This time, I, George get to interview Miss D and ask the questions.
Ahem! Here we go –
George: So, Darcy-warcy, it seems like you’ve travelled quite a lot in your four years. What is it about travelling that you like?
Darcy: Simply that I am with Mummy – and not left behind. Thankfully, she has always wanted to take me with her whenever she could – so travelling has always been a part of my life.
It didn’t start off with me liking it because you know I like my routines. The first few times at a busy train station or boarding any form of transportation was a bit nerve-wrecking. I was also young and curious – and I would zig-zag searching for every scrap of interesting object but there were lots of hurried feet and noisy bags on rollers that got in the way – have to watch out for them – they can be lethal! And very loud sounds.
But over time, I learnt the routines of travel and I now associate them with new adventures. I realise that at the end of each journey is a new place to explore! Some are more fun than others.
George: How do you prepare for your travels?
Darcy: Well, obviously I don’t do any of the preparations but as soon as I see the familiar pieces of luggage appears in the bedroom, I know Mummy’s about to go away. The big question is – is she leaving me behind or will I be going along with her? I watch her every move. On the day of travel – things are off routine. We usually go outside much earlier for relief and the pace quickens on every aspect of that day. I become a little anxious – still not knowing if I am going with her or not. When the buzzer on her phone goes off, letting us know that the taxi is outside, everyone jumps into action. I would start to pace in front of the door making it difficult for Mummy to put on my lead. And when she opens the door, I dash out of the door and stand outside to wait for her.
George: Why is that, Miss D?
Darcy: Well, I guess you can interpret it in two ways. One is because I know she’s leaving and I DO NOT wish to be left. And it also means we’re off on an adventure!!!!!
George: Which of your travels have you enjoyed the most?
Darcy: I love the journeys where we end up at beaches or wide open places in the countryside where I can run and explore. Sometimes the purpose of these trips are to meet friends like Charlie –Or Zavia – a very old friend who we travelled to see in Nice so we could do our doodle dash on the beaches.Some of our journeys took us to a town or a city in another country. Even though there are the three interesting new “S’s” – smells, sights, sounds, in these places I am kept on a leash. And the obligatory other “S” – SIT! as there tends to be a lot of posing for photos with iconic objects, buildings, views. I must have done thousands of these.I don’t really know much about the places we go to and it doesn’t really matter to me where we are – just as long as I am with Mummy. George: Have you a favourite beach?
Darcy: Well, we’ve been to quite a few we’ve been to. My favourite has to be St. Andrews in Scotland simply because that was my first ever beach run. We woke up very early on the first day of the new year in 2012 and went to the beach before everyone else did. We had the entire beach all to ourselves. There was no one there for miles and I ran and ran and ran for a long time. I loved the freedom, the vastness of space to run and the wind in my face. We’ve been to many others since – Tensby in Wales – special because I was there with my BFF – Little Tyke Nice in the south of France where I met up with Zavia… I do love running on the beach. I don’t run into the deep water – just to go in up to my chest. And then the other beaches near Holkham where we met up with other friends and at Sandbanks where I went for my birthday. They all have such lovely memories, every single one of them.
George: And city? Which is your favourite?
Darcy: I like visiting Dusseldorf, not quite a city, but a town! There is a fabulous Dog’s Deli that has the best things for doggies. We always stop there at least once whenever we’re there. And there, well, in all of Germany I can go off lead in the parks and I can accompany Mummy wherever she goes – all except for places where they sell food. We dine out together just about anywhereThat’s why I like going to Dusseldorf, or I am sure anywhere in Germany. They respect us pooches.
George: Where is the farthest place you’ve been?
Darcy: As of today, New York City. We had to take a very long flight. And then it took us eight days to sail back … very, very far! The journey home was like a vacation in itself. We sat out on the deck with other pooches and their owners. But the salty sea air made my coat very sticky! 🙂New York – even though I understood the language, it was still different. It was a very, very big city … I spent as much time at the top of tall buildings as I did walking on the city pavements or in their parks where we were restricted to being on leads during the day.The dogs were always hurrying along – no time to say hello.
But when I was there, I met my cousin Molly, one of my many cousins which was a plus!My other cousins live in Malaysia – and that might be not one but two oceans too far! And I’ve heard it’s very hot there. Guess I’ll never meet them though Mummy has. They lead quite different lives.
George: Do you like staying in hotels?
Darcy: Frankly, not really. Of course all the places we go to have to be dog-friendly so we feel welcomed. Some are more friendly than others! Sometimes there are plush dog beds, others, just a gesture. It doesn’t matter really as I sleep on Mummy’s bed wherever we are. Sometimes there are toys and treats that awaits us. Sometimes it’s just an empty bowl or a bowl filled with a mountain of treats that Mummy wouldn’t let me have. Very disappointing. And sometimes they bring me room service – which is highly appreciated.But to be honest I never totally feel at home in a hotel room. I keep an eye on Mummy and if she looks like she’s about to leave the room, I will be there right beside her. I don’t like being left in a strange place. But there were times when she had to and she would leave me a Kong with treats – which means she’s coming back, so I settle down and focus on my Kong.
George: What has been the worst experience for you?
Darcy: By far it has to be the flight to New York when I was separated from Mummy for more than twelve hours. I was in a crate and being pushed along in very unfamiliar surroundings. They made sure I was on a plane that had regulated temperature but I was all alone and the noise and things around me were scary. I was not happy. I was very frightened and I didn’t know if I was ever going to see Mummy again. When we finally landed it was again a long time before Mummy could get me out of cargo. Can you imagine – they labelled me as “cargo”!!!!
Mummy told me she would never do this to me again – it would have to be an absolute last resort and a necessity with no alternatives.
George: So which means of transportation do you prefer?
Darcy: The car! Because I just jump into it, take my seat in the back or sit on Mummy’s lap. There are no stations, no crowds, just get in and go. And when I am on Mummy’s lap, I get to put my head out of the window and feel the wind in my face!But Mummy doesn’t like driving long distances which is a bummer. She often said that if she had the courage to get in a car and drive, we wouldn’t be home much. 🙂 We would be driving as far as the road takes us. Some day maybe …
The train is not bad either except for the rush to board the train. People coming and going in all directions. But once on board I settle down.There’s a difference between travelling First and Second class cabins – there are more crumbs on the floor in the latter. Otherwise, it makes no difference to me. Mummy usually puts her coat on the seat next to her. She prefers that I sit on it instead of scavenging on the floor. But when we took the trains in Ireland we were never sure if we were welcomed or not. Sometimes the train conductor would be fine and sometimes they’re not, so Mummy asked me to sit quietly on her green Barbour jacket. As I was wearing mine, I was camouflaged and we borrowed Wendeline’s hat to put on me. No one knew I was even on the train. We made it through the journey – and breathed a huge sigh of relief when we got off at our destination.
I like flying – once we’re on the plane. Before that, I am not the one that gets stressed. Mummy does because you know I am a little large to be flying in cabin. But whenever she can, she would get me on. Checking-in is the most stressful part of the journey – standing in the queue …Not knowing if we will or will not get on board
We’ve had a couple of close calls when they would debate if I am too big to go in cabin. Thankfully, we’ve made it each time – so phew! When we get off at the other end, it’s a huge relief for us both. If I have a choice, I would like to fly because I am in a bag right next to Mummy the entire flight. On certain airlines I can actually come out of the bag and sit on Mummy’s lap. And she keeps giving me treats when we’re taking off or landing. I know she’s doing it to pacify me and I don’t mind one bit. Flying has it’s advantages. The airports are much cleaner and less frantic than train stations or ferries. I like walking through airports, but most the time I am carried in a bag.
Well, there are always private jets – now that would be really easy for us. We can even have our own seats and probably be given treats and no one would be giving us looks. We will be in our element.
George: It sounds like travelling can be quite stressful. If you could choose, which would you rather do – stay home or visit another unknown place?
Darcy: My choice is not so much that but rather – I want to go with Mummy. Staying home is safe and familiar but new places to explore are always more interesting and exciting. The only time when I am happy not to go with Mummy is the option to go to the House of Mutt. That I know I would be happier and I’ll let Mummy get on with her travels. I’ve stayed with lovely people who looked after me, but I am always wondering where Mummy is and would be searching for her whenever we’re out.
But when Mummy takes me, it really doesn’t matter to me where we go and how we travel as long as I am with her. And now, with you too, George. Because if we’re left in a hotel room and if we’re scared, we have each other. And it also can’t be possible for Mummy to abandon us both, can she?!?!!?
So George, you too will see a lot of the world now that you’re a part of us. Though it makes it harder for Mummy to travel with us both …… the sooner you become better at travelling, which you already are, we can explore many more places.This was our first trip altogether to Berlin. It was only a month after you came to live with us – and you did amazingly well. We had a very difficult journey with the German rails going on strike, etc, etc. And thankfully we stayed with Renate who understands dogs.Let’s see the world together, Georgie. As much as we can. Us, three.
May’s comment: At the beginning, it was because I did not like leaving Darcy behind, I took her with me everywhere whenever I could. And then I realised how much more I enjoyed travelling with her that I decided I would always try to bring her with me whenever possible. So I travel on my own for my purpose and then we go on trips together because I want to experience new places with them.
I introduced her to travel very early on – she was around five months when we went on the first train ride. It meant moving out of her comfort zone of familiar places to busy, often hectic places like train stations or airports where at one point you have to sit patiently and wait or it’s standing and waiting in line for our turn to board. And then all of a sudden, you’re rushing to board the means of transportation.
At every experience she had done really well. She handles crowds brilliantly, walks quietly by my side. She boards a train without hesitation whenever I tell her to get on. But I still wondered if she wouldn’t rather stay home and not have her routine turned upside down.
Recently a friend took her away and they had to get on a train. Mairi reported back that she was so impressed at how well Darcy handled the journey. She knew when to stop and wait and she knew how to jump on a train and sat down quietly through the journey. She seemed to also enjoy the train journey. I think by now, Darcy associates journeys with new adventures – whatever is at the other end tends to be something new to explore and more exciting than staying home. But it was interesting to get feedback from another who had never taken her on a train journey and without my cues, Darcy knew exactly what to do and comfortable doing so.