Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Long Winding Road or How To Move Across the Country With Your Dog

*I am proud to share Barking from the Bayou’s first guest post. It was written by my son, Dustin Clinton and recounts his experience moving across the country. He was joined in the moving van by our BFTB Weather Lab Paisley while my husband drove their truck with our daughter-in-law and granddaughter. I hope that you enjoy his story.
A scenic view with a UHaul on the highway

We recently made a major move. A 2,301 mile move to be exact. It isn’t traveling entirely across the U.S.A., but there were a few times that it felt like it. We actually relocated from Louisiana to Northwest Washington State. I drove the moving van with Paisley, our chocolate Labrador and BFTB NETWoof News Weather Lab. We have always been best friends, but 34+ hours side by side in a U-Haul® made our bond even closer. 
Paisley knew something was up when we began packing all of our belongings. She paced around and sniffed where the couches used to sit. We all kept reassuring her that it was okay. It was important to keep her routine intact so her feeding and walking schedule stayed the same.
Cabbage Patch Pass in Oregon.
I had made this long trip the week prior to make sure the way we had mapped out would work for us. It was also a chance to drive my wife's car up to our new place so we only had my truck and the U-Haul with all of our belongings left to move. On the last night of my solo trip, I stayed at a Motel 6®. During check-in, I noticed there was a map of the property with pet areas marked. I asked about it and was told that all Motel 6 hotels are pet-friendly, with no additional charge. That makes a big difference on a five-night road trip. That night, I sat in my motel room looking at a map of Motel 6 locations. It was going to be possible to travel to an area with a Motel 6 the entire way. Finding a hotel for Paisley to stay was no longer a problem.
Cab of UHaul piled high with blankets and pillows for Paisley the Labrador
After loading our U-Haul, the last thing to find a place was the pillows and blankets. What better place to store them than the front cab of the U-Haul so Paisley could be comfortable. This area of the truck was referred to as “the throne” by the rest of us. With blankets, pillows, Dr. Harvey’s Sweet Potate'r Chews and Coconut Smiles treats, a bowl for her water, and our Sooty Paw Paw poop bags, we hit the road. Paisley and I led the way in the U-Haul while my wife and our 5-month-old daughter rode in our truck driven by my dad. Let the adventure begin!
Paisley at a rest stop with her dad.
Paisley did great on our trip; actually sleeping most of the time. During a normal day at home Paisley goes outside in the morning, at lunch, then around 5:30 when I got home. Gas stops and restroom breaks were strategically planned around her schedule. Whenever we needed gas, I would let her out to stretch and walk around. She would take care of her business, give kisses to the rest of the family, check on baby sister Emery, and hop back on her ‘throne’ for the next leg of the journey.
Young family with dog next to UHaul moving van
The first night we stopped in Amarillo, Texas and our first Motel 6. Secretly, I was nervous about how Paisley would act in a hotel. It turns out she acts just like me as a kid, jumping from bed to bed and having a great time. She really wanted to jump in the swimming pool, but I talked her out of it. We took her on a couple of walks each evening in the designated pet areas. It was great that there were poop bags available and trash cans to dispose of the pet waste.
Chocolate Lab lying with baby
By our third night on the road, Paisley was getting comfortable with hotel living. Then we threw her a curveball.  We stayed at a Motel 6 in Idaho that was really nice. We actually had to park our U-Haul across the street in a Home Depot parking lot and walk to the hotel. It was much larger than the previous locations and we were on the third floor. We had driven about 14 hours this particular day and we were all exhausted. Even Paisley limited her outside time and was ready for a nice sleep. She did enjoy taking the stairs to burn a little energy.
Young family making the journey to their new home
On our last night, we stayed about 2 hours from our new home so we could rest and get there early and start unpacking. We were all ready to arrive. I couldn’t help but wonder if Paisley thought this was going to be our new life; staying in a different place each night. She really loved it and made the trip much more fun for me. At first, I could look into her eyes and tell she was super confused.  I reassured her the whole way that she was going to love where we were going and she seemed to understand that it would be okay. That’s one of the best things about dogs, they trust us 100%.
Man and his dog walking in Washington
When we arrived at our new place, we all went inside to check it out. She gave it the ultimate Labrador sniff down. One of the last things to come out of our U-Haul were our couches a.k.a. Paisley’s normal throne.  When we finally got those inside, Paisley visibly relaxed. She knew that we now had a new home.  
Paisley the Lab at her new dog park
We are quickly getting settled while Paisley still investigates everything that we unbox. She has gotten over the fact that we do not have a backyard right now and loves being able to go to the fenced, off-leash dog park to play! We didn’t have dog parks in our hometown. Of course, we all take a long walk to discover our new community. It is so nice to have arrived in time to enjoy autumn.
Overall, our moving experience was great. I have to say that Motel 6 was really a terrific place to stay. We knew what to expect; an affordable place that we could check in, get some rest and hit the road. They don’t have many frills, but we didn’t need them. I really love their pet policy and Paisley always felt welcome! #ThrillsNotFrills
Making Paisley comfortable with all of her pillows and blankets really helped during the long ride. She joins me in my truck regularly, but after a while, a regular seat isn’t enough to get comfortable. Paisley is all about being comfortable. Piling pillows from the floor to seat level made it easy for her to stretch out.
Young family walking in the lovely autumn colors
This is a new adventure for our young family and we are embracing the change. Having a great friend like Paisley on the journey makes life even better.
*There was no compensation for mentioning Motel 6. It is the hotel that we chose and were very happy with their accommodations.
**You can save 10% on Dr. Harvey's with our code BFTBLOVE16
***You can follow Dustin’s blog; Becoming A Doer. It is currently a work in progress but you can expect some great things. Not only has he moved, but he has also become a new father and lost over 100 pounds! He is such an inspiration and I am so proud that he is my son.
Follow Dustin on social media ☺


  1. how great bthat you found a super howltel and the whole journey was a good trip for you all. It's good when howltels welcome people&pets and you haven't to deal with restrictions, eggs-tras & co. And it's super great that you have a dog park next to your new home, so Paisley can meet a lot of friends there .... the mama sings the way to amarillo in my ear the whole time... she is so silly...

  2. What an exciting journey! So glad you guys made it safely!

  3. We love this story! Well done, Dustin! And well done, Paisley! That was a courageous move. Mom and I wish you lots of happiness in your new home!

    Love and licks,

  4. Great post. At least you didn't have to fly. Moving over the ocean is not a lot of fun, but I guess it was faster than your drive. Enjoy your new home!

  5. Congrats to your son and his family on making the trek across the country. Very thoughtful post and well planned trip . No doubt, he'll become as terrific a blogger as his mum! The PNW is a terrific place for raising a family and we wish them loads of happiness. ღ

  6. Cookie's mum here: I made that cross country trip (Connecticut to Az) a couple of times when I relocated back in 2002 -- and a couple of times later. I did not have a dog at the time, but did have three cats. My cats stayed with a friend in Indiana for a couple of weeks. My hotel of choice has always been Motel 6 -- even without animals, it is the best value for money. My recent stay during my move was the Ramada -- it was not really pet friendly but cos my animals are service/companion/therapy animals, I did not have a problem. Congrats on your move -- we look forward to your blog.

    ttfn and toodle pip
    Cookie's mum

  7. What a wonderful trip and all went well! Me and Stanley sleep the whole time too. Your son is really making some wonderful changes!!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  8. What a trip! It's great that there are so many more pet friendly hotels and spots available. Glad all went well, Dustin.

  9. You are well prepared friend
    Lily & Edward

  10. A great post. It is certainly interesting and fun to travel with animals. Hope they all enjoy their new home!

  11. What a terrific post!! Our very best wishes to your son and family...we truly enjoyed reading about the adventure...very well written!

  12. Thanks for sharing your love with us. So glad it went so well and beautiful pictures.,

  13. Great Guest Post! I'm sure it will help a lot of people, it seems everyone is moving these days!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them


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