Only dog owners can truly understand how much joy our beloved furry companions bring to our lives. They enrich our life in small and undramatic ways every day—by making us laugh, giving us company and offering us unconditional love. But, did you ever ponder on the idea of travelling with your dog? It can actually be fun, for reasons more than one!
This is the story of Divya, her dog Marco Polo and Tigress, and their life while travelling. This is one of the many true Story interviews where we talk to people who have experienced interesting/amazing/challenging things with their pups. Divya travelled with her two dogs to the hills, and most importantly when she was pregnant. The journey is on now.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
I work as a freelance journalist and documentary producer. Previously, I worked as an Indian correspondent for the French National Television, France 2. Now I freelance as a documentary producer for many international organizations like Canal Plus, ZDF, ARTE and also France 2. I wrote a book in 2009 with Random House called Slum Girl Dreaming. I also write travel articles for CNN, National Geographic Traveller and Discover India regularly.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR DOGS?
Last July we lost one of our furry babies, Pondi, all of a sudden, which made us realise the limited time that we have with them. Hence, we decided to take Marco Polo and Tigress along with us on our travels. We anyway missed them terribly when we were on the road and constantly worried about their well-being.
WHAT SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS DID YOU HAVE TO DO FOR THE DOGS?
When we made the decision of taking our dogs as with us on our travel journeys as much as possible, planning how to move about was the most challenging part. We decided to travel across the country in Indian Railways. Booking first class tickets and making sure to get a coupe (2 seat compartment) was the biggest hurdle we came across. Then booking a right Airbnb that was pet-friendly and had ample space for our pets to move around was also very important. These two things were the most important aspects in our long term travel plans. Apart from that, we always carried basic medicines and lot of treats to entertain our pets on long train rides or drives.
ANY HARDSHIPS FACED DURING THIS JOURNEY?
The biggest hardships that we faced in our journeys were booking the rental cars, as many of them were not happy with our dogs, and to get a first class coupe in the train (VIPs have the preference in first class, so we were in for a surprise till the last moment or on the day of our travel). Surprisingly a lot of people also came forward to help us, we could go to lot of restaurants and bars with our dogs in Goa. In the mountains, we solely hitchhiked to move about, people did give us a lift and some even went out of their way to drop us to our destination. I guess travelling with Marco Polo and Tigress made us realise that somewhere, there is still goodness around.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MAJOR HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR TRIP?
Few things that made this journey with Marco Polo and Tigress very memorable are:
- Travelling across the country in Indian railways, as both Marcopolo and Tigress go ecstatic looking at a train.
- Hitchhiking across Landour and the surrounding villages. We did not have a car and renting a car on daily basis for five weeks was not cost effective on our long travels. So we hitchhiked mostly in pickup trucks. It was quite an experience and we ended up making many friends.
- Our first hike together as a family was to the Goat’s village in Uttarakhand. The dogs certainly motivated their 33 weeks pregnant human mother to move ahead and not to give up. We loved our nights together without electricity, stargazing and all cuddled together.
- Swimming in the sea with Marcopolo and Tigress running around the beach digging up star fishes.
- Our luxury staycation at Tree of Life Resorts, Jaipur (once in awhile we all need a little pampering)
ANY ADVICE TO THE PEOPLE TRAVELLING WITH PETS AND ALSO PREGNANT DOG MOMS?
Our advice to pet parents travelling with their furry babies would be that it might take a bit of planning but it is so worth it. You may not be able to go to general touristic spots, but what is amazing is that you get an opportunity to go to places beyond that. Moreover, there is nothing more satisfying than to see a super excited and happy pet. We re-discovered joys of slow travelling and enjoyed the little moments , thanks to Marco Polo and Tigress.
I think one of the best things I did during my pregnancy was to travel to the mountains with Marcopolo and Tigress. They certainly kept me fit, due to the long walks and hikes together. Please don’t follow any doctor’s advice to stay away from your pets or to keep your new born babies away from your furry babies; it is important to us that all our babies bond together.
We are back on the road in some weeks, this time with a new member in our pack.