On September 19, 2009, I cried as I said goodbye to Chewy and Abby.  Chewy pranced around me, licking my chek with his sloppy wet tongue, his stump of a Cocker Spaniel tail wagging against me, thinking I was going to take him with us.  Abby, on the other hand, understood.  She stood on my lap, refusing to let me stand, and kissed me softly and gently.  I told her that Patrick and I were taking a trip of a lifetime, something we had always wanted to do.  We flew that day to Sydney, Australia, and spent 2 1/2 months in Australia and New Zealand.  We came back home, flung ourselves into their arms though they hesitated to give us their affection at first, wondering why we had left them for so long. 

We left again . . . to go to Southeast Asia . . . to China and Japan . . . and to Southern Africa.  We visited places we had dreamed of while thumbing through the yellow covers of National Geographics.  We thrilled to the call of the open road and the freedom to experience the world in more than the two-week spurts we were used to in our careers.  But, every day we spent away from our dogs was another day missed from their all-too-short lives.  We used to call my parents using Skype every three days to check in on them but, it wasn't enough.   Though we wanted to be permanent travelers, we did not want to be permanently separated from our pups.

Chewy and Abby at Hilton Head

Chewy and Abby in Hilton Head, South Carolina

And, then, we came to a realization.  Why did long-term travel mean living without our dogs?  Why couldn't we take Chewy and Abby with us on the road?  Why couldn't Chewy explore Tuscan markets with us and why couldn't Abby run through the fields of the Connemara?  We started planning, researching, and investigating our options and, in February 2011, started out on a whole new adventure: two humans, two canines, one SUV, and two continents. 

As with so many of our actions in the last two years, we didn't plan to launch a new blog . . . The Road Forks keeps me busy enough, as it is.  But, we have quickly come to realize that there aren't a whole lot of people traveling with medium-sized dogs and, as far as we can tell, there is no one currently on the Internet planning a trans-continental trip with two dogs.  (And, if you know of someone else doing this, please let me know because I would love to talk to them).  Thus, this site, The Road Unleashed was born.

We want this site to be a personal chronicle of our successes and (hopefully few!) trials, but we also want it to be a resource to help other people venture out into the open road with their canine companions.  You can expect to find posts about:

  • Sit/Tips and Tricks: Suggestions for how to travel with pets, including visas, vaccination issues, helpful gear and useful websites.
  • Heel/Places: Straight-up reviews of pet-friendly cities, restaurants, hotels, parks, and attractions.
  • Wag/Inspiration: Stories from other pet-loving travelers
  • Look/Candid Canine:  Photography of our favorite traveling pups and other pups on the road.

We hope that you will enjoy traveling (virtually) with Chewy and Abby as they journey across the United States and Europe with their tails high in the air and noses to the ground.  We're the ones behind them, holding their leashes, grinning like fools, and entirely ecstatic that we get to share this crazy, wonderful world with them.

04/18/2011 10:40
Its a great thought and all your efforts behind it so far is quite neat.
wish you great success in this journey.
Tara's recent blog post: My Garden Beautiful!
04/18/2011 10:50
I love this!!! We do not have pets right now that we're starting our trip but we can't imagine not having furry animals around when we get back and we'd definitely want to travel with them.

Love the design too. Good job, guys!
jill - Jack and Jill Travel's recent blog post: Build A South America Itinerary
04/19/2011 14:59
Thanks Jill! Our designer, Designer Blogs, is awesome! I highly recommend them if you ever consider redesigning your site. :)
04/18/2011 11:08
Clever and original idea! I'm really looking forward to seeing what you'll do with this...
Denise's recent blog post: Budapest my love
04/19/2011 14:59
Thanks so much Denise! We're really excited about this new project and already have lots to share.
04/18/2011 12:27
I cried when I read this! I've been getting more and more frustrated over the last couple of years because I thought that my dog was stopping me from travelling as much as I would like. The only way I could afford to travel would be to put stuff into storage so there is no rent to pay. I have left Trixy for up to 3 months in the past, but she's getting on now. She had a health scare a few weeks back, but she's bounced back, and at 10 she's acting like a puppy again. I am beyond curious about how I might be able to travel with her! You cannot imagine how much I am looking forward to reading your new blog! Lots and lots of luck with it.
04/19/2011 15:01
Oh Linda, I feel your pain. Chewy's 10, too, and that's the age where we just realized we don't want to be away from him any more. I hope that you're able to get some insights from us because we've found traveling with our dogs to be much easier and more rewarding than we ever expected. We wish we had started traveling with them many years ago.
04/23/2011 15:34
This is amazing! Subscribed! Can't wait to read tips on traveling with Ella. Adorable design, too, as always.
Camels & Chocolate's recent blog post: Photo Friday: Hapuna Beach, Hawaii
04/27/2011 18:28
Aw thanks Kristin! :) We're loving traveling through the South with our dogs and I know Ella will, too.
04/27/2011 18:28
Aw thanks Kristin! :) We're loving traveling through the South with our dogs and I know Ella will, too.
07/16/2011 18:09
We found your blog while searching for a pet-friendly place to stay in Asheville, NC. There isn't another site like this. We know! We've been traveling with our dogs for awhile now & always had to do our own research. Keep up the great work! We're working on living your lifestyle soon :)
08/18/2011 12:28
Aw, thank you June! I so appreciate your comment because we know how hard it is to find pet-friendly accommodation.
Akila's recent blog post: south africa: the low-down
07/25/2013 22:16
I am leaving in a few weeks for Switzerland and running around getting things ready for my Jack Russell. I have completed the hoops for Switzerland, but not sure what all I need to return to the USA. I have someone helping me that my vet recommended. I didn't see this part in your otherwise very useful blog. Did you ever encounter problem coming back into the USA? Thank you
08/07/2013 17:01
Nicki, We had no problems at all in returning to the United States! The customs agents barely looked at our documentation, actually. I'm going to be writing about our return to the U.S. very shortly so hopefully that post will help you out!
08/07/2013 17:10
Oh thank you very much "The Road Forks".
Yes, actually my biggest concerns were getting Shyla back into the States, but apparently it isn't that difficult. I made an appointment already for the vet in Switzerland so all should go well.

Thank you for letting me know, it eases my mind.
08/29/2015 22:18
Hi there!! My husband and I are playing around with the idea of traveling around the world for a couple of years with and maybe without our dogs. I'd love to get some advice from you -

When you first did your trip to Australia/New Zeland what did you do with your dogs? Board them, have a friend/family member watch them?

Do you guys have a place of permanent residency in the US while you're traveling for long period of times?

Thanks so much for taking the time to blog about your adventures! Traveling around the world especially with dogs seems so unheard of, so it feels crazy for us to even consider! Glad we're not alone! :)
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Akila writes. Patrick takes photos. Chewy eats. Abby runs. We live, love, and travel in this world.
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Chewy's Silver Screen Soiree
Chewy turns ten and we celebrate with a walk on the red carpet.
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Green forests and super-high waterfalls. Chewy and Abby gave the North Georgia mountains four paws up.