If not now… when?

For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to pack up and take to the road with my dogs. Get a little caravan, hitch it up and travel around Australia. I thought I’d do it years ago when I had independence and cash to burn… but my dogs Mitzi and then Dalcie May passed without ever getting that chance and I kind of regret that. I now have Toby and Audrey and after many years of thinking about it I have finally decided to hit the road.

Flash back to early 2015 and having to prepare a presentation about myself and what my potential 5 Year Plan would be… When I thought about it, I decided I wanted to spend more time with the two beings that spend all their day just waiting for me to come home to be with them. The two who give me unconditional love and simply make my days better.

So I decided that my 5 Year Plan would be to save up, take my long service leave and head off on an epic road trip with Toby and Audrey.

Step forward a bit to September 2015 and a road trip to the Goldie with my sister and nieces… along the way we encountered some of the Big Things of Australia – The Big Strawberry, The Big Prawn, The Big Banana – and so, thinking that “ya gotta have a gimmick” I figured a fun way to achieve my dream of travelling around with my dogs could be to try and see as many Big Things as we could on any given trip. The gimmick part to hook into social media is that my dogs are tiny. So tiny dogs off to see the Big Things – @tinydogsbigthings!

The months went by and the idea stayed just that, an idea. Nothing planned, nothing arranged.

Then my boy got sick. Diabetes Mellitus with immune complications and antibiotic resistant bugs. Months of tests and trial and error of medications with many ups and downs (not to mention a few years ago going through a similar thing with Audie and a Neospora Caninum in her brain – long story that may suit a whole other blog post) got me thinking about time and how the 5 Year Plan needed to move forward. My next annual leave opportunity would have to be it. Because really if I didn’t go now, when would I ever do it? For sure… if not now, when?

So I booked in the time and plotted a potential course. Mapped out the locations of Big Things in Victoria and New South Wales. Then we had to match up pet friendly accommodation with the towns that the Big Things were in, which was a harder task than we imagined. We could only stay nearby to the locations or on the way to them. We follow a few different groups on social media that we thought would be helpful. The Take Your Pet website was a confusing list with no descriptions or information. Wotif has some options – you can tick an option box. I thought the good old Holidaying With Dogs information would be more helpful than it was. I tried a few Visitor Centres where I was met with comments from “sure, I think pets are welcome as long as they have their own bedding” to “definitely not, I think it should be the law across the whole State that nowhere has pets in accommodation”. In the end I had to rely on my mate Google where I found the places we eventually stayed at. Stay tuned for further posts on the who and where…

As the time to depart grew closer along came some of the heaviest rain and flooding that NSW and Victoria has seen in years. Eeeek, detour! All roads to the Big Things that were on our itinerary map were either flooded and closed, nearby to closed or completely washed away! So a tweak to the itinerary became necessary, we lost 7 Big Things and two days…

To not ramble on… The sun finally came out and we hit the road.

On the road with our altered itinerary: Rosebud – Shepparton – Goulburn – Sydney – Greenwell Point – Canberra – Shepparton – Bendigo – Rosebud.

To ramble on… travelling with ‘special needs’ pets is interesting. The list of some items required:

  • Insulin vial x 2
  • Syringes x 30
  • Mini bin for used syringes
  • Freezer Packs
  • Voltaren Eye Drops
  • Flamazine Cream
  • Colloidal Siler
  • Chlorhex (hibiclens)
  • Wash Cloths
  • Towel
  • Bath mat
  • Favourite foods and snacks a plenty
  • Food bowl each
  • Water bowl
  • Travelling water bowl
  • Water bottles
  • Blankets – 2 fluffy, 2 cotton
  • Warm Jumpers
  • Warmie the wheat heat pack
  • Pet Stroller
  • Collars
  • Harnesses
  • Leads – short and long

A hiccup 24 hours in with Mr Toby needing some medication, but such amazing support from our Peninsula Vet Care team who faxed prescriptions and instructions and then the kind folks at Shepparton Veterinary Clinic who dispensed the right meds and we managed to get on our way.

Travelling the distance by myself was also not going to be possible so I am ever so grateful for my Mum coming along on the journey. We had some laughs and lots of fun. The scenery was beautiful and the places we visited a lesson in pet friendly travels – from the accommodating to the awkward. Stay tuned for each of our adventures and the photos…

With Toby’s failing health and the detours due to the floods, sadly we didn’t see as many big things as we hoped – but I did it… I got on the road and took a holiday with my important beings. We stayed in fancy hotels, a traditional motor inn and a lakeside cabin. We ate out at cafes and took walks together (with the Vivo Pet Stroller that stopped a few people in their tracks!) Most importantly we spent time together.

In the end it turned out that the trip itself was actually the Big Thing.


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