Let me cut to the chase…at the end of 2017 we stopped RV’ing and have sold both our Vilano 5th Wheel RV and our RAM 3500 dually truck. The why of stopping requires a little background.
While we were planning our RV lifestyle adventure in late 2014 we knew its success and longevity was dependent upon a number of factors. One of which was how well our four-legged family member, Maggie, would adapt. We had cause to worry because Maggie has always been shy and nervous and as a pup would easily get car/motion sickness.
Nevertheless, Maggie handled our travels in 2015 and most of 2016 fairly well. But in the latter part of 2016 things started going sideways for Maggie. She began experiencing panic attacks when exposed to loud noises like thunder, firecrackers, gunshots, highway lane strips and high winds, as well as nuts, sticks and pinecones falling on the top of our 5th Wheel. I will agree with her that anything falling on the roof of our 5th Wheel sounded like gunshots. But then her anxieties included trips in the truck. She would become so anxious that she was pacing in the back seat of the truck. Even a quick trip with her to the grocery store became difficult.
After trying almost every calming device and concoction we could find we conferred with our Vet and started Maggie on a daily dose of Xanax. The Xanax helps with her perception of reality but it didn’t eliminate the panic attacks.
In 2017 we altered and restricted our travels in hopes of making things easier for Maggie. We wanted to see if traveling shorter distances and staying longer in each location might regain some overall “calmness.” It didn’t.
Bonnie and I spent so much of 2017 discussing what we were going to do. Perhaps if she was a 15 lb lap dog it wouldn’t have been as big of an issue. But as a 70 lb and very strong hound, her anxiety was becoming a strain for all of us, especially those days when we were confined due to inclement weather. There aren’t a lot of places for a 70 lb dog to hide in an RV so she would pace and cry and try to hide behind or under any and everything. It made for some very stressful days for all of us.
Now those who don’t have dogs or who don’t love dogs may not understand our decision to stop. All I’ll say is Maggie’s a beloved family member and with her suffering Bonnie and I couldn’t enjoy or live the RV lifestyle the way we wanted and our commitment to Maggie had to come first.
So where from here? At our age we’re certain we don’t care to own another home. For at least a while we’ll spend time renting near family and friends while investigating our other options. Our three year RV experience was wonderful and changed how we look at life and those things important to us. We enjoyed the simplicity and minimalist aspects of that lifestyle and will continue to embrace that simplicity no matter where or how we end up. As for Maggie….she’s adjusting to our stick and brick structure. There are different noises for her to get use to but rain, wind, trees and pinecones are no longer looming monsters for her. We are all sleeping a little better.