Riding Certified from North Carolina!

9 years ago, Piper and I searched frantically for her favorite bouncy grapefruit sized ball which was swallowed up by the rush of the morning tide. Piper had been sprinting along the sandy shore, splashing through the waves in yet another game of fetch. But this time, the ocean decided to take her ball and play keep away.

Piper and I searched for quite a while. Just as I was about to call it quits on the expansive shoreline of Rodanthe, the ocean laughed and sent the ball back to us. Just like that, the beloved ball washed up on the shore, and my playful chocolate lab galloped along with pure delight as we continued to play fetch for as long as her legs could carry her.

Piper and I spent a week road-tripping down the coast of North Carolina. It was a slice of heaven.

We simply fell in love with this place, this life on the road.

I always said I’d take her back there, that we’d move there. But, Piper and I never made it before she died from the awful car crash.

A couple years afterwards, I summoned up the courage to take little River on the same trip. How would Piper feel, me bringing a new dog into the life that was supposed to be ours? It was bittersweet, but I could feel Piper’s loving spirit, giving us her blessing to take in the full experience. River ended up falling in love with North Carolina, maybe even more than Piper did. In fact, she was furious when we had to leave, ignoring and glaring at me for weeks after we returned to Maryland.

I found so many reasons to stay, but now I'm finally letting my heart lead the way.

River and I are setting out on a road trip to spread awareness for dog seatbelt safety!

We'll be traveling across the US, starting in North Carolina.

We’ll be living a Riding Certified kind of life, traveling to different cities, meeting new dogs and their people, connecting with pet store owners, veterinarians and trainers. We’ll be doing pop-up seatbelt clinics, demos, webinars, and searching for dog-loving people to join the Riding Certified team.

We’re also scoping out all the dog-friendly destinations, so when you and River are headed out on your Riding Certified journey, you’ll know about the best places to go.

New blog articles are coming to you: How to Prepare Your Dog for a Big Move and How to Ride 8 Hours with an Anxious Dog. (That’s right. I survived 8 hours with Miss Nervous Nelly). If it’s just you and River, you might be interested in Top Tips for Traveling When it’s Just You and Your Dog. Stay tuned for the article releases over the next few weeks.

For today, the pouring rain has finally stopped, the sun is shining, and we’re unpacking into our new temporary home.

Here’s to an exciting chapter in spreading awareness for dog seatbelt safety! It’s going to be an adventure.

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