Auckland couple Rodney and Donna Bosson are living their dream and paving the way for future dog-attached campervanners.
The dog-loving couple are mapping leash-free dog parks throughout New Zealand and blogging about their experience. This is so others can benefit from the previously unchartered waters of how to survive a campervan holiday with dogs.
The stars of the show and possibly the most well-travelled campervan dogs in Aotearoa are Mac and Rose. These boy and girl West Highland terriers are travelling the country’s highways and byways in style.
The first photo the couple posted was of Mac and Rose in their dog pen, complete with awning, attached to the side of the campervan. They had more than 200 comments from people wanting to know where they got the dog fences. Donna and Rodney were amazed!
And it all started with an imported German Dethleff’s campervan, now appropriately named Dogonit, with a picture of a very cute ‘westie’ on the back.
The Bossons, who call themselves old wrinkles, were originally meant to choose between a new dog or a campervan but ended up with both!
Then began the challenge of somehow making their ‘holiday with no end’ work with two small energetic puppies.
They were surprised to find virtually no information on pet-friendly destinations and pet adaptations to motorhomes, both in New Zealand and overseas. So the next 12 months were spent preparing for their dream adventure.
This is the thing, we knew you could travel with one dog, but having two dogs meant they could get tangled if they were leased up, and it wouldn’t be as enjoyable for them being restrained all the time,” described Rodney.
So they talked about it and came up with the dog pen idea which they set up each time they arrive at camp, as a safe off-leash exercise area for the furballs.
Rodney specially adapted the campervan to create built in spaces for dog beds, either side of the masterbed.
Every square inch of space is well thought out.
“We have two dogs for long periods or short trips. Without the dogs being happy you’re not going to be happy – they chew things. They’re our babies now,” said Donna, who is also mother to two adult children and a grandmother.
And to date the preparation has paid off. This is the Bosson’s first ‘trip with no end’ following on from several small two to three dayers and so far Mac and Rose haven’t chewed anything! Making sure they get an hours walk in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon is key.
One of the things we can’t believe is how well the dogs have got on. They have just adapted and love their morning walks,” said Donna.
Mapping dog parks
Rodney started by going through online Council records throughout New Zealand looking for off-leash exercise areas. He then looked for a medium to publish these and Google Maps was the obvious choice. They also decided to plot their own destinations as well on a separate map.
So far the couple have mapped down to Christchurch but everyone is urging them to go further to Invercargill, Dunedin, Gore and Oamaru. The centrally heated campervan is comfortable in temperatures down to minus 10 c so who knows, they say.
To date, the leash-free dog park map includes information discovered either by Rodney visiting council web sites, googling, or information provided by others from social media interaction. There is also a function for followers to add comments.
Spreading joy wherever they go
There are two things people love, say Donna and Rodney, the dogs and the picture on the back of the campervan.
They’ve even had people pull up at the traffic lights, wind down the window and compliment them on the RV artwork.
At the time of publishing they had just arrived home but no doubt are already planning their next adventure?
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