Gowtham Kumar, was in the limelight when he came up with a dog ambulance. His unique innovation was a relief for pet owners, who struggle to find appropriate transport at the time of need. Fitting a pet carrier on his bike, Gowtham began his services, charging only for the petrol used.
Well, this time, Gowtham has proven that dogs truly are man’s best friend. Along with his adopted pet, Chandramouli, he undertook a unique road trip through Karnataka, visiting iconic tourist spots on his bike!
Speaking to The Better India about Chandramouli, he says, “She is a wonderful travel companion.” The animal was just a stray pup when Gowtham saved her from being attacked by other dogs.
The idea of a road trip with Chandramouli came to him, when he decided to combine his love for travelling and his love for dogs. He didn’t want to forgo his adventurous side and didn’t want his best friend missing out on his unique experiences either. So, he attached a dog carrier to his bike and gave it a few rounds of testing. He even fitted a cushion in the carrier to make sure his canine companion was comfortable.
“She loves the feel of the wind on her face, which is fine as long as I don’t over speed. Moreover, she even has special doggie goggles or ‘doggles’, to protect her eyes,” says the ever-careful Gowtham, who even made frequent stops so Chandramouli could catch a break, and have a short walk.
Gowtham and Chandramouli did the Hampi-Hassan-Mysore route together, to take in the beautiful temples and scenery these heritage sites have to offer. The route isn’t particularly difficult, but when you have your pet with you, the rules of a road trip change ever so slightly.
What’s more, when you travel with your 4-legged friend, people come up curiously to ask questions and interact with you. In fact, you become more popular if you travel with your pet.
“All highway dhabas, where truck drivers eat, are pet-friendly,” shares Gowtham, adding that his travel experience was enriched due to Chandramouli’s presence. As a rule, if you want a wholesome travel experience, you should interact with locals and other travellers. If you are travelling with a dog, those very same people will want to interact with you, before you even think of doing so!
Gowtham’s trip that lasted for four days. And what an eventful trip it was! Riding constantly with his best friend, Gowtham had a whale of a time.
“This wasn’t my first trip with Chandramouli,” he reveals, indicating that the duo were veterans. Chandramouli seemingly loves travelling. According to Gowtham, she stays awake in her crate and doesn’t sleep during the journey.
“Whenever we stopped for a meal, I would use a packet of dog-food and mix it with rice,” says Gowtham, adding that rice is found in abundance and there isn’t any need to carry your own. The dog-food was a gravy mixture, which mixed with the rice, formed a nutritious meal, one that Chandramouli required, as the journey was long.
Everywhere he went, people were curious and would come up to him and ask questions. At Hassan, one person even wanted to buy Chandramouli, and offered a price! Naturally, Gowtham refused point blank–how can you part ways with your best friend?
Well, when we spoke to Gowtham, we also asked him what a person should do if he is road-tripping with his pet dog for the first time. Here’s what he suggests:
1. Keep in mind, that fitting a dog carrier on the bike, reduces its aerodynamic abilities.
You cannot take liberties as you would on a motorcycle without a pet carrier. Don’t go beyond a particular speed, don’t try to corner and put your knee down, your pet’s life is in your hands! Ride slowly, preferably below 80 kmph at all times. And take account of the wind. Note the presence of windmills, for there will be crosswinds where they are.
2. Carry pouches of dog food, preferably a gravy-type mix that you can feed with rice.This is a highly-nutritious meal, a huge boon for your pet who is accompanying you on the road.
3. Take appropriate breaks.
During his trip, Gowtham would take breaks after 90 minutes or 60 minutes of riding, depending on the circumstances. Do not ride continuously–a pet will not sleep during the bike ride, and will probably be as exhausted, if not more than you. Taking breaks will also allow you to walk your dog.
4. There are no particular medical precautions to be taken. Chandramouli’s vaccinations were up to date, and that is pretty much what one must check.
5. Check the restrictions that tourist places have.
For example, places of worship usually do not allow pets inside. Find out from the local people where you can or cannot visit with your dog. If your trip is more than a day, and you have to book a place to stay for the night, make sure to find out if it is pet-friendly.
6. Most importantly, look out for signs of discomfort that your pet might exhibit during the road trip. You should know your dog well enough to read the signs of discomfort, if and when they surface.
For Gowtham, travelling is a way of life, and Chandramouli, his faithful travel companion, seems to agree. The pictures speak of the sacred bond between man and his best friend. Gowtham rounds off with a pleasant memory.
“Seeing as I was riding at a slow speed, other bikers naturally overtook me on the highway. When they saw that I had a dog, they would flash a thumbs-up sign and wave enthusiastically while passing by me on the highway,” he says.
Incidentally, people refused to believe that Chandramouli is an indie, and insisted she was a pedigree breed, while others suggested she might be a hunting dog. Nothing could be further from the truth, chuckles Gowtham, as he highlights the gentle and kind nature of his best friend and travel buddy.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)