A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Feb. 20, 2005 — A reader of this blog emailed me, “As much as you appear to love dogs, I was wondering why you didn’t bring yours? Is it too difficult to bring them into Mexico, or just too hard due to uncertain camping conditions? How did you get a house sitter? We might do that, if we don’t take the dogs with us.”

It was an easy choice for us not to take a dog because we don’t have a dog who is a really good traveler. If we had had one, we might have taken him or her along with us. Certainly a lot of people do. When we stayed recently at the La Fiesta campground in San Miguel de Allende, it seemed that almost everyone had a dog or two. I enjoyed that, as I got in some great dog cuddles with the dogs we were camped next to.

But there are good reasons to leave the dog(s) at home. It really depends on what your trip is for. If it’s a vacation and you will easily make time to be sure the dog gets plenty of walks and regular attention (including not leaving it in a vehicle that could heat up), that’s one thing. But we knew we would sometimes be away from our motorhome for most of a day, and that at other times the 21-foot length of our small rig would be rather crowded with a dog or two around and us trying to concentrate on the computer. (When we eventually get another dog, whenever that is, I am thinking small.)

UPDATE:  Umm, we got a Rottweiler.

Another factor is that many parts of Mexico are full of street dogs, either strays or more-or-less loosely owned by someone. The health and behavior of these dogs can be dubious. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of them bit Kelly (luckily so lightly that it only hurt his trousers). Another camper told us a story of a loose Rottweiler trying to attack his dog. I would not find it enjoyable to be walking a dog in areas where various unpleasant dog encounters were a possibility. Leaving the dog in the campground isn’t an ideal answer either.

Admittedly I am more concerned about this sort of thing than many dog owners. I was rather surprised at how oblivous of the risks some dog owners were. In one campground, two very friendly dogs were being loosely supervised but the owners became much more attentive after both dogs’ collars disappeared. Everyone’s best guess was that someone had taken the collars off, not that they had somehow come off by themselves.

I’m also a little queasy about what my dog might be eating or putting its nose or mouth on (especially thinking of street dogs’ droppings), so if I do travel with a dog in Mexico in the future, I would be more vigilant and I would wash my hands more than I do now.

It’s easy to take a dog into Mexico — there may be some regulations but I’ve not heard of any travelers who were asked to provide any kind of papers. To get your dog back in the U.S., you need proof of a rabies shot within the last 30 days. Again, I don’t know how often you need to produce those papers, but I do know of people who have adopted Mexican dogs and easily brought them back to the U.S. Seems like I read somewhere that the pet has to be in okay health, not carrying a contagious disease.

There are plenty of veterinarians in Mexico, so if your dog should need care, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

We leave our cats at home (though people tell me that cats who are accustomed to it from a youngish age adapt easily to travel) and thus we need some sort of pet care while we are gone. We’ve usually found a friend to live in our house while we are gone, and that’s our situation now. Once in a while we’ve paid a petsitter, but that can add up fast.

There are plenty of good reasons to take your dogs along in an RV. They are part of your family, and I surely miss mine on this long trip. A barking dog can provide a real deterrent to theft. It’s really a personal decision, and one that may be different from one trip to another.

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