View Full Version : Leaving a pet behind?

White Oak
09-26-2004, 17:24
I have the same concern as the thread started by sprocket, only it's a pet that I'll have to leave behind when I go on a month-long section hike next summer. I've left her for week long hikes, with a sitter she's familiar with, but when I return it seem to take her a couple days to become familiar with me again. A child can intellectually understand taht daddy's out in the woods but a pet truly doesn't know what's going on and probably thinks you've abandoned her.

09-26-2004, 17:28
If it is a dog, it will be miserable until someone feed it and scratches behind it's ears. And I wouldn't be surprised that the dog was confused on your return.

If it is a cat, it really won't notice unless you have ticked it off. If that is the case, check your shoes before you put them back on.

If it is a reptile, fish or rodent - why would you bother to ask?


Jersey Bob
09-26-2004, 22:28
at least 10 characters

09-26-2004, 23:00
For months while I went off to boarding school, college, and work in the field. Dogs and tame birds miss you, and are insecure for a long time after your return, but if your relationship was close and they had reached adulthood before you left, you can pick up pretty much with them where you left off IMO.

Some perspective is needed here IMO: no matter how much you love them, or how good of pets they are, we are talking about ANIMALS. No pet would keep me from my thru-hike.

Don't forget the possibility of bringing a pet along on your thru-hike. Although there are definite disadvantages to doing so (previously discussed at length on WB), if I felt the choice was between going with a pet and not going, I'd go with the pet. Dogs go with people all the time, and some guy took a CAT with him (riding atop his pack, I think). I've wondered what the reaction from other hikers and townies would be, were I the first thru-hiker to haul a cockatiel along...

White Oak
09-27-2004, 11:36
I have a turtle. Her name is Karen.

Magic City
09-27-2004, 19:50
I've got five cats. No, I didn't choose to have five cats. I just got busy and didn't get my one cat spayed in time and, well, that gave me three. Then, before my wife and I moved to Maine from Texas, we decided to take a stray that we'd been feeding and putting up on the rare cold Texas night. Little did we know that she was pregnant. We gave them all away, but one came back, giving us five. The oldest is fourteen, the youngest four.

I don't know for sure that they're going to miss me, but I know that I'm going to miss them, and I think it'll be recipricol; although they probably won't have even the slightest idea who I am when I get in.

Pencil Pusher
09-27-2004, 20:53
A turtle has emotions for humans? Does she lick your hand or cry when you're gone? Just wondering how a turtle could act differently, they seem to just plod along s-l-o-w-l-y.

10-06-2004, 15:57
Be very very careful w/ your gear when you come back from your section. I once came back from a month long business trip and my dog peed in my open suitcase while I was downstairs and chewed up some clothes. She wanted me to know she REALLY didn't like being left. It took 2 days before she was my buddy again. The suitcase hit the garbage. It was a softsided unstructured rucksack type - but even after washing the smell never went away.

10-07-2004, 00:15
I have 5 cats: 1 misses me when I'm gone, if more than about 24 hrs, acts like I abandoned her or died, the other 4 say "feed me" when I get home, no matter how long I'm gone. Should have seen #1 after my last 2 week hike.
I have 4 rats: 2 miss me, extra affectionate if I don't play with them daily, not been gone more than 4 days since they moved in.
The fish & turtle are happy as long as I feed them.

All 11 have the other members of my family to care for them when I'm gone, so I am a poor test subject I suppose. EGAD, I have ELEVEN pets :o

So, get someone who your pet is familure with, or several friends / family to keep an eye on your pet & hope for the best. The pet will adapt to you being gone, and will adapt to your return.

Doctari. (with 11 pets, my trail name fits don't it)

01-19-2006, 19:38
Hi all - I have two dogs and two cats that will need to have a sitter or get boarded while I am thru-hiking this summer. I can't fathom boarding them, aka farming them out, to different people.

I am seriously considering working through a pet group of some sort OR the school where I teach P/T (adult learners, massage school) to offer my home rent-free (but they'd pay utilities) for the six months I am gone in exchange for that person caring for my pets in their home. My dogs come to work with me and know my staff and all my neighbors, and I know they'd come by to say hello from time to time to keep 'em happy.

What have other singletons that thru-hike done with multiple pets that works? :-? Thanks for any ideas... Sue

01-19-2006, 19:46
I've got five cats. I don't know for sure that they're going to miss me, but I know that I'm going to miss them, and I think it'll be recipricol; although they probably won't have even the slightest idea who I am when I get in.
We've got 2 cats that belong to my wife. They are totally HER cats and do not even ackowledge my existence under normal cirmumstances. My wife was on the trail for 6 months in 2001. I hiked along with her for a month and we had someone watch them. When I got back and became their sole caregiver you would have thought they had been mine. Couldn't shake them off. That proved to me that cats adjust and bond with just about anyone who feeds them and doesn't abuse them.

Funny thing though ...when she got back home from her hike the cats actually hissed at her and hid behind me. Guess that was their way of letting her know that she had pissed them off. Of course that wore off fast and again they bonded with her. I am once again just the husband of someone who owns 2 cats, unless I happen to be the one who is feeding them at the moment.

I would say that you will miss the cats much more than they will miss you as long as there is someone to check in on and talk to them and of course ...to feed them.


01-19-2006, 21:53
I have a turtle. Her name is Karen.

I don't know if you were trying to be funny or not, and I apologize if I offend you( I'm an animal lover, too )but I almost split my sides laughing! It sounded like something from Monty Python!

01-19-2006, 23:26
I don't know if you were trying to be funny or not, and I apologize if I offend you( I'm an animal lover, too )but I almost split my sides laughing! It sounded like something from Monty Python!

A moose bit my sister once...

01-24-2006, 04:45
I'm in a big delimma too. My parents' german shepherd is my best bud, but she has hip problems. Some days she is fine, but other days she limps around a lot. We walk 5 or 10 miles just about every weekend (only on weekends 'cuz my parents live 3 hours away). she never has a problem on our walks but we live in the low country of south carolina and it is very very flat. My parents were happy when I said I was going to take her along, because they know how much we enjoy each other's company. But now, I'm thinking about backing out of bringing her along. I know that she would have the time of her life. On cold mornings she is like a puppy and all energy and excitement, just over the prospect of a walk around the neighborhood. She never drags or whines. I think if anyone sees her limping they would think that I am a horrible person for bringing her along. Also, I don't know if she could handle the mountains well. I've been considering having her hike through Ga with me and then dropping her off in NC (both an easy drive for my parents).

Any advice at all is very deeply appreciated.

01-24-2006, 09:33
I have a turtle. Her name is Karen. I have a sister. Her name is Karen, too.

01-24-2006, 09:39
LEAVE YOUR PETS AT HOME!!!! Lots of hot posts covering dogs here on WB. I have a big dog and he'll never see a white blaze, not even for a few days. It's just inconsiderate to others as well as to the wildlife, to take one.

01-24-2006, 13:03
Well, this thread bears out some of the the advice I was given by a wise hiker many moons ago. He told me the Big Three things people LOVE to argue about on or off the hike are:

1) dogs on the trail
2) hiking naked
3) coffee methods

As far as I am concerned?

1) pros and cons ( I willnot be bringing my dogs or cats..
2) just say no. I'll worry about your poison ivy and that is an image I do not need, no matter WHO you are!
3) all coffee methoda are good in my book!

:sun Sue

01-24-2006, 13:41
I have a turtle. Her name is Karen.
I used to work with a woman named Karen. I'd take a turtle anytime.