Written by Alice Munley
While we don’t have a covered wagon, it was much like the call for “wagon’s west” as we loaded Cam’O into our vehicle for a 2,500 mile round-trip drive out west to the Sierras from the Rockies of Colorado.
One of the best socialization opportunities for a puppy in training is an auto trip across country, or at least across part of the country. Of course, certain considerations were taken into account, as just driving anywhere may not be appropriate. Our trip was to be fairly simple and straightforward. We traveled about 500 miles each day with several stops for food, water, and to relieve Cam’O and walk about a bit.
As we embarked on our trip, the first test would be how Cam’O handled the curves and altitude of a drive across and through the Rocky Mountains. He proved to be a trooper and seemed to love just being close to us for an extended period of time. In fact, he was so close, I could just reach back a few inches to where he was strapped in his seatbelt and reclining with a bone on a soft doggie bed placed on the seat directly behind us. His seatbelt allowed him to lie down or sit up to enjoy the view, or reach out to the front seat for some loving, if he so chose.
Stops at gas stations, fast food locations, roadside rest areas, sites of historical interest, and more also proved to be great socialization. All gas stops provided the view of the huge semis, the smell of their exhaust, and sound of their heavy and rumbling engines. And of course there were lots of other people around, gas pumps, and cars driving in and out of the gas station. Cam’O accepted it all as just more routine in his life. And, as usual, he was the subject of many wonderful comments for both his behavior and beauty. He may have visited more restaurants during this trip than he has in his first six months in our home. He learned quickly that his place was under the table and there he always headed as we sat down to eat.
Staying over at motels to Cam’O was just like another night at home. Give him a bone to munch on and he’s a happy fellow. Our destination was Reno and some time with family, including a “cousin” for Cam’O. Not only was his “cousin” another Golden retriever, but his cousin was also born in Colorado, several years before Cam’O. They accepted each other well, but didn’t do a lot of romping together—maybe not enough time to get acquainted.
On our return trip we visited friends with chickens. Cam’O was very interested in all those chickens but never showed a desire to chase or even greet them up close and personal. He preferred keeping a safe distance. Perhaps he noticed those sharp beaks and determined he didn’t need to go nose to nose, as he might with another canine buddy. And where the heck was the chicken’s tail? There was no tail like he’s noticed on his fellow canines.
Arriving back home is always exciting and Cam’O was soon at play and snuggling with his favorite Golden retriever, Pat.