Pet Travel Thursday
Book: Dog Trots Globe – To Paris & Provence (A Sheltie Goes to France) by Sheron and Bob Long
By Pamela Webster
Dog Trots Globe – To Paris & Provence does what every travel book aspires to: it convinces a reader who has never visited a place to want to go and evokes memories in those who have already been there. Toss in over 150 colorful photographs and a beautiful Shetland Sheepdog and you have an enchanting travel book.
Dog Trots Globe and Writes Book
In 2010, Sheron Long and her husband Bob took a two-month family vacation to France. Their family included nine-year-old Chula, a Sheltie who found herself taking her first international flight and writing a memoir of the trip. Yes, Dog Trots Globe is written by a dog. Or, rather, is “barked to Sheron Long.”
Yes, I hear you. I’m not generally fond of books written by dogs. Their obsession with disgusting smells and their lack of opposable thumbs makes their writing challenging to say the least.
But Chula’s narration of the trip made the book a fantasy of sorts—the kind of book you curl up in your favorite chair to read on a miserable, rainy day. It’s written simply because everyone knows that Shelties aren’t pompous or condescending. And the dog’s eye view of the trip along with the exquisite photographs make you feel like you’re walking alongside the Longs through village markets, sidewalk cafes, and windswept lavender fields.
Arriving in Provence
Little did Chula know what was waiting for her when the Longs left their home in Carmel, California. Fourteen hours later (including 11 long hours in the cargo hold of a jet) found Chula and her people looking for a spot of French grass to serve as an impromptu dog potty.
Dog people know that no conversation about dogs fails to mention elimination. Dog Trots Globe is no different. Unlike, say Ackerly’s My Dog Tulip however, this book touches on the necessities while quickly moving on to what’s most important—the sights and smells of Provincial France.
For their stay, the Longs rented a house at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on the Avenue de la Libération, which Chula took as a sign that off-leash adventures were in her future. After the long flight and the next day’s train trip to Southern France, Chula was ready to stretch her legs on the grassy lawn. When not chasing cats from the yard of her rented house, Chula explored farmer’s markets (the book includes a list of market days for nearby towns in the Alpilles region) and sidewalk cafes.
Dog Trots Globe features mouth-watering photographs of market stalls piled high with locally-grown olives, garlic, and spices. As a matter of fact, you probably shouldn’t start reading this book without a snack close at hand—perhaps a piece of crusty bread, a few olives, and a glass of wine. You’ll start salivating over the photographs, and a Twinkie would be the wrong accompaniment to your reading.
But as exquisite at the markets are, I was most excited when Chula explored the countryside. The limestone cliffs of the Alpilles sandwiched between the shocking blue sky and periwinkle fields below looked like nothing I had ever seen before. Or, rather, something I had only seen in Van Gogh paintings. Never having visited Provence, I could see from the photographs why this region draws visitors from places where the sky features more gray than blue.
Puppy in Paris
Chula and the Longs explored Paris from their temporary quarters on the Left Bank. And although Paris is widely regarded as one of the most dog-friendly cities on earth, Chula reminds us that dogs are not allowed in most parks, the Metro, or art galleries. That limited Chula’s Paris adventures to strolling the streets, watching the world go by from a seat at an outdoor cafe, or napping in the hotel while Sheron and Bob got their share of dog-free culture.
One gets the sense that Chula was happy to return to her temporary home in Provence to breathe fresh air and roam in the grass before making the long return trip to California.
Dog Trots Globe as Travelogue and Guide
Although Dog Trots Globe functions mostly as a travelogue, it does contain some practical information about traveling with a dog. The book’s “Afterword, How to Take Your Pup to France,” describes the process of flying with your dog and details the paperwork you’ll need to complete to make the trip. You’ll find a PDF of those instructions at the “extras” page on the publisher’s website.
And if Chula’s descriptions and the Longs’ photos piqued your interest in traveling to France, you’ll find more pictures, videos, and tips at the OIC Books website.
I loved the fantasy of exploring the French countryside, Provence villages, and Paris streets with my Golden Retriever, Honey. After all, there is no better walking companion than a dog. They’re usually game for anything and never complain about their feet hurting. And, they’re excellent conversation starters.
But I can’t see myself expecting my dog to travel for 11 hours in the noisy cargo area of a plane. The risks of an accident are too great and even if all goes well, I imagine most dogs would find the experience terribly stressful. If you make the choice to travel overseas with your pet, the Longs provide an example of the best way to do it—with a long, stable stay in one place at the end of the trip.
That said, Chula doesn’t look any worse for the trip, does she?
SPECIAL: You can win a copy of this book, just click over to Something Wagging This Way Comes to find out how.
Disclaimers: It is the policy of A Traveler’s Library to disclose affiliate links. The link to the book title in this post links through “Something Wagging This Way Comes” affiliation with Amazon. If you buy something through those links, you will be helping Pamela’s blog pay the bills. THANKS! All photos used here are provided by the publisher with © Sheron Long.