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Dogs who live in Vans...In Memory of Scotty

Scotty is ALWAYS ready for the next adventure. Whether we are racing to the coast for the day, choosing a new mountain to climb, or just taking a jot around the neighborhood, he has his tail wagging and his head held high.

So what does that mean when we are living in a super small space? Honestly, it's not that much different. I will say, its a bit harder to just open the door and let him roam like we may have when we had a brick and mortar home. But I never feel bad for running to the store or heading to see friends, because he is always with us. People know, if we are invited, our pup is too. Or, he is only a couple hundred feet away to go check on. he understands where we are going when we leave because he sees us go into a building and return, instead of us just leaving home and him having no idea where we have disappeared to. Van life has helped with his anxiety, since he is HOME while we travel.

However, he is an animal, just like us. He poops, he needs to eat, he gets thirsty at inconvienent times, and he hogs the bed. In a 90 square foot box, that is much harder to get accustomed too. You have to keep an eagle eye out, because getting into something he shouldn't is a much bigger deal in such a small space. Cleaning up puke is much more intense in a small space. Not to mention the SMELLS! Thankfully he is hypo allergenic, so the typical dander and wet dog smell is much less of an issue. His food though, stinks. He is on a fish based diet to combat all of his allergies, and that is so much worse than your typical dry kibble. Bing old with a lack of teeth means he is on a wet food oriented diet, which is smelly and messy. The things we do for love, right? On nice days, he gets fed outside, and on not so nice days, moma holds her breath while he eats. OH, speaking of breath. Dog's breath doesn't smell good, no matter the age or breed. But there are definitely things we can do to help a bit in that department. Trust me, when you are in that small of a space, everyone needs to keep up with their oral hygiene, including the dog. That means teeth brushing, oral wipes, treats to help with plaque, the works. All of the extra work is worth it to not scream "this sucks".

Back to adventure, which is Scotty's favorite topic aside from cuddling. We firmly believe that mental stimulation and socialization is vital to an animal's health. When you domesticate, you become that animal's only link to the outside world. That is a responsibility few take as seriously as they should. So, when you live in a van, how do you offer those stimulations?

We use a multitude of tools to keep Scotty entertained. Daily walks are good, but not nearly enough in our opinion. He gets hikes, playtime, and at least one dog park every week (or so we try). Fetch is a daily activity, both for the bonding factor of playing together, as well as the extreme exercise it allows him that he doesn't get with normal walks. Walks are not just for exercise, or to get it out of the way in our household. We make sure that Scotty gets his fill of stops to smell and mark territory, as well as lots of greetings from anyone we meet.

For us, having a dog is much like having a toddler. They wake you up for a drink in the middle of the night, they throw a fit if they are cooped up too long, and sometimes, they just want to be picky eaters for the heck of it. I wouldn't trade those quirks for a single day without him...He is our Scotty Biscotti.

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