The Ingredients for the Perfect Trucker Dog
When choosing a dog to tag along in your truck, keep in mind the space limitations in your truck cabin. While trucking companies have varying restrictions on weight limits or breeds, most suggest choosing a dog that is no bigger than 50 pounds. Medium to small-sized breeds allow for plenty of room for you and your dog, plus a little extra space for food and water dishes to sit on the floor.
With dogs comes lots of fur, so go for a short-coated friend—think bulldogs, pitbulls, and boxers. Sure, they’ll shed a bit, but their little hairs are much more manageable. Plus, you won’t have to worry about lint rolling your entire truck after each trip.
Lastly, opt for a dog that doesn’t require a lot of exercise. Older dogs and lazy dogs are perfect for the trucker lifestyle because they are content with sitting for long periods of time. No matter the dog you choose, remember to give him/her a chance to walk around at each rest stop. But, driving will be much easier if your dog isn’t constantly begging to play fetch. Plus, older shelter dogs typically have a harder time finding homes, so let one join you on the road! You won’t have to worry about potty-training, or puppy energy.
After you choose your trucking canine companion, it’s time to dog-proof your truck.
- When training your dog for the trucking lifestyle, create a barrier between your pup and your pedals. When he/she gets used to the environment, you can remove the barrier. But, until then, make the clutch and brakes off limits.
- Make his/her space roomy and safe. If you opt for a smaller dog, make sure he/she can’t get stuck or pinched under the seat. Check out Trucking Truth‘s tips on how to ride safely with your pup!
- Store chewable items like medicine, food, or trash in compartments and out of your dog’s reach.
- Always have plenty of fresh water available. Keep a semi-full water dish on the floor of your truck, so your companion can drink whenever he/she pleases. Hot days and long trips will make your dog just as thirsty as you
Your dog will get used to your trucking lifestyle in no time. But, don’t forget to bring along his/her necessary belongings, too!
- Remember to always have a leash handy and use it at every rest stop. Trucker dogs get used to the noises of traffic and loud trucks, so using a leash ensures that your pup is safe and close by at all times.
- Vaccination records, CVI, and other necessary paperwork are important to always keep in your truck. Most companies require at least proof of rabies vaccination and tags.
- Bring enough food and treats to keep your pup full and happy for a couple weeks. Keep in mind how long you will be on the road, while taking weather delays and breakdowns into consideration just in case.
- Accidents happen, and it’s okay. Keep some extra cleaning supplies and air fresheners around so you can easily tidy up your dog’s space.
Dog saves truckers life
Roady, a handsome trucking Rottweiler, wasn’t getting much sleep.
Every night he stood guard over his owner, Tim Blevins, waiting for him to stop breathing. Blevins, a trucker from Cleveland, Okla., didn’t know he had severe sleep apnea, but several times a night Roady jammed his wet nose into Blevins’ face, startling the breath back into his lungs. When Blevins finally told his doctor about the nightly episodes, the doctor diagnosed sleep apnea and said Roady probably saved his life. “I had no idea what was going on, but Roady knew it wasn’t right,” Blevins says.
Roady, a trucking Rotweiller, dons cool shades. Tim Blevins’ owner of Roady, believes his pet saved his life.
He got fitted with a CPAP machine and Roady finally got some rest. Today, Roady is mostly retired from the road, but Blevins still calls home just to talk to his companion. They are planning one last road trip this summer and Blevins can hardly bear to think about it as a final chapter in their trucking days. “It’s hard to explain, but Roady, he’s not really a dog. Not to me anyways,” says Blevins.
Please take my picture
The long, winding road to Snickers
Despite her boss’s great advice, Karen faced some challenges in finding the perfect cat for her.
One of Karyn’s favorite stops along her route to California is at the PetSmart® store in Peru, Illinois. She enjoys visiting with the friendly associates and the adoptable pets.
During one visit, her eyes were drawn to a black female cat. But when the group’s volunteer found out that she was looking for a cat to travel with, she told Karyn that she wasn’t qualified to adopt any cats.
“I was heartbroken,” Karyn said. “I’ve had many adopted cats throughout my life, but because my home was a truck it wasn’t considered to be a good one. That really hurt.”
The PetSmart manager saw Karyn’s disappointment and suggested that she talk with another adoption partner: Safe House Animal Rescue. They all worked together to find a cat who would be a good fit for Karyn and her truck: Snickers. He jumped right into her lap, and shortly after, Snickers became a trucking cat.
“He’s very adaptable,” Karyn said. “When I took him out to the truck he was like, ‘Okay, this is cool. I got my own bed.’ Nothing really phases that cat.”
Snickers is a daytime sleeper, and particularly enjoys napping on the truck’s dashboard, paws up. Karyn’s fellow truckers think this is hilarious, and often come to check him out. Silly Snickers helps Karyn meet a lot of new people this way.
“The noise from the other trucks and other people don’t bother him,” Karyn said. “All he cares about is he’s at home, he’s with his mom and he’s loved. This is his home on wheels.”
A house on wheels isn’t
a home — without two cats
Snickers was such a successful trucking cat that Karyn didn’t hesitate to welcome another cat in need when he crossed her path.
One night, Karyn and several other truckers found a box of kittens at a truck stop in Ontario, California. They all took a cat or 2 and promised to find each a forever home. Karen ended up with 2 kittens named BamBam and Pebbles. Pebbles soon found her forever home with a friend, but BamBam stuck around and became another trucking cat.
“The only life he knows is in that truck,” Karyn said. “And he loves it. He’s like a little kid — very active, and all over that truck all the time.”
Unlike his brother, Snickers, who sleeps during the day and plays at night, BamBam is an early bird.
“He’s the alarm clock,” Karyn said. “You do not go past 7 a.m. Eastern time — no matter what time zone you’re in — without feeding BamBam. He’ll meow, nibble my fingers, bite my nose — anything to get my attention. Plus, he likes to blow raspberries at dogs. He’s just a big tease and a flirt
Keep those stories and pictures rolling in as you are rolling down the road.
Those furry friends are what makes things easier to take when things get rough.
Stuck at the dock waiting to get unloaded? You know that little face looking up at you makes the wait easier.
Let the world know you think they are special.
Truckers with Dogs
Read an interesting story the other day about a trucker who's dog ran away while he was at a truck stop. Seems he called his dispatcher and said he'd be delayed a bit cuz his dog ran away and he had to find him. The understanding dispatcher said he could find his dog later or look for another job, so the poor guy left his dog and put a cry out for help on his CB. The local community got wind of the story and responded. They located the lost pooch and he was reunited with his owner in about a week. The story was a bit of a “tear jerker”, but I understand as I have a pooch that with me constantly who is a dedicated and loyal companion. Unlike my wife who I love dearly, Lulu never gets pissed at anything I do – although she does get a puzzled look on her face from time to time