Traveling (and Writing) with Your Dogs

A getaway to finish a revision on a manuscript seemed like a good idea.

Revision and edits on a manuscript are moving along well, but slower than I hoped.  Constant interruptions from phone calls, doorbells, and the siren’s call of unattended yard work, lure me away from the pages.  A couple of days on the coast is my prescription to cut down on the unproductive static and let me focus on the work at hand.  The place we rent is on the Pacific coast, about an hour’s drive North of San Francisco and it’s quiet, isolated and no cell phone signal to disrupt creative processes.

Sounds good, too good.

So, we packed up and headed out.  Packing up means more than tossing a suitcase together for wifey and myself.  Two Corgi dogs, Tanner and Emma, go on vacation too.  So, dog food, beds, toys, crates, leashes, poop bags (lots of them) all get shoved in the car for the trip.

The place is beautiful, right along the Pacific Coast Highway, with windows looking out onto the sea.  We’ve watched Humpback Whales spouting in the water from our perch at the dining room table.  It wasn’t whale migration time, but that didn’t stop Tanner and Emma from looking for a sea creature.  Besides, I didn’t want to be distracted from getting the revisions done.

Corgi Whale Watching

Corgi Whale Watching

Plans.  Plans and hopes should be shelved next to fictional characters, fantasy worlds and unicorn whispers.

About 9 pm, we watched the coastal fog, blanket the rocky shoreline and noticed that Emma was unusually quiet.  She was listless, drooling like a St. Bernard and really out of it.  We needed to connect with a Vet to find out what to do next.  Ahh…remember when the no cell phone signal sounded so good?  We couldn’t call out.  The rental house did have a wireless internet connection and YELP (the same website where you leave nasty comments about crappy tacos) told us the closest vet was closed for the night and the emergency vet was a forty-five minute drive away.

A moonlight drive along the Pacific Coast Highway has a nice ring to it.  Not.  This was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, with patchy fog, wind-swept, cliff-lined, serpentine roads for the better part of an hour.

We arrived at the emergency vet clinic and Emma got a good going over by the vet, including getting her temperature taken (the baby way), which she really didn’t like.  The vet’s conclusion was she had gotten into something foul.  Apparently, on one of our walks, Emma met a local amphibian and being the friendly Corgi that she is, she licked it.  The vet said some of the local frogs give off an irritant as a defense mechanism.  The irritant wasn’t so much toxic as it was bad tasting, and the drooling reaction was in response to the foul, acidic taste.  The vet knew we were concerned and made sure we knew Emma would be fine.

midnight vet visit

midnight vet visit

The midnight drive back from the vet was leisurely, as much as fog and the threat of plunging off a cliff into the ocean allowed.  Emma slept the entire way home.  I wanted to go lick a frog by this time.

The morning came extra early because Emma felt better and wanted to go play out on the beach.  We drug our butts out of bed, guzzled coffee and tea, and set out for a day on the shore.


Distracting Sunsets


I tried getting to the editing a few times, but the beach, sunsets and dogs demanding attention, encouraged my inner procrastinator.  After a few days, I was able to recharge and get back to work, writing.  Maybe it was the break I needed after all.  Emma was fine, we were all fine, and the trip, in spite of the midnight ride was fun.

Top Five Things to Bring With You When You Travel With Dogs:

1)  Bring poop bags.  You can never have enough.  And use them.

2)  Some means of communication.  A tin can and string, telegraph, or pony express, have some means of contacting the outside world.  No cell phone service, means NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION.  You may as well be in Ecuador.

3)  Know where the nearest vet clinic is located.  Finding out where the people hospital is will help when you get stressed over your frog-licking Corgi’s behavior.

4)  Patience.  Have fun with your pets, they know what they’re doing.  I think Emma really wanted me to unplug and get away for a while.  She got her way.

5)  An extra set of eyes.  Emma was on leash all the time and still managed to do her own little frog meet and greet.  Learning to keep her head up and out of the ground is a new skill in training.



  1. beautiful dogs you have there. I agree, you need patience when you’re with dogs, but sometimes, they prove to be much better companions than humans.

    1. Actually, for their young ages, Tanner at 2 1/2 and Emma at 12 months, they are good pups. They bring a lot of smiles and the critters are great company. And yes, preferred over some humans we know.

  2. Once again, your writing made me laugh. Just what I needed at the end of a long day of sitting at the computer getting caught up on everything but actual writing. Can I blame it on my two kittens who like to lay on my desk and either a) look adorably cute with their heads resting on my keyboard or b) decide that my desk top is a great place to have a kitten fight, play with my paper/pens, eat the plant, attack the cursor on the computer screen. I guess I should be grateful that there are no frogs for them to lick (smile). Good luck with the rest of your edits. Glad to hear Emma’s okay.

    1. Thanks Diane, and Emma is doing just fine. Even with all of her frog-licking antics, she is a little ball of fun. She and her brother Tanner make me smile when I’m parked behind the keyboard. A distraction, maybe, but a good one.

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