In addition to being a local celebrity, Max gained some other bonuses in later life. Soon after we built the suite for my mother, we also sold Lisa, our old motorhome and acquired a newer one, suitably christened Arvy. Since Katie still lived at home and Mum’s caregivers were willing to put in more time, Hugh and I decided to try out Arvy with a trip to the Kootenays. Naturally, Max came along too.
Max thoroughly enjoyed the trip, sitting sedately between the two front seats when on the road, and snuggling up on his blanket when we tucked down at night. He seemed content to have walks on his extender leash at the various rest stops and RV sites, and didn’t appear at all bothered that he wasn’t getting to run off-leash. The sheer novelty of all those new smells and fellow travel-dogs was ample compensation for the loss of freedom.
Max found the RV sites generally entertaining. There was enough distance between us and the other campers that he didn’t feel threatened, yet there were always other dogs to glower at (if male) or flirt with (if female). Max also adapted happily to the campsite meals. He would eat his dinner outside, glaring suspiciously towards any other camp dogs in the vicinity or whiffling his nose in the air if other camp meals wafted enticing scents his way.
The Kootenays were glorious. The scenery was spectacular, with soaring mountains, vast stretches of water and quaint little towns. Max waited patiently and comfortably in Arvy when Hugh and I visited non-dog-friendly sites such as the paddle-wheeler at Kaslo. However, most of the time, Max could share in our fun.
Whenever we stopped at a lake, Max went swimming. However, since the scent of wildlife followed us at every stop, Max’s swims always had to be on the end of his long line or on his extender leash. Not that Max seemed to mind. We just had to make sure we didn’t throw the stick out too far. Knowing Max, he would have towed one of us into the water.
On one occasion, Hugh decided to rent a boat so we could explore one of the lakes, so naturally Max came along. He had adapted to boating early in his life, and was quite happy to leap into the rented boat and roar around the lake with us, checking the small islands and coves as we went. Everything was a grand adventure.
There were treats along the way too. Each day we made a coffee stop for us and an ice-cream stop for Max. Whatever we decided to do, Max eagerly took part. He rode on ferries, hiked on trails, ate heartily at our campsites, and generally had a wonderful time.
On the return trip, we stopped in Merritt, and this was one visit that Max didn’t enjoy. He liked the walk along the Coldwater River, but that night, there was a ferocious wind storm with gusts that buffeted Arvy back and forth. Max was very anxious at the rocking and bucking. He also picked up my anxiety, for the RV site was surrounded by trees and I was worried about the possibility of one of them coming down on our motorhome. Hugh, in typical fashion, pooh-poohed my fears and went to sleep, but in the morning, he admitted that I’d had cause for concern. When we went for the morning walk by the river, we were climbing over tree trunks all the way.
Still, other than that one night, the trip was a big success. Max also benefitted from the fact that there were no children along to divert us with kid-friendly activities. He was the centre of attention, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy this changed family dynamic. We suspected that he considered this the best holiday he’d ever had. From then on, there was no question that he was Arvy dog. Any time that camper door was opened, Max was in there waiting for a ride.