Learning To Camp With My Pup

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Tala and Erin's Story

I inherited Tala by beginning my relationship with my now husband, Jameson, nearly 10 years ago! But let’s be real… Tala was a huge part of the equation that sealed the deal. She completely stole my heart from day one and I’ve been Dogmom ever since!

Tala is an English Shepherd. One aspect to her breed, is that they are known as English “shadows” because they keep close to their owners/family and do not like to be separated. On one hand this is awesome because she can be off leash and I am never afraid that she will run away because she keeps me in eyesight at all times. Except maybe when she finds a deep muddy puddle to army-crawl through. For those purely blissful spa-like moments, she couldn’t care less what I’m up to!

Last summer, my husband and I had planned to road trip across the US from California to Massachusetts but due to some complications, it turned out that he had to fly out there and I would have to drive our Suburu Forester with my mom and Tala. We had just bought a shiny new Tepui Rooftop Tent and I was super excited to break it in on this mother-daughter road trip!

Tala was not so excited about this rooftop tent, as it meant that my mom and I were up in the tent and Tala would have to sleep overnight in the car. Like I said, she does not like being separated from her people. However, she is a 50-pound dog, so it would not have worked to lift her up into the rooftop tent! Let me tell you- she had a palace in there. All the back seats were down and she had a super soft bed and blankets to snuggle up in. I was not worried about her being comfortable on the cool Spring nights along the road trip route.

So, my mom and I are falling asleep on the first night in a campground and Tala starts pacing around inside the car below. I started even feeling seasick from the car moving so much! I got down and tried to calm her down, cuddling with her until she got sleepier. I went back up into the rooftop tent and tried to go to sleep, but Tala began to pace around the car even more intensely! She climbed OVER the wall of duffle bags we had made to keep the front two seats somewhat less furry and got herself stuck in the driver’s seat behind the driving wheel and started honking the horn! It was 2am at this point in a quiet campground. I rushed down and got her loose from the self-imposed prison of the front seat and took her on a long walk. I ended up having to give her some Benadryl to calm her down and she finally went to sleep.

In the end, that was a very difficult road trip because Tala was NOT stoked on being separated from us during the night. My husband and I are testing out a new plan for our road trip back to Massachusetts this summer; we bought Tala a climbing harness to hoist her up into the rooftop tent! One person will lift her halfway up from the ground and the other person will grab her from the tent and get her inside. I’m sure there will be a learning curve. But I think as soon as she figures out that she gets to sleep with us instead of in the car she will grumble through the hoisting up part. She’s a sucker for snuggles, and well, so are we.


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