In April I rescued a baby rat with the intention of finding her another home. I've had rats while housed up but traveling with one seemed like more responsibility than I'd prefer. Rats typically do best in pairs or groups but since she was a baby and with me 24/7 she adjusted just fine. Within a couple weeks I'd fallen in love and really didn't like the idea of giving her up. I felt like we'd built up such trust and companionship in the time we spent. A week or so ago I decided to definitely keep her.
I'm in Mongolia right now traveling with a horseback caravan of people who just met on the internet. Here's the continuing story of my lil' Mongolian pony. When I first saw this guy, he was tied up to the halter of a big, strong, healthy-looking chestnut horse with a full mane (all our horses so far had theirs shaved for the summer, kind of a visual bummer). I wanted the flashy horse, but we still had bigger taller people without riding horses so I gave over regretfully. I took a quick look at the other horse -- a drab, shaggy dust-brown gelding. He was all ribs and hips and spine, with huge pits over his eyes, but while the other horse was stuffing his face to the exclusion of all else, this one was looking at me.
So, I'm in the Wellington airport flying out of New Zealand to Ulaanbataar in about 12 hours, where I'll meet up with a couple of friends and a bunch of people I've only met on the internet. Then I'm going to buy a very big animal whose wellbeing I'll be responsible for, and hopefully will be okay with carrying me around. Feels pretty surreal.
All felt calm and quiet as we pulled into the empty parking lot behind the racetrack. We gathered supplies, and slowly made our way to the shore, if it could be called that. Clouds blanketed the entire sky, but the light pollution from this megatropolis made up for the lack of reflected starlight.
Many people, especially those new to traveling, and those currently only considering about traveling, have a slew of questions for travelers with animals. Some travelers will tell you something about their financial flow improving since their dog became a part of their family. Others will tell you that they cannot live without their partner, for the companionship on the long and tough road works miracles for their mental health (anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts). These things are a very real thing for many of us on the road.
Some people might not agree with having dogs on train but let’s face it, it going to happen. Dogs are well suited to railroad lifestyle and make great traveling companions. If you train your dog well, love them, and feed them good then your dog will follow you off of a cliff if you jumped. They are loyal and loving companions. When the road gets lonely and cold, they will cuddle you and keep you warm. When somebody sneaks up on your camp at night, your dog will warn you. When walking through a sketchy neighborhood you don’t know, your dog will, a lot of times, ward off people who may be looking to harm you. Some people may not agree with some of the techniques below, but that is how I have raised my own cur and have helped with the training of a few other railroad pups out there.