eats free range and everything, so he has food and water available and his toys available whenever he wants them,” Kristin said.
The Watsons also make sure to walk Rush every time they stop – which they do every few hours to stretch their legs and take bathroom breaks.
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Two of the biggest benefits of Rush with the Watsons on the road are safety and camaraderie.
“If Will has to leave me and Roam behind to go on a work trip, I feel super safe because I have my dog,” Christine said. “He’s one of those dogs that, he’ll only bark if there’s somebody sniffing around the bus or something. So it’s an alarm system.”
“He’s very friendly, but it sounds like he’ll bite your head off if you come around the bus,” added Kristin.
In addition, Rush loves to go on adventures.
“He likes that we keep going to different places because he gets to smell new smells and pee on different things,” Will said.
“If we want to go out and just walk a trail or do something, obviously Rush will always come and he just loves it,” she added.
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One of Rush’s biggest challenges for family getaways is that some areas aren’t pet-friendly, Kristin said.
“If you go to national parks, most trails in national parks are not dog friendly,” Kristin explained. “So you really have to watch the weather because if you’re going to leave your dog or any animal behind in the summer, you have to do things very early in the morning or at night when it’s cooler. .”
The Watsons have a pet monitor that measures the temperature and humidity levels in their bus and sends them alerts to their phones in case their AC goes out.
They also have a security system for the bus so they can watch and talk to Rush while they’re gone.
An added challenge for the Watsons is that Rush is a pit bull, so he’s not allowed to go camping.
“He’s considered an aggressive breed, unfortunately,” Will said.
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The Watsons said they rely on a website called BringFido to help them find dog-friendly restaurants, activities and lodging while they travel.
Kristin added that public lands are also some of the best places to take your dog.
“They’re the places with the fewest rules,” he said. “You’ll find beautiful open spaces there for your dog to run around and do things. So we always try to find public spaces.”
Despite a few challenges, the Watsons don’t regret bringing Rush on their travels.
“Bring the dog,” Christine said. “Never leave the dog behind.”