What a gut-wrenching decision to make – to take your pet on a long holiday or leave them with family or friends.  We asked Amy & Ryan from Trekking Downunder about the hard process they faced, deciding whether or not to take “Ollie” on their big lap adventure around Australia.

“To take or not to take?” This was the question.

The hard decision ‘not’ to take our Gorgeous Fur Baby on Our Big Lap around Oz.

Our family is set to shortly embark on our open-ended trip around OZ and the hardest decision we have had to face was whether we would be taking our little West Highland Terrier ’Ollie’ with us. There are so many reason’s this decision has had us in knots. Ollie has been a huge part of lives for over 9 years. Our kids Jake 8, Lucas 6 and Wade 1 absolutely adore him as they have always had him round. In a way he is our eldest.

On our first big family holiday trip to Fraser Island just under 2 years ago, when our big lap dream was born- we left our little Ollie with family and although it was hard to say goodbye for our 3 week venture, Ollie had an absolute ball. So when we sold our house and the trip really took shape, we knew we had to make the call…. “To take or not to take”. And so, the pro and con list was formed.

The pros were obvious. Like many of our mini trips over the past years, it had always been so awesome having the entire family away on holidays. Having Ollie makes bush and beach walks with the kids more fun. He sits with us at dinner, snuggles around the campfire and sleeps in the van with us, on his bed at the door- like our own little guardian. He’s such a happy, chilled out and loving smooch of a dog, who always makes you feel warm and fuzzy. So to leave him for an undermined period of time is a real strange feeling. Being without him for any period of time, is like missing out on seeing your kids grow up, so much can happen in a year or more.

But the hard parts or cons of taking a dog on an open-ended trip around Australia have a lot of merit to be considered. Our short family trips have meant shorter car rides with planned routes that can be arranged around dog friendly camping sites and tracks. But our little Ollie is 9 and pushing old man status- so extreme heat or cold, long trips in the car, difficult environmental locations/activities and even the animals of nature could all play a part in an uncomfortable experience for him, and therefore potentially for us too.

On a full lap of a lifetime where you’re itching to grab every experience to see this country that you can- the consideration of the amount of restricted areas and locations we would encounter would be incredible. Places including many National Parks, large number of camp grounds/areas and then even some caravan parks and resorts.

But probably one of the biggest factors that contributed to our decision was the consideration of incorporating a dog into the family’s daily activities. If we wish to accomplish as many experiences as we can in each place we visit, we might find undertaking opportunities such as bus tours, river cruises, theme parks days, museum tours or even beach walks, quite difficult as you could imagine.

We have been planning and prepping our trip for 22 months now and the most exciting part is knowing that whilst we are travelling we can go anywhere at anytime. So under much consideration, we as a family unit decided it would not only be best for us not to put Ollie in a potentially uncomfortable position but also for the ease and experience of the trip, we would find a furry foster family to adopt him for the duration of our lap.

Just over a month ago we were extremely lucky to have accidentally found out that our fantastic long-time family friends have been tossing the idea backwards and forwards of adopting another dog to keep their 7 year old Beagle ‘Fred’ company. Besides a gorgeous 25 acre property (which we know Ollie will absolutely love), our friends have beautiful animal loving 8 year old twins, horses, Fred the beagle, a pool, a lake and even an live-in VET student. To date, we have had some trial puppy play dates and even puppy sleep overs too, to make sure he is comfortable with his new home and that his foster family are too. These have all proven to be a huge success and Ollie is due to move in just prior to D-Day. Ollie and Fred have spent their puppy play dates lounging by the pool, sitting under the veranda, chasing each other through the grass and around the kids play equipment and walking to and from school with the kids.

There is only one thing that makes choosing to leave your beloved pet behind easier and that is finding the most perfect family and home environment, where you know that they will be looked after just as perfectly as if everything were normal and just living at home with you.

Tough call for Trekking Downunder – but a decision that can only be made from inside the family – THANK YOU so much for sharing your story! You can follow Trekking Downunder on Facebook, Instagram and on the web!

Are you planning Tassie? Check out our FREE eMag – includes a ripper article about taking your fur babies on The Spirit of Tasmania – READ HERE!