Pets on the road
So you’ve been signed for your dream job with your favorite circus. You’re packed and ready to go, but there’s just one little problem. What about the dog? The cat? The goldfish? For short stints on the road you may find it acceptable to leave them with a friend, relative, or even check them into a kennel, but what do you do when you receive a two year contract?
That is the time when a circus performer has to decide what is best for the animal, and themselves as well. This could mean putting the fuzzy loved one up for adoption, or learning to live in closer quarters. My family always opted to take our pets with us, and although the companionship was nice, it was no walk in the park… in fact, it was usually a walk in the truck stop with a little plastic baggy.
If you are going to take your pet on the road with you, there are many things you have to keep in mind. Is your pet small enough to fit inside the trailer with you or is it an outdoors pet? Will traveling make your pet sick? Can you afford to maintain your pet while traveling? Will you be able to deal with the smell? The answers to these questions may seem immediately obvious to you but they should each be considered carefully. Standard pets such as cats and dogs are relatively easy to take on the road but what about birds, reptiles, and fish? I just so happen to have dealt with all of these, and I have a few words of advice.
Okay… well, if you can’t stand to part with your fantail goldfish then go for it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Fish are among the easiest pets to care for while in the home, but among the hardest to care for while on the road. Sure, they are low maintenance, but the constant traveling makes them a hassle and is quite dangerous for them. You can’t exactly run the water pump in a fish tank while driving because there is no electricity so, the water does not get oxygenated. You also have to be sure to secure the tank because, driving along bumpy roads, the water in the tank always sloshes and splashes (which can also be pretty traumatic for the fish). It is, over all, difficult and dangerous for a fish to be on the road. I strongly recommend against it.
Reptiles are another low maintenance pet, but like fish you have to be careful while taking them on the road. We had an iguana that gave us quite a few scares. They slow down in cold weather and (a lot of times) look nearly dead. Heating pads and rocks are a good counter but, again, without electricity they are useless. You can keep them in the trailer with you, but this doesn’t do much to keep them warm while driving. If you must have your reptile with you, be sure to take it during the summer season when they are at less risk.
They are cute, they are colorful, they are a pain! Birds look gorgeous in their nice little cages hanging inside of a home but when they are crammed into a trailer it is easier to notice the smell, the scattered seeds, and the droppings strewn all over the newspaper lining the cage. Birds don’t necessarily like traveling and they will tell you so in the loudest screech they can muster. There’s also the smelly water dishes, the poopy newspaper, the talon and wing clipping; all jobs that are significantly easier in a spacious home than in a cramped trailer. I wouldn’t recommend taking birds on the road.
I’d recommend sticking with cats and dogs. Even though they too are a hassle, it’s usually worth it for the companionship and unconditional love they offer. Oh, and one more thing… SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS! The last thing you want while driving down I-90 is a litter of anything being born. ■