Planning a vacation can be fun, but also very stressful. Especially when there are the needs of our pets to be considered as well. For my family, going away for a vaction has never really been an option. Not only was it very expensive to take a large family away for a vacation, but in our almost 30 years of marriage, we have almost always had multiple dogs, making it even more expensive to plan for overnight stays. Today is only different in one way – fewer kids but more dogs. 11 of them to be exact. Ok, ok…I know most people would think me crazy, but I have 11 dogs and I love every one of them. Granted, 5 of those 11 are puppies that are being held back for evaluation as they mature, but for the most part the rest of them have been with us for most of their lives, and ages range from 3 months to 9 years. They are members of our family and because of that, leaving them in a boarding kennel has never been an option for me. I wouldn’t leave one of my 5 children, so why would I leave my dogs, especially when I know they will be unhappy. So, what is a person to do? Build a custom dog trailer, of course! Here are some photos of our work in progress..
We started with a standard aluminum 5×8 utility trailer and added vents to keep things cool. That is those "D" shaped things front and rear. The supplier didn’t have 6 of all the same color so we ended up with 2 black covers. I’ll paint them white eventually. I’ll explain what the round things are in a minute. The next thing we did was add compartments inside. I wanted to avoid using airline crates, and each compartment needed to be roomy enough that 2 large dogs would be very comfortable together. We divided the interior into a total of 5 spaces – 4 compartments measuring 2.5 ft by 6 ft. and a 2 ft space just inside the door for supplies. This is what we came up with.
We live in a part of the country where hunting with dogs is very common and it is not unusual to see a pickup truck with a wooden or metal box in the back that has holes cut into the side to allow the dogs confined within, to poke their heads out while they are being transported. Well, my dogs are too spoiled to be treated like hunting hounds and I certainly did not want to just cut any old hole in the side on my trailer, but I did want to give the dogs the freedom to poke their head out and see the world in style. Many long hours of research, looking for an affordable solution, led me to the idea to use marine deck plates as port holes. We used the 10 inch size to accomidate Cypher’s large European head.
As you can see, Miya and Inv y like that idea! The problem is that 4 ports just aren’t enough room, so as a consequence, there is a lot of pushing and bickering going on over who’s turn it is to poke their head out, so we are planning to add more deckplates for a total of 8 portholes. The other really nice addition is a small sliding window that is installed in the door that not only provides more ventilation, but gives me the ability to take a peek inside to check that everyone is doing ok. Next time I will share what I came up with as a solution for the hot stagnant air that happens during the hot days of summer on the road, and how we plan to instantly know the interior temperature of the trailer to keep everyone happy and healthy. Before I go I would like to explain a little bit more about these deck plates we are using as portholes. They are meant to be installed on the deck of a boat where there might be sensitive equipment that needs to be closely monitored, but might be damaged by exposure to the elements. To accomplish this, the center of each unit is clear like a plexi-glass window, and they screw in and out as needed. By using these plates I have added lots of light as well as the flexibility to open and close them as the weather dictates. It couldn’t be a more perfect arrangement! Stay tuned, more photos are on their way!