I have always had an affinity and love for animals ever since I was little. Growing up we always had so many different types of pets in the house including dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, mice, fish, turtles, iguanas, you name it and we probably had it! I remember when I was younger I used to want to become a veterinarian for the longest time because of this passion I have for animals. I had so many different types of books about the breeds of dogs and cats that I would sit and study them just for fun! Naturally, animal planet was one of my favorite TV shows as well growing up. I have been wanting to have a pet, but didn’t want to subject them to the constant moving. I want to discuss some of the many benefits of having pets while traveling and also touching on the necessary evils that should be considered when having the responsibility of a pet. Getting a pet seems to be a topic of conversation between Kollin and I for the past few months. I know I should be a little more realistic with our current situation of moving every three months for travel contracts but I really struggle with self control when it comes to these things. I have to really focus on not adopting a million puppies and kittens that are in need of a “furever” home. Especially when theres a cute puppy snuggling on me like the two we most recently fostered.
Although I do not have any pets that I travel with, I have worked with lots of travel nurses who bring their fur baby’s along with them to their assignments and wouldn’t have it any other way. Just like them, if I did have a pet it would not be a question whether or not to bring them along while on assignment because they do bring so much joy to me and are basically family! I mean, who doesn’t love coming home to a dog who just can’t contain their excitement to see you walk through that door. We are literally what they live for, when we leave in the morning they wait for us to walk back through that door in the evening after work happy and can’t stop wagging their tails.
Fostering is something I recently stumbled upon during my current travel assignment here in Austin,TX. An amazing way to get involved with the community you have recently moved to is to volunteer and foster. The Humane Society of the United States is a great reference to help you find a local shelter in your area. The Austin Humane Society has been such an incredible organization to be involved with. The foster coordinator made the process so easy for me to help with the program. Foster parents are able to provide help whenever an animal is in need due to either medical reasons, too young to be adopted, or a even just a break from the shelter. Now I will be honest, if you are fostering a puppy or kitten it is not as easy as it sounds. Yes they are cute and adorable but it is constant work especially when not yet house trained. We felt like we were constantly cleaning up after them, making sure they weren’t eating something they weren’t supposed to be eating, giving them medicine, etc. Hahah. However, it is such a rewarding and amazing thing to be apart of during their most vulnerable time. I loved every minute of it and highly recommend everyone to do this at some point in their lives to give back to their community and especially while on an assignment away from home. Some puppy love might be just what you need sometimes during those rough days away from friends and family!!
Pet fees at certain complexes can be pricey sometimes. There is typically a pet deposit that you have to pay for when moving into a place. Traveling during assignment, which can sometimes be unexpected and last minute, can become complicated with fees on airplanes to bring your pet along. Or if you need to leave them behind it can be tough not knowing or trusting anyone enough to care for your pet while you’re gone. Mostly because you have just moved to the new location. Or you can always go the boarding route which can be difficult too not knowing or trusting the facility to take the best care of your loved one while you are gone. And there is that pricey fee that they charge you while you are away.
I have noticed when searching for housing which can already be a challenge, having a pet can add to the stress and filters of finding your short term housing. Also, when we pack our vehicle to move it is pretty packed full. I honestly don’t know if we could actually fit a pet if we needed to! Need to factor in the extra stops you might need to take when driving cross-county with a pet who needs to be let out to go to the bathroom more frequently. Also, necessary when stopping along the journey at a hotel it needs to be again, pet friendly. Obviously those of you who are pet owners factor that into moving but it is definitely something to consider if you have lots of things or move with two people’s things like my boyfriend and I.
So overall I think traveling with pets is such a rewarding experience whether it be your own or ones that you are able to help along the way. The amazing thing is there will never be a location you travel to that doesn’t have an animal shelter where dogs or cats are in need of foster. The only problem I had was the heartbreaking moment when I had to return them to the shelter to be put up for adoption. But I know there is a right time and place for everything and for right now I am happy to help those cuties who need me and one day I will get to keep them and love on them forever. So whatever your situation may be at this moment just make the best of it and enjoy those pets in whatever form they may come to you! Please comment below some things that I may have missed about the good and bad of traveling with pets! It may help others out who are looking for reasons to take the plunge of adopting or fostering (or more specifically, me haha).