by Kim McDonnell
Trucking can be a very lonely lifestyle. You spend hours behind the wheel, and sure, you can reach out to others by phone or on your CB, but that is not the same as having another being physically close to you. That need for companionship or just the human touch is something we all desire.
If you are an over-the-road driver, pets can fill that void and be very good mentally and physically for your well-being.
“You can vent and complain to them, and you won’t get any smart remarks back,” said Idella Hansen with a laugh, “They also provide comfort, providing snuggles and kisses and love.”
Jacinda Duran said having her dog with her in the truck is like having your best friend with you all the time. “I can talk to her or love on her all the time; as humans, we need to be able to give and receive love unconditionally, and nothing does that more than a dog,” Duran said. She also pointed to the importance of training your pet not only for their safety but also for the safety of others around you. “It is important to me to train her and have her sociable with manners, and in my opinion, a truck driver should have the most well-behaved dog.”
A truck driver that may not have a pet is less likely to make frequent stops to stretch or just get out of the truck and get some fresh air. Having a pet with you, especially a dog, means that you will need to stop for bathroom breaks, walks, and feeding time. Since dogs love to take walks, that also benefits the driver, as those frequent walks can help maintain a healthier weight and provide that much-needed break from sitting stationary behind the wheel.
“Pets make us get up and move and give us something to think about besides ourselves,” commented Linda Caffee, who drives team with her husband, Bob. “ We spend a lot of time talking to our pets and a lot of time laughing at their antics,” she continued, “It is also nice to go back to the truck and see that happy face waiting for us.” The Caffee’s also pointed to the peace of mind that pets provide when you leave the truck, and others see a dog or even a cat in the window, making them think twice about breaking in.
Duran also pointed to the physical advantages of having her dog Miles with her. “Having her on the truck with me has increased my walking and running by 100%, and without her, I know I would not get out of the truck and do that as often,” she said.
Having a pet while on the road isn’t for everyone, and Jacinda admitted she really wasn’t looking for a dog or considering having one with her in the truck. “I will be honest; I didn’t want a dog as I had just got done raising my kids,” she said. But when her kids went out on their own, she reconsidered. Duran found Miles through an adoption program called mutts4trucks.com. “I always say I didn’t want her, but I didn’t know I needed her.” Miles has been with her for two and a half years, and she says she could not imagine her life without her.
Kim McDonnell is the manager for customer experience at the RoadPro Family of Brands.