After initiating this complete lifestyle change based on a trip to the Arctic Ocean and Patagonia, we chose a dog bred for the heat of the Savannah of sub-Saharan Africa. Seems like an odd choice. Maybe it was. There were several factors that went into our choice that led to getting Casey. And some compromises. The biggest one being my (Matt’s) longstanding wish of someday having a Boston Terrier. I’ve even used my future (formally dressed) puppy’s name as the basis for numerous passwords over the past decade. I never actually got my cuddly little friend over those years since I didn’t think I was in a position to properly train and care for a dog. If I were to get a dog, I wanted to do it right. I owe that to the dog. As you will see, my black and white bundle of love did not make the cut… this time.
Just getting a dog to accompany us on the trip was a big decision. We had to convince ourselves that we could properly care for the dog through all the travels. That he would be safe and enjoy his life - and enrich our family. Overland travel with a dog requires special accommodations. Someone, yes – me, will have to let him out in the cold, cold morning. Someone, probably me again, will have to carry his food when we take a three day trek in some wonderful South American wilderness. And we will all need to ensure he is kept safe in the many new and potentially dog dangerous places. We committed as a family to ensure that that we will all be better off with a four-footed addition to our family.
Next, we had to decide on a breed. We decided that a larger dog would be best, despite the fighting spirit of the mighty Boston Terrier. He would be a big part of our security. A big dog, and especially the associated bark, keeps potential trouble away from us and our truck. We didn’t want to do any more grooming than necessary. And when it comes to hair shedding, short hair is better than long. It will also make it easier to clean and dry him when he gets dirty. We wanted a dog with a nice intimidating bark, but one that does not bark much. We discovered that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is very intuitive. We heard story after story of Ridgebacks barking only when necessary and even before any overt trouble. They can seemingly sense bad actors.