Packing the Pooch

Best fishing buddies.
Best fishing buddies.

Most of our holidays over the years have involved taking the dog too. In fact a lot of times it’s the deciding factor in where to go for holidays. Is it dog friendly? Can you have a fire? Is it close to the water? Does it have a view? Walking distance to town / food / pub? All of those questions come in to play when we are looking for the next destination, but the dog one is a biggie, after all they are part of the family. Of course they have to be on leash at all times in caravan parks and not making a nuisance of themselves and ALWAYS clean up after them.

Our dogs have all been kelpies, we’ve found them to be extremely intelligent and well behaved, they’ve rarely barked, loved the great outdoors and a run on the beach and are absolutely no problem on holidays. They are also very friendly with other dogs, adults and children and have great personalities.

We got our first black kelpie Ned before we had children and he was an incredibly intelligent dog, probably because we spent so much time with him. He came beach camping and loved a good run on the beach.  Like a lot of kelpies he was ball mad but would chase anything thrown for him; stick, pinecone, leaf, you name it. He was still around when our children were born and was so tolerant to toddlers even when being poked and prodded and laid on. Ned lived to the age of 13.

Our second kelpie, Jack, looked very much like Ned even though we weren’t after one the same colour as the last.  He was the one that was drawn to us including the children, by then around 5 and 7 years old.  Jack was full of energy, always up for a game and really took to holidays well.  He loved caravanning and holidays by the beach.  Although a little bit worried about waves to start with he eventually loved swimming and often surprised other people in the water when they noticed him out with the family enjoying a game of fetch the tennis ball. He loved nothing more than digging giant holes in the sand and burying his head, then having long sleeps in the annexe all sandy, salty and tired. Jack was great company for our kids throughout their childhood and teenage years and we sadly said goodbye to him at close to 14 years old.Beach dog Jack Kelpie

We now have our third kelpie! His name is Neo and we rescued him around 2 years ago having found him through Australian Working Dog Rescue Inc. (AWDRI) We were looking for another kelpie when I came across this rescue group and as soon as we saw his face we were gone. It was the first time that I even found out that kelpies came in cream colour. He looked so much like a dingo, it was love at first sight for all of us. He was around 1 year old when we adopted him and he has the slight disability of having nerve damage starting from his spine and his hind quarters and a lot of muscle wastage in this back legs. He gets around just fine though, but for people seeing him for the first time his limping gait and wobbly looking back left leg can be a bit alarming.  The problem is that his brain is all kelpie and he still wants to run until he drops if we’d let him.  We have to hold him back from that much exercise though and encourage him to have long walks and swimming instead.

His colouring is quite a head turner and I wish we had a dollar for everyone who has asked “is that a dingo?” Mind you that was exactly my thought when I first saw him too. He has quite the personality and loves humans more than other dogs and women more than men. Quite a ladies man, quite a charmer. In fact we’ve had times when people are so taken by Neo that they drop by our campsite to say hi to him first then us!

Neo Kelpie

Apart from their terrific company on holidays, dogs are also great for your campsite security be it free camping or in caravan parks. Our kelpies have pretty much only barked when they’ve had a good reason to and their presence keeps the unwanted element away.

So to those caravan parks that don’t allow dogs I would say you are missing out on more than you know and to those parks that say small dogs only I have to laugh. In my experience people that want to avoid dog friendly caravan parks do so because of the little yappy, white, fluffy mixtures that bark every time a shadow goes by. Bigger dogs, under the proper controls of being on leash at all times can be an asset to holidays and family fun. Who doesn’t love seeing dogs and kids having a great time together?