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Travel Buddies

By on September 1, 2019

‘More Recognized than I Am’

Meet “Flo,” the truck driving companion of Kevin Riach who drives for Bulsim Transportation, a family-owned company based in Phoenix, Arizona. Flo, which is short for Florence, was named by Kevin’s father based on obtaining her in Florence, Arizona. Flo is a 12-year-old Border Collie. The breed is known for its high level of intelligence, eagerness to learn, and its need for exercise and mental stimulation.

Flo has been traveling with Kevin in his truck for more than 10 years. She keeps him in shape as they stop a few times daily for exercise that includes tennis ball fetch, frisbee catching, brisk walks or maybe her favorite thing: attacking rest area water sprinklers. Flo is a well-trained, gentle animal that knows all basic obedience commands. She seems to always want to please and sits to offer her paw in handshakes.

Flo

While Border Collies can be reserved with strangers, they aren’t shy. Border Collies are extremely sight and sound sensitive. They see things move even slightly that their owners may not see, and they hear barely audible sounds that human ears may not detect or notice. Border Collies can make good family pets, particularly if they don’t have intense herding instincts.

“Flo is not your typical Border Collie stereotype,” says Kevin. She has a great memory and is always quick to acknowledge those encountered along the way with a tail wag. For a breed that’s known to be somewhat shy, Flo is very welcoming and outgoing. She’s probably more recognized by those she’s previously met than I am. I was warned about the potential difficulties of bringing a Border Collie onboard as a truck companion. The first few weeks were admittedly trying but I know in my heart Flo would rather be with me in my truck for three to four weeks at a time than stay home.

“This life provides her with the ability to see and experience something new, unusual or different daily. In return, I have a friend, companion and exercise buddy. Thanks for including Flo in RoadKing. I hope your readers submit their animal stories, so this regular feature can continue.”

Always Ready to Go

Ruby and Niko

Four years ago, Landstar team drivers Bill and Robyn Taylor lost brother and sister German Shepherds within a few months of each other. None of the rescues near their home in Enfield, Connecticut would talk to them about adopting German Shepherds because they didn’t have a fenced-in yard, and the dogs would have terrible lives traveling in a truck.

A friend told Bill about Westside German Shepherd Rescue in Los Angeles. After he called and sent photos of Ridder and Hanna, who had traveled with them for years, a phone interview was scheduled. To make a long story short, a week after losing Ridder, Bill and Robyn drove to Newark International Airport in New Jersey to pick up Niko. Upon arriving at home, they discovered he had never seen stairs before. Next-day dog classes on getting in and out of the truck quickly solved that problem.

Two days later, Bill and Robyn headed to Baltimore to pick up a trailer going to the Boeing plant in Everett, Washington. Niko took to traveling like a duck takes to water. When Bill found out that Hanna had a brain tumor, without telling Robyn, he called Don Yates at Westside German Shepherd Rescue. Based on traveling being easier with two, Bill requested another dog. The day after Hanna was put down, Don sent a video of Ruby. The next day, Bill, Robyn and Niko headed back to Newark International to welcome Ruby into their lives.

“Both dogs adapted well to our nomadic lifestyle,” said Bill. “If I leave the truck door open at home, Niko jumps in and lays down on the bed. Ruby won’t jump up but puts her front paws on the top step and waits for a boost. The two four-legged alarm clocks are always ready to go at 6:00 a.m. every morning. We have lots of great memories and fun stories to tell since I started traveling with a dog in 1993.”

‘Take a Chance with Me!’

Chance

“Hi, I’m Chance, the furry, lookin’-out-the-window companion (really boss) of my mom and dad… Wendy Wilfong and Kevin Stinson. I prefer Peterbilts. That long hood gives me Big Dog vibes. Think Pitbull. I was found at a California rest area, all sooty and looking more like Boxcar Willie. Wendy and Kevin took a Chance on me, and a lifelong love began.”

Truck driving can be filled with long and lonely hours, but this bundle of fur made sure Wendy and Kevin would never feel that way again. He watches them as they drive, rolling over periodically for the all-important belly rub. When traffic gets hectic, he looks over and gives Wendy or Kevin a look that says, “Hey you’ve got this. They’re probably cat people anyway.”

When they stop, Chance’s favorite activity is chasing after his ball, his favorite word. If you say it, be ready to play. Pets cause drivers to leave their trucks, get some fresh air and exercise, and most importantly, thank their friends for all that unconditional love they provide.

Chance enjoys healthy treats while riding to keep him chewing and busy. He has his own bed that sits between mom’s and dad’s seats, but honestly, he prefers snuggling the most. Not a day goes by that this little dog—a thing Wendy and Kevin took a Chance on—proves that they were his all along.

He asks that you give a shelter pet—and yes, even a cat—a Chance! You know that empty spot. The one you don’t talk about? That’s where companion animals belong!

“For me and my family, it’s time for bed. Tomorrow, we’ve got a big day of trucking in Dallas. So, thanks for reading my story. When Purina signs me, I’ll be sure to remember the little people!”

Tips from Chance

•  Keep up to date on your pet‘s shots; mom says some clinics are fast and affordable.

•  Monthly flea and tick treatments are a must to keep the crawlies off all three of us.

•  Watch our paw pads on ice and hot asphalt; they can burn. 


About Warren Eulgen

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