Emma and I are lucky to share our adventure with one of the sweetest creatures ever, our smooth Collie named Tikka. She is so sweet and so gentle and so sensitive and so very afraid of riding in vehicles. We had hoped that perhaps this trip would help her adjust, but it is becoming clear that she will probably never like being in a van, or car, or moving vehicle of any variety.

Tikka loves Vanna when at a stand-still. Vanna offers her a home, and warmth, and a lovely suede dog bed. Vanna provides scrumptious dog treats, alluring scents from the stove at dinnertime, and many opportunities for snuggles. Vanna even transports her to places she LOVES where she can roam, meet dog friends, and enjoy sunsets. But, once the engine revs, Tikka starts to tremble. Once we start moving, she looks at me, eyes wide with fear, mouth open with drool forming at the tip of her lower jaw, begging me to keep her safe. On a good day, she will just pant excessively. On a bad day, she will scream at the top of her lungs (imagine the squeal of a guinea pig, but LOUDER, and in rapid succession). It’s really a lovely backdrop to any ride. Then, occasionally, she just lies down in her bed and seems at peace.

Moments of calm are either due to liberal dosing of Rescue Remedy prior to departure or as a result of some coaching from dog friends who enjoy cars. Recently, Tikka and Buddy (see picture below) went for a ride together. Buddy fell asleep the minute the vehicle pulled out of the driveway and after a few minutes of panting and standing over him, Tikka settled down alongside him for a “peaceful” ride.

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On any given day, Tikka is also afraid of children, hard wood floors, cats, loud noises and stairs. It’s fair to say that she suffers from general anxiety, and Emma believes she may even be autistic. Thankfully, she gets much love from us and friends in the destinations we visit. Suffice to say, Tikka will stay with Emma’s parents in Westfield, MA when we head south for our second month of adventuring. There is only so much, after all, that one can demand from a smooth Collie.