What it’s like to live with Spike and a river in our backyard

I love waking up in the Best Little Trailer.

Used to be, in my old, working life, I’d wake up to overwhelming dread.  Sometimes the dread would be so bad that by the time I managed to drag myself to the shower, the spray from the spigot would wash away tears.

I’m not looking for sympathy here.  That’s the past and the past is gone.  I only want to contrast then with now.

These days I wake up happy.

Some mornings I lie in bed looking up at the sky or tree leaves or pine boughs, depending upon where we’re camped, and wonder how I came to have such a wonderful life.

Yesterday I nearly cried with happiness.

Other mornings I don’t linger because I’m eager for the promise of each day.

Today I wake and Spike makes me laugh. 

He is such a guy.  And like a lot of guys I’ve known, he has his routines.  First I hear mumbling and grumbling as he begins to stir at the foot of my bed.  Then his face emerges from under the quilt.  At this point, his head may disappear back under the covers again, not to reappear until adequate snoozing has occurred.

This morning there are no false starts.

Spike moves to the next stage of his waking routine.  He stands up, pokes his nose through the slats of the back window blind, bending them apart far enough so he can peek out and survey the campsite.  I used to think he did this because he’s a guy and he feels the need to protect.  You know, to make sure we’re safe.

Now I figure otherwise.

Spike’s a senior citizen.  His hearing is bad and he’s got cataracts.  I bet he forgets things like I do.  When he looks out the window each morning, he’s wondering, “Where the HELL are we now?”

I look at his dopey little face and laugh. 

By the way, I pick up Spike’s thoughts psychically, because, let’s face it, Canine Corner or no, Spike doesn’t talk out loud with words.  Just thought you might need that dose of reality before I continue, in case you’re lost in the reality-warped world of “rvsue and her canine crew.”

Spike licking Bridget’s ear, my chair positioned to watch the river.

Anyway. . .

This got me thinking about the many ways Spike is such a guy.

“Where’s my supper!”

Here’s a big one:  He gets really, really pissed off if his food is late.  Irritable, yelling, stomping around.  Bridget would starve before complaining.

Spike can’t fall asleep until he’s let loose some gas.  Every night it’s the same.

I’m so used to that habit that I’d probably have trouble falling asleep myself without that familiar aroma wafting up my way.

Okay, this blog entry is careening downward.

Time to change the subject.  I moved to a new campsite in Natural Bridge Campground today.  The last campsite was primo, alongside the river with full sun for the solar panel and a dappled-shade spot for the crew’s pen and my chair.

All the campsites here are large and exceptionally pretty. 

This new site is primo-primo.  Today’s photos are views of our new campsite and its backyard, which includes the Rogue River, volcanic rock island, sandy beach, lush plants, and magnificent trees.

I keep delaying the day of departure from this camp.  It’s one of my favorites.

Update on Bridget’s leg . . .

“Thanks for all the get well wishes.”

She’s walking on it!

I don’t let her run around or do much walking.  I have to let her do her business which she has always done by scouting around for the perfect spot.  I use the stroller for walks and I lift her up and down so she does no jumping.

I also notice when it’s time for  her pain pill, she acts like she doesn’t need it.  In fact, I can’t remember seeing any signs of pain since that yelp when the injury happened.  Is surgery necessary if she’s not in any pain and is gaining use of the leg?



Canine Corner will return soon when we’re in a campground with internet connectivity.


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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71 Responses to What it’s like to live with Spike and a river in our backyard

  1. rvers4lifex2 says:

    Sue, maybe surgery won’t be necessary.. hip hip hooray if this proves to be true.
    It is a known fact that the body whether canine or human is an amazing thing, often quite capable of healing itself … given enough time, patience, and tlc.

    You go Bridget…make your mommy even more proud of you 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’d drop more than a thousand dollars in a heartbeat if I knew it was the best for Bridget. For some reason I’ve not felt good about the surgery option from the very beginning. Usually I’m ready to run to the vet and do whatever I’m told. It’s great to see she’s her ol’ self when the pain med wears off.

  2. cozygirl says:

    You should see my huge smile…this post was one of my favorites! I could just feel that early morning wake-up, all cuddling, and happy! Neat!

  3. Daisy says:

    Thanks for sharing your past. I’m glad you have found what makes you happy.
    As to surgery, it depends how old she is, and if she can handle the surgery, and if it will do anything for her. It sounds as if she is doing ok on her own.

  4. cathieok says:

    Great post! Spike is quite a guy! Would be interesting to see what the vet says about her walking on her leg and how it is healing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The vet would probably say she needs surgery anyway. That sounds cynical, don’t mean to be, but they are trained to DO something, not wait around.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Finding a good HONEST vet can be as hard as finding a good HONEST doc…I have always figured that a surgeon will do what he is trained to do…and so many are just plain gold diggers in the human world anyway. I am SO GLAD Bridget is doing better!! Keep doing what you are…obviously seems to be working!! And wait….I agree with you. Surgery always has its risks too.

  5. jim Ebbert says:

    I think the only thing you may be missing is a fishing rod. (preferably a fly rod)
    Of course that may just be a guy thing!
    I enjoy your blog and hope that someday when I grow up I can be just like you. 😉
    Best regards,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      As a former fisherperson, I agree with you. For now though, I’m happy to watch other people fish. I heard the trout (rainbows) don’t get too big in the Rogue because the water is so icy cold.

      Thanks for telling me you enjoy my blog. Also, I don’t think you have to grow up to be just like me! In fact, I don’t advise it.

  6. Guy Cobham says:

    Ok, you’ve gone to far now. Girl dogs can be rude and crude too! We have my moms 17 year old Shihtzu as Mom has passed away. Candi ( the crude little girl) can;t see well and has zero hearing. We call her the shark. At meal time she cruises through the house, passing thru the kitchen over and over again, When she is done with her meal, there is a LOUD doggie burp, letting us know she is satisfied. At 500 AM, give or take only a minute or two, she gets up from her doggie bed, ( on the floor next to mine) and goes to the bedroom door, hits it with her head, until I open it , take her outside , and then give her breakfast. If she is not fed first, she stays underfoot, making it impossible to do anything else.During the day, she has a custom ramp, to make her trip to the backyard easy. She makes Spike look like a gentleman

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hahahaha! Guy! That is SO funny! And it’s written by a guy named Guy! Gee, your Candi sounds like she provides enough material for her own blog. I love the part about hitting the door with her head! Oh my…

      Thanks for writing such a fun comment. And there’s no way to gracefully transition here, . . My condolences on the passing of your mother.

  7. Molly says:

    I just found your blog recently and have really been enjoying it. Spike & Bridget are so adorable. They sound like fun companions! My pups have their morning & night routines, too. 🙂 I hope that Bridget’s leg will continue to be well.

    The campsite looks gorgeous. We can’t wait until we can start RV’ing!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Welcome to my blog, Molly! I hope you find the time to read some of the earlier posts. Lately I’ve been posting a lot of photos and not talking much about our RVing life. Best wishes with your own RVing.

  8. tinycamper says:

    Sue, reading about the difference in your mornings now and when you were working was such a joy. I’m so glad you got the chance to go for your dream…. finally!!! You sure did put in the footwork for a lot of years to make it happen.

    BTW, my girl dog Sheba is the one with the gas in our house. Every night. After dinner. As she sits at my feet while I surf. Ewwwww! 😀

    So very glad that Bridget is improving, and I do hope she makes a complete recovery. I’m a strong believer in following your instincts where medical care is concerned. You are probably right about waiting and watching for improvement in this case.

  9. Sunny says:

    My little Bichon, Izzy, is not very “lady-like” either, as she always burps after she eats!
    I for one, am glad you mentioned about the contrast of your past life while working and now out being able to go where you want on a whim. It gave me food for thought.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      When I wrote about my former life contrasted with the life I’m living now, I was thinking of the many, many people stuck in a rut who never discover there’s a better way. If my blog does nothing else but shine a light on the possibilities, then the work is worth it. Thanks for writing, Sunny, and burp that little Izzy for me.

  10. Sue says:

    I remember feeling that way about my life when I was working. I not only cried tears before work but the first 6 months in the County office I worked at the longest I came home every single night and cried real tears in my husband lap about how I hated that office and one mean person who was training me. He told me everyday to quit and I didn’t and now I am glad I stuck it out 5 years because I get a small but helpful retirement check.

    Sue just a question not a judgement but have you had Spike checked for worms. The only time my Gus has gas is when I have had to worm him. Gross but true. Also Gus is not yet 1 year old so if he was older he might have gas too.

    Love the pictures and envy your travels. Hoping I get to do this soon part time. Enjoy it while you can, you are very blessed. And speaking of blessings I prayed for total healing for Bridget (God cares for the sparrow and he cares for Bridget.) So glad she is showing signs of healing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Sue, I’m glad you are out of that job. It’s not good to live under that kind of stress. When I retired, I lost all my ailments like headaches, foot pain, leg cramps, heart palpitations, etc.

      I’m not concerned about Spike having worms because he’s had gas right after being wormed. The crew needs to go for the annual check-ups. I’m waiting until we get back to AZ so I can establish a vet relationship in a place where we’ll be every year. Now that we’ve fulltimed for a year, I know where I’ll return.

      Thanks for your prayers for Bridget. She is doing very well!

  11. Sherry says:

    Mornings are my favorite times. Quiet gentle mornings. I wake up early but hated having to get up and get going in order to be in my office by the time the demands started rolling in. I too cannot believe I am so lucky to be living life on my own schedule. What freedom!

    Good for Bridget to know what she can and cannot do. Good food, rest and listening to our bodies keeps us all in the best possible shape. As for Spike and the gas, wellll we often had to banish our beagles from the room. The two of them were just too much!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Banish the beagles! Yes, morning is the best time of day. What a waste to spend that time inside in front of a mirror getting ready for the commute to work! Ha! Never again!

  12. Lisa says:

    I love being lost in your “reality-warped world”, Sue, lol!

    You have described my own two contrasting lives so well! I have only been in Nomi, my little trailer, for a month, but I feel so at-peace and wake up so grateful.

    Thanks for your blog –

    Lisa and Trotters

  13. What a pretty campground . Love it !!
    I am so glad to hear that Bridget is doing better. I would give her more time now. She may not need the surgery

  14. Karen says:

    I absolutely love your blog. You are so open in sharing your thoughts. Your dogs are so cute and are great companions. It gives me ideas about traveling with one. I camp now on average of 10 days a month. Being in the in the outdoors gives me such peace. Soon I hope to take longer and longer trips in the future. Your pictures are so beautiful. They convey a closeness to nature. Continue enjoying the wonderful time you are having now. We don’t ever know what the future holds.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Karen . . . Writing is a lot easier knowing there is someone “out there” who loves my blog. Thanks for the compliment.

      Enjoy the peace you receive from nature . . .

  15. azpatriciao says:

    Thanks for sharing great photos again. You always find such beautiful and inspiring places to stay!
    Sending more good vibes to sweet Bridget! You know her better than any vet could, and if your instinct tells you that she does not need an operation… most likely this is what is right.

  16. Bob West says:

    Had a large golden with partial tear of anterior cruciate and it calcified and stabilized without surgery. Hope this works for your pup. My vet at the time advised against surgery as she was not a hunting dog. She never did jump well so that was not an issue and I loaded her 95 pounds onto the bed and into the car when she was younger and well before the injury. Surgery is never a sure thing so as long as it is improving I would wait. Love it when people find what makes them happy. I have lived with it for 47 years and certainly all our dogs have enhanced our joy. Two of the greatest cockapoos now.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting and helpful to hear about your dog’s experience with this kind of injury. I think Bridget’s at an advantage not weighing 95 lbs., although she could stand to lose some weight. Thanks for writing. Best wishes to you and the cockapoos.

  17. gingerda says:

    Love your camp site as usual. There haven’t been very many “bad” spots that you’ve been in,it seems. I really like these pictures of Oregon. Such a beautiful state.
    I cracked up over Spike and his Odors at night. My daughter’s dog, Roscoe, does the same thing. He is a small older dog. We nicknamed him “Rotten Roscoe” lol.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I love that name, Roscoe! It sounds like a farting-dog name (no offense!)… and you know how I love MY gaseous pal.

      Oregon is all I expected and so much more. I may never leave. I’ll stay and let the snow cover me up!

  18. Hotel California says:

    I know then and now.

  19. carol says:

    so glad to hear th Bridget HAS improved!.My uncle had a little bulldog named Beans,who lay behind Waynes chair,until Wayayne would say”Beans”!!, and Beans would slink out the back screen door.I guess he earned his name.

  20. Glenda Cornwill says:

    Such good news with Bridgit’s progress……………may it continue to improve……time heals and tender loving care from her Mum!!

  21. Yes, we sure know the feeling of freedom full-timing brings… for us and our critters. Loved your blog, as usual.

  22. Natasha says:

    Just as is true with people’s ligament injuries, some dog stifle(knee) CCL ligament injuries are so severe that surgery is necessary, but most dogs and people recover very well from most ligament injuries simply by restricting activity to avoid excessive stresses on the leg. The website tiggerpoz.com was mentioned previously in the comments. It is explained there on that website that the purpose of the surgery is to hold the bones in place while the body gets a start on re-stabilizing the joint. The orthosuture (looks similar to fishing line) which is installed by surgery always stretches or breaks within a few months. The purpose of the surgical orthosuture installation is to be a temporary stabilization while the body gets started building permanent fibrous scar tissue stabilization at the joint. If the dog begins to improve stability without surgery (as most will) then the surgery is unnecessary. Dogs’ activity needs to be carefully controlled for months while the joint first stabilizes and then slowly develops resistance to re-injury. Gradually increasing exercise as the weeks go by. But surgery is very seldom needed, nor is the outcome improved by surgery in most cases. Claims that surgery is necessary to prevent arthritis are hogwash. Lots more info at tiggerpoz.com
    Like your photos!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Natasha… You have given me an explanation that I can understand! Thanks so much! I can see where foregoing surgery is not without risks, but neither is the surgery. I wonder if sometimes we hurry to have something “corrected” in our pets, thinking we’re doing it for them, when really we’re trying to “fix” them so we’ll feel better. Bridget isn’t a show dog. If she’s happy, comfortable, pain-free, able to enjoy every day and be her silly self, and sometimes lift up one leg and hop on three… Is that terrible if she couldn’t care less?

      Thank you for taking the time to explain the situation for me and readers. I really appreciate it.

  23. PatB says:

    I love your comments about Spike & Bridget. I have a little Min Pin named Rascal…. believe me he is a Rascal. He is soo funny. He sometimes will be laying on the couch next to me….. he will fart, it will be such a stinker he can’t stand it, he’ll jump down off the couch to get away from the smell.

    I love your BLT…

  24. Sue, the vet told me that it will heal by itself but be more prone to re-injury. Sparky was only 8 and so we opted for surgery because of all the stairs in our house and off the deck. You might get away with letting the Bridget heal and just go with it. If it goes again, it’ll probably definitely need surgical intervention.

    By the way, loving your blog! Can’t wait to be there myself. Just waiting on my husband to be ready.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right, Kittie. If there’s a reinjury, her knee needs to be surgically stabilized. Glad you love my blog! Hey, Husband, get ready! Life’s too short to miss another day!

  25. Pam Ridgely says:

    Sue, I’ve been following your blog for about a year and really enjoy it. I esp. like the doggie point of view. I also admire how you get out there by yourself in the middle of nowhere to camp. You are braver that I.

    Our black lab had an ACL blowout in ’09 and we went ahead with the surgery She did well, but we still don’t let her get out and run with other dogs too much as we don’t want the other knee to go. (Labs are known for their knee problems per the vet). If she does get out and run too much, she will limp for a couple of hours, but other that that she is great. Seems if Bridget is getting around and doesn’t appear to be in pain, don’t do the surgery. Sounds like your doing all the right things.

    Hope we can meet up some day. We are workamping in Missoula for the 3rd summer (and staying the winter,,,) Good luck to you and God Bless.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you for following my blog, Pam. I appreciate you sharing about your lab’s experience with ACL. I’m going to be careful with Bridget’s activities from now on. Enjoy your workamp and best wishes to you, too.

  26. Bill and Ann says:

    Ditto: Primo, Primo campsite. The Rogue River is so beautiful. We should move over to your campground. I was sitting in our little Casita this morning comparing the two sites. I enjoy our site and the Williamson River and Spring Creek; I would rather be relaxing on the Rogue. Maybe next year.

    Glad Bridgett is doing better. It sounds as if rest and relaxation is all she needed.

  27. julieinoregon says:

    Sue, I love your camping area on the Rogue. The trees and the area is so peaceful. Glad you guys are all having such a great time in Oregon. Saw the pics of Crater Lake. It doesn’t get much better than that! It is getting cold at night I noticed. Hope you are all staying warm. Julie

  28. olddogbill says:

    Hi Sue – we had an old Golden (11) that tore her ACL. We were familar with the type of injury as we had another Golden that had earlier blown both ACLs two years apart. We were also familiar with the two types of surgery (TPLO and ligament graft) and lengthy recovery. As she was 11, we decided to wait and see what was going to happen rather than put her through major surgery at her age.

    We’d been told that once the injury had happened, the pain was gone replaced by discomfort. Well, she started to use the leg after about a week, and eventually regained use of the leg after two to three months. At her age it was the best outcome we felt. She was no longer an active dog before she tore it, so not too much function was lost. She lived out her last couple of years ok with the leg.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting comment about your Golden. It sounds like you did the right thing. Bridget’s not old yet, but there’s a limit to what I’ll put her through if there’s a good chance it’s unnecessary. She would be frantic left at a vet’s, crying in one of those cages, and for what? So she’ll walk gracefully? If it’s the only option, I’ll put her through it, but I’d rather give her a chance to heal on her own.

      Thanks for writing, Bill (I assume you are Bill and not your old dog!)

  29. John says:

    Hi Sue,, All I can say is,,,, You’ve come far pilgrim.

  30. Blue Eyed Dog and the Canadian Girl says:

    Love Love Love your campsite. We had a similar one is Cimmarron Canyon State Park in north central New Mexico. I could hear the river noise at night. So peaceful and calming.
    My dog Katie tore her ACL and she had the surgery and not even a year later she tore her other one which they say is very common. Part of her therapy was walking her thru tall grass so she would lift up her legs stepping thru and walking thru water. I did not have surgery on the 2nd tear and she did just as well so I would advise against it and just monitor her activity.
    I am so glad you are happy in your travels.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Very interesting about the therapy…. helpful, too. Thanks for sharing your experience with this kind of injury in your Katie.

      Sweet of you to say you’re happy for me… This is one incredible campsite!

  31. cinandjules says:

    Good morning Sue!

    Glad you are living the life you want! Waking up everyday in the same place, same ole routine is ALL that some people know. Not knowing what your day is going to be like or where you’re going to be is exciting. Good for you and the crew.

    As for Bridget, perhaps this is the “resolve” they were talking about. Whoooeeee! I’m with you about doing what’s right for the “kids”….the not knowing is hard. My guess is she will put more pressure on it…when she is good and ready. As long as you keep her from springing around like a banshee all should be well. I get the feeling she is just as comfy as can be in her stroller!

    As for Spike…………………funny funny! Late??? Oh you can’t be late! They somehow have this internal clock and have us trained. And sass to boot!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cindy!

      Your first paragraph… so true! The thought of staying in my old house in GA for the rest of my life… Good Golly, how dreadful! Life is to be lived!

  32. Crystal says:

    Sue, your blog always brings a smile to my face. I love hearing it “from a dog’s point of view” 🙂 You’re living my dream life, so right now I’ll live it through you. My hubby isn’t much on traveling, but I take my little T@B and my shih tzu and take off. I’m still working, so trips are short. Someday I hope to meander around as you are. I’m so glad that you wake happily every morning. Life is short….enjoy!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good for you, taking off with your pup and enjoying life! I hate it when women say they don’t camp because their husband doesn’t like it. I hope all your dreams come true, Crystal. I agree… Life is short… Enjoy!

  33. Bob says:

    Sue, I think if you continue “babying” Bridgett she will heal up on her own. I had a dog years ago that got run over by a semi on the highway, didn’t get any wheels but under carriage (axle’s differential, etc.) hit her, I was watching her roll and bounce from the shoulder of the road, I thought she was dead, but she survived. we couldn’t afford a vet so hauled her home in a wagon. She had a least one broken hip (maybe 2) and probably a broken back, layed in a box in the kitchen for weeks, we carried her out for her business every day. She eventually healed up and lived to a old age of 16-17 years old. She did run “kinda funny”, more-so than most dogs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Bob . . . That’s the way our dogs had to heal when I was a kid. I’m glad your dog story has a happy ending. Sounds like she had a good life. Thanks for writing.

  34. Carol says:

    when I saw the deer, I thought,don’t letBridget out,she would have been after him like shot,wort case scenario.
    if you keep her quiet, shel be fine.

    we had a horse once that ” popped a stifle”‘and the vet recommended stall rest, horse was fine, no lameness,totally sound for years of riding

  35. Connie & Mugsy says:

    Great news on Bridget slowly healing… great campsite… super photos… happy thoughts of your new life. I thought we had dogs in order to have someone to blame for any surprise gas odors. 🙂 Mugsy was my mother’s dog and always had terrible gas (and diarrhea very often). Since she moved in with me and eats a more normal dog diet, (though I make her food and it is “people grade.”) she rarely has gas. But often gets blamed. I’m about to hit the road. I’m doing the forest drives in the east half of the country. I am going to AZ via Virginia… 4700 miles. I will try to catch up with your adventures when I have a connection along the way.

  36. Chuck says:

    To BRIDGET, We are all so glad you are slowly healing and getting better…listen to us, we’ll help you. Be VERY, Very Careful…NO deer chasing, squirrel or Spike chasing for 3-4 more weeks. We know Sue loves you and will put you in the stroller if nesessary.Also looks like Spike is being nice to you,so take advantage as long as you can.
    SPIKE, you be REAL good to Bridget, keep licking her ears as often as you can. And the gaseous eruptions @ midnight, tell Sue it should be includinded somehow with the propane recycling program.
    SUE, those dogs don’t know how loved, aka spoiled rotten they are. We three also are in that same situatin….Hope we get to sniff butts and tails and new smells soon. Doogie, Radar & Scottie.
    Oh and we were to delivera msg from Geri n Chuck and all us getting together soon!!!!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      To the Hound Herd… You got it right about me being nicer to the Bridge lately. She’s had a rough time of it. Gotta’ admire her spunk. She’s my gal! — Spike

      To the Hound Herd . . . Thank you for your very nice comment about me and my injury. I’ll try to follow your advice. — Bridget

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