“A lot of the other travelers we meet, backpackers, or other foreigners, they have pets at home too and they miss them, so there’s an emotional attachment when they meet Sora. They get a chance to pet her, give her some treats, and watch her do her tricks. It really benefits everyone. I think from a social standpoint she is pretty awesome at meeting people.” – Dave
Can it get much better than taking your dog on a bike tour around the world? Well, it sure would be nice if they could help pedal. But in all seriousness, traveling with a dog is great! Sora’s travels started with bike touring trips in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, home of Burley Design. When getting used to their Tail Wagon pet trailer, Dave pointed out that having her bed in the trailer instantly made her made her feel right at home. Feeding her in the trailer helped the process. On the first few rides, Dave would stop every once in a while to give her some treats, let her stretch her legs, and let her know she was being a good girl with positive reinforcement. That was just the beginning. Now, she’s Sora the Explorer!
“Well, you know her Spanish isn’t very good. So it’s a challenge sometimes.”
“She’s been on bikes, ferries, planes, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and boats. We just need to get her on a balloon ride now! She’s been on pretty much every mode of transportation you can think of.” – Jen & Dave
Traveling with a dog internationally on all these different modes of transportation can certainly have its legal hurdles. The Long Haul Trekkers have been at it for a couple years now, so they have some helpful hints. A simple Google search has been one of their best resources. They warned that some info may be outdated and always recommend checking the official government webpages where “there’s almost always a version that’s in English”. There does seem to be a misconception that traveling with a pet always requires a quarantine time period. LHT clarified that this is mostly required for island nations such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, or Hawaii. Vaccinations, current rabies shots, and health certificates from a veterinarian and the government’s dept. of agriculture are usually all that’s required for international travel.
Sora has a variety of gear ranging from running leashes to treats. Dave mentioned, “We have a backpack for her that we’ve yet to use. We’re like two dog yuppie parents, if there’s a device you can have, we’ll say ‘Yeah let’s try it. Let’s throw it in the trailer. There’s plenty of room’. ” Just like Dave and Jen, Sora has her own toiletries, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, and nail clippers. Her bed seems to be the most important piece of gear so far. More than anything, Sora’s bed provides her with a comfortable place to call her own. When traveling in cars, or on the rare chance they take a bus, the bed gives Sora a place to sit, and it prevents her thinking she can jump up on the seats.
“She is a registered ESA as an emotional support animal for our flights, so she was able to sit with us. I was quite nervous about it. She started whining about half way through the flight and crying and I started freaking out. What ended up happening was the floor was really hot because we were near one of the engines. So, we put her bed down over where the hot spot was and that was it, she went to sleep.” – Dave
They are quite the team and always look out for each other. When we asked how Sora gets along with other dogs Dave jokingly said, “Well, you know her Spanish isn’t very good. So it’s a challenge sometimes.” Sora, Dave, and Jen, have been through a lot together and they’ve seen Sora’s personality change to be more accepting and eager to meet others. It seems as though Sora has grown just as humans do when we get out, explore the world, meet new people, and have new experiences.
“We just stayed in a hostel campground area and that had a 6 month old Lab puppy. This puppy had endless energy and loved Sora. They would play all day long and it just made us so happy to see Sora play with this little puppy having the greatest time. She would get annoyed and ended up teaching Safira, the puppy, when she was done and didn’t want to play anymore. Safira didn’t always listen, but it was fun to see that exchange of Sora teaching this dog how to be a dog.” – Jen
Sora is 12 now and she’s still learning new tricks. These tricks sometimes come in handy if they ever come across lodging that’s unsure about taking in this pup. A quick rollover, high 5, circles, and a shake will usually get them in with the group, and Sora is the VIP. Oh the life of a dog on the road. Hopefully Sora works out the Spanish soon.
In October 2018, our hearts fell dim with the passing of Sora. She was so much fun to meet, gave comfort to those around her, and inspired so many.
"With bravery, dignity, and yes, grace, she made her way peacefully to the Rainbow Bridge on October 10th, 2018...Having faithfully completed her duties to her beloved humans, and to all the friends she met along her life’s journey. She will be reunited with her brother Maxwell and feline sibling, Nima at the Rainbow Bridge." - Jen, Long Haul Trekkers