About three years ago I was bicycling solo from Fairbanks, Alaska to Mexico when I decided I needed a companion. I started looking on coffee shop bulletin boards, at local animal shelters, and finally online. I found Lil’ Bit outside of Seattle at a friendly little home with two Dachshunds that had recently had a litter. At five pounds he fit perfectly on the back of my bicycle and loved basking in the sun as I rode, sticking his head around my hip smiling in the 11 mile an hour breeze my legs worked hard to make. (Coincidentally I met Doug about this same time who was also bicycle touring, although not on my same route.)
When we got to San Diego Lil’ Bit could not cross the border as he was not quite old enough to get a rabies vaccination and thus could not get a passport, so we bought a big dirt bike and my side kick rode in a bag on my hip all the way back to Alaska by as many dirt roads as I could find.
Lil’ Bit is a well traveled dog that has ridden 3,000 miles on a bicycle, 6,000 miles on a motorcycle and spent the majority of his childhood camping. He has done many smaller canoe and kayak trips and loves being outside. At a full grown ten pounds he is the perfect size crew member for our trip and has the experience and positive mental attitude to make the long haul.
We were reluctant to take Lil’ Bit at first because we were unsure how happy he would be stuck on our kayaks all day long. But as our gear pile grew in the middle of the living room, Lil’ Bit seemed to notice that we were planning a trip and none of his stuff was in the pile. When we would come home after going out to run errands, Lil’ Bit would be in a frenzy of whining and crying and wiggling. As a relatively independent dog it was strange that he was refusing to leave my side. Wherever I went he would follow and curl up on my feet refusing to be out of contact with me.
Seeing this we decided that maybe he would be happier being with us…even if he was on a kayak all day. I started making a rain jacket and portable dog house for him, and threw some of his stuff in the pile, and he immediately relaxed. He detached himself from my feet, became much less stressed out when we were running errands, and right now is sitting on top of the couch looking out the window woofing at people walking their dogs.