He’s less than sixteen inches tall, but my corgi Titus manages to get around—in fact, he’s my favorite road trip buddy. I did some quick math, and figured that over the last twelve months, we’ve logged over 9,000 miles together, all by car.

We’re on the road right now, driving from our home in the Midwest through the Southwest, then up through California to visit family in the Pacific Northwest before heading back again.

Titus has actually done a Midwest-West Coast road trip before, so this time we were determined to experience new things. Along the way, he has sampled carne adobado in Albuquerque (most toothsome!), gazed at the natural wonders in the Petrified Forest (deep canyon!), and gone swimming in the Pacific Ocean (did not drown!).

So far, though, the highlight of this trip was visiting Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, California, for the Summer 2015 SoCal Corgi Beach Day. Titus was just one of over 800 corgis in attendance. Feel free to let that sink in for a second. Eight. Hundred. Corgis.

beachday3

Corgi Beach Day is a quarterly event that has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2012. In three short years, the gathering has grown from a dozen corgis to several hundred. A true grass-roots phenomenon, Corgi Beach Day has an active Facebook group and has been covered numerous times in both local and national news.

While the event is free, there is excellent swag to buy. Proceeds benefit Queen’s Best Stumpy Dog Rescue, a North Hollywood nonprofit rescue and foster program for corgis and corgi mixes. This summer, attendees could also participate in a hashtag campaign to help donate up to 500 pounds of dog food to the rescue (you can read more about it here).

Since it was for a good cause, we timed our arrival in California to coincide with the festivities. We arrived bright and early at Rosie’s on the morning of Saturday, July 25. After we found a good patch of sand, had a dip in the ocean, and picked up our Beach Day T-shirts, we watched the corgis arrive in droves.

There was mingling. There was dancing. There was frolicking. It was like being at Woodstock, with less music and psychedelics and way more corgis.

I don’t think it had ever occurred to us to plan an entire road trip around a canine social event, but when we considered it, why not? A pilgrimage to Corgi Beach Day was as good of a reason as any, and every day has been a reminder of how much I enjoy traveling with Titus.

Of course, I’m fortunate that he’s a champion road tripper: he rides happily in his crate (aka the Corgi Castle); he can go several hours without a pit stop since he has a bladder of steel; he loves the novelty of hotels, especially the automatic doors that open as he approaches.

Sure, there are places we can’t go because of dog restrictions, and we have to make sure he gets enough rest and exercise. But when you think about it, it’s no different than being attentive to the needs and limitations of any travel companion. And he never complains about the music or podcasts I choose, so there’s definitely give and take.

By the time you read this, we will have traveled another 3,100 miles, and I know that we’ll start looking forward to the next long drive the minute we get home. The ability to travel is an amazing thing, made that much better when it’s shared with a best buddy. As long as he’s around, we’ll always be able to find a road.

beachday2

Since we travel so much, I’ve put together a list of things I like to have on hand to ensure total corgi comfort. If you’re traveling with your dog, this list may provide a starting point for your own packing list, although there are certainly going to be some differences depending on where you’re going, the age of your dog, and the time of year. If I’ve overlooked one of your must-haves, be sure to share it with us in the comments.

Titus’s Road Trip Packing List

    • Containment: We keep everything in a Small Shop Bag.
    • Food: If you’re feeding kibble, you can obviously pack it into anything handy, like a zip-top bag or a canister. For short trips or times we need to feed on the run, I often bring along pre-portioned bags so I don’t need to guesstimate. We’ve found a travel food container that has built-in bowls for food and water; you could also use lightweight travel bowls or collapsible bowls if space is a priority.
    • Water: Especially during the summer, it’s important to have drinking water. I bring along at least one gallon of tap water from home since I know Titus’s system is accustomed to it.
    • Treats and snacks: We keep a baggie of dog treats in the car and also in our pack if we’re out and about. Sometimes I like to have a chewy treat on hand if he’s bored—on this trip, my sister presented us with a bag of dried chicken feet, which was most thoughtful.
    • Bedding: Although he’s happy sleeping all night on top of my leg (which is as comfortable as it sounds), I like for Titus to have his own space, too. I bring along his Camp Mat, but any blanket or towel would work as long as he knows it’s his.
    • Non-edible diversions: My dog won’t fetch balls or chase frisbees, but those are obvious bring-alongs for those dogs who do. He tends to destroy any soft toy he can get his teeth on, so I bring a couple of his own toys to amuse him (this time, he has his indestructible hedgehog and squeaky banana).
    • Poo bags: We keep these, and a bottle of hand sanitizer, in our Citizen Canine. One can never have too many poo bags.
    • Grooming needs: Corgis are fairly wash and wear, but they do shed a lot. On trips longer than two or three days, we bring a Furminator. A packet of special dog shampoo wipes is great for cleaning paws, faces, and other dirty bits, and of course, we bring along his toothbrush and dog toothpaste and a towel just for him. I’m a bit squeamish about cutting his nails, but if I wasn’t, I would most definitely bring a Dremel to keep them tidy.
    • First aid: There are canine-specific first aid kits on the market, and many are quite good. To be honest, though, for most minor first aid needs I just count on my personal ultralight kit. It has gauze and antiseptic and tweezers, as well as moleskin for sore paws. The included bandages will work in a pinch as a muzzle. I also pack a few dog items not included in the kit: a tick key, flea/tick and heartworm medication, and some Tramadol, which is a painkiller prescribed by our vet (for most one-time uses, low-dose aspirin can be used, but check with your vet to be sure).
    • Speaking of vets: I try to keep an updated copy of Titus’s medical records and proofs of vaccination on my phone.  This information is very handy to have for those just-in-case situations. If your dog has a microchip, knowing the number is also good in case he decides to hit the road without you.
    • Other stuff: My car’s backseat windows aren’t tinted very darkly, so I use a retractable window shade. It almost goes without saying that a flashlight and multitool are travel essentials in general, but they’re also useful for late-night dog walks, filing down a snagged nail, or other little dog-related tasks.

If you live in California—or are up for a drive—the next SoCal Corgi Beach Day is set for October 24, 2015. Find out more on Facebook.

beachday4