One unique aspect of Great Lakers is that they travel with pets! This page is dedicated to our special companion animals.  Please submit photos with names and a couple sentence about what makes your companion animal special.

For a starter, here is my precious Henry Boy, a 4-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  He is funny and smart and has a special stuffed animal he rests his head on when he travels in the car.


Henry loved camping!  The August 2010 Silver Creek weekend was his first camping trip and he especially enjoyed meeting other Great Lakers’ pets:




Timmy Two Toes

Sunny Sonata

Flash Aug. 27, 2010 !!! Shirley and Denise have two new babies (names to follow and fix photo):

Little Boy Blu and Henri

8 thoughts on “Pets

  1. I am in love with Henry Boy. I’m a widow searching through pages & pages of sites so I can buy smart when i get my first rv. AND King Charles is my dream dog to get when i get my last child from home (3 years) and am able to do more traveling. …..Ohio

    • Henry Boy says thanks, Janet! He is wagging his tail right now. King Charles are pretty much an ideal breed to live and travel with. Their sweet disposition, quiet ways, and amazing intelligence makes them joyful companions. I’ve owned many breeds, was a professional dog groomer, and had a champion standard poodle (and one litter of 8 puppies-yikes!), but switched to Cavaliers and have never looked back. Henry will be at all Great Lakers events this year so if you could come to one (even without an RV) he would love to say “hi” (and we would, too!).

      In terms of searching for first RV, good to do the research you are doing and if you can get involved in your nearest RVing Women chapter I have found members to be incredibly helpful and generous with time and support. I’m starting small with a 20 foot Class B that is 10 years old, was well taken care of, and had 47,000 miles on it. It’s perfect for just Henry and me. Best of luck, Janet, and hope to see you at one of our events!

      • When I take online quizzes to find my ideal dog, this is the breed that matches me. However I’ve read that many of them have heart defects. Can you comment on that? Also I doubt I could afford to buy from a breeder, so I’m wondering about rescue dogs (that don’t have health problems.

      • Hi Sharon. Yes those online quizzes and my knowledge of dog breeds led me to the Cavaliers. Henry is the best and easiest dog to live with I’ve ever had. I’ve had dogs and loved them all my life, been a professional dog groomer, and even had a puppy champion standard poodle that I later bred and she gave birth to 8 boys (!). Henry turns 4 in a few days (August 29) and he is a joy every single day. I bought him when he was almost five months old, which is what I like to do if possible. I was still working and he went to doggy daycare everyday for many many months. Talk about expensive! Yikes, but he had a wonderful experience, has never chewed even one item in my home, and by one year old the expense was down to $60/week (still enormous!) for 4 walks at $15 each and I arranged to work at home one day a week. I am now semi-retired and he’s with me just about all the time, and one of the main reasons I bought my small motorhome is so that I can travel with Henry in toe (and I bought the mildest yet social puppy I could find so he would be a good traveler-and he is!).

        You are also correct that heart murmurs run in this breed often showing up I believe when the dogs are between 4 and 8 years old. I went into this knowing Henry might develop one and I might have to put him on medication or even lose him younger than I would want. But I knew I wanted this breed so took the whole package including potential heartbreak and expense. Most breeds have one or more kinds of medical problems that can be genetically transmitted. Unfortunately because these heart murmurs show up so late in a dog’s life that they may have already been bred and passed on the defect (or not). The only way to minimize that possibility is to shop around for a breeder that does this for a living (i.e., no backyard breeders) and has males over 10 that are still fine and are foundational to the breeder’s line. And that means expensive as you have found.

        Okay this is my view and I know others may not agree. To me when you consider the cost of a dog (or any animal) the purchase price should be of least concern. For any given breed, it doesn’t matter if you have a “free” or low-cost rescue dog or an expensive one from a show breeder, the costs to care for any dog is same. Dogs are expensive with their need for vaccinations, heartworm tests and pills, fleas and tick treatment, annual checkups, food, boarding, training classes, leashes, crates, collars, brushes, toys, treats, chew toys, and grooming really add up. So I save up my money, do lots and lots of research on breeders, and may take a year to find the right breeder with the right puppy. I want a small show breeder dedicated to improving not the looks but the health and beauty and temperament of the breed. I want a breeder who is very concerned and knows about all genetically transmitted diseases and can tell you what has been done to keep them out of their breeding program. I’ll want to meet the breeder, see where puppies are raised (I prefer home raised from breeder that only has one or two litters a year), and often go to dog shows and see how the dogs do around other dogs.

        I also arrange for pet insurance before I even get the puppy home and take the puppy to the vet as soon as I have him/her in my possession. I pay just about $400 a year for insurance, but do get some of that back on prevention like vaccines, heartworm tests and medicine, etc. And insurance is just that, insurance, and I have been very grateful several times that I had it. Henry was attacked by a pit bull-type dog (who broke through a gate with no provocation and went right for Henry’s jugular) when he was 14 months old resulting in slashed neck and two surgeries and much heartache. That pet insurance covered just about all the costs and just gave me the security of knowing I could take the very best care of him without being bankrupt. The owner of the dog covered everything else (and was devastated–people don’t have a clue that these dogs may seem so wonderful but unfortunately are bred to be dog aggressive). Other unbudgeted vet bills have cropped up. For example, Henry popped off a toe nail when he hit a paver block as he ran around my fenced yard one morning chasing a rabbit. This led to quick surgery to cauterize the toe and took months for nail to grow back. Again, so grateful to have much of this covered by pet insurance. So even though I take extremely good care of Henry, life happens and I wouldn’t go without insurance.

        I guess I’m trying to say that in my view owning a dog is a hugely expensive endeavor and it’s a crap shoot in terms of what medical problems will arise. I believe that you should budget at least $100 per month for a small to medium size dog and up from there. Big dogs cost more in terms of food, medication, grooming, and often dog boarding. If $100 or more a month is affordable, then take your time to save up and buy the best puppy you can find from the very best breeder. Sometimes you might find one that was tried in shows but was too shy or not enough hair or some “flaw” and can get an older puppy or young adult for a good price. I have seen some Cavalier crosses (like cocker and cavalier) on that have been taken from puppy mills. I personally wouldn’t go that route because you have no idea of the initial care of the dog or its sire/dam, but if you do decide to please look for one that looks and acts more like a Cavalier and not the other breed. In other words, mild, sweet, tail wagging, friendly but without an ounce of aggressive or nervous behavior (e.g., there have been behavioral issues with cockers). The first 7-12 weeks of a puppy’s life determine it’s ability to relate well with humans so I want to know my puppy’s history and that s/he has been handled and loved each day of it’s life.

        Hope I haven’t been too discouraging, but I think it is very important in light of the millions of homeless dogs that we take dog adoption very seriously and consciously. To me adopting a dog is much like adopting a human child in terms of the seriousness of commitment and responsibility. With that said, I believe a dog needs to fit into one’s lifestyle. I have had to rehome a few dogs over the course of my life that despite all my good efforts turned out to be really terrible matches for me and my lifestyle. Each time I made sure I found a home where the dog was an excellent match (and one of these dogs became a very top obedience dog–that dog just needed a job!).

        I wish you the very best in finding a wonderful dog-friend!

        Here’s something I found estimating cost of ownership that seems pretty reasonable to me:

        Basic Cost of Owning a Dog
        Yearly ExpenseType of Expense
        Food and Treats 250 – 700
        Toys 25 – 150
        Beds 50 – 200
        Leashes and Collars 20 – 50
        Grooming 30 – 500
        Routine Veterinary Care 500 – 1000
        Preventive Medications and Supplements 100 – 300
        Training Classes or Resources 25 – 300
        Petsitters or Boarding 100 – 300
        Yearly Total $1100-3500
        Average Monthly Cost of Owning a Dog $90-290

  2. Cat #1 is Timmy Two Toes, an 8 yo Ragdoll
    Cat#2 is Sunny Sonata, a 2 yo of unknown origin

    Great pics, Karen! Thanks for including our traveling companions!

  3. Hi Karen, I was wanting some advice about traveling with pets. I haven’t bought an RV yet, but my main reason for wanting one is so I can travel with my cockapoo and black lab. I hate leaving them behind when I travel on vacation. However, I have read that you can not leave animals in an RV alone. I would like to visit some of the attractions but I know that dogs would not be allowed. How do you and the other ladies handle having dogs on the road. Any info would help. Thanks, Dawn

    • Hi Dawn. Many people travel with pets including birds in their RVs. Some campgrounds do not want or allow you to leave your pet in your RV, but as long as your pet(s) are quiet when you leave them, in many campgrounds this is not a problem. If your pets are noisy, then that’s another issue and would be a problem. No one wants to hear noisy animals.

      In terms of taking them to attractions, many places allow dogs on 6-foot leashes as long as you pick up after them of course (same for campground). I keep poop bags in my pocket at all times.

      To me the most difficult part is when I leave my dog (who is very quiet and mild) is worry about the temperature in my rig. I have a small class b so I leave the campground and end up leaving Henry in it when I buy groceries, eat out, go to places he cannot go such as on boat tours, or when I’m doing photography. Keeping the temperature in comfortable range can be a challenge when unplugged.

      I suggest focusing on rigs that fit your lifestyle and are well insulated for your pets. Hope this helps!


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