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‘I travelled the world with my dog!’

Mark and Mya saw the world together

Mark, 34, from Melbourne, wanted to see the world but couldn’t bear to leave his furry friend behind. Here, he shares his story in his own words.

Strolling through the park with my dog Mya, thoughts kept returning to my dreams of travelling.

Since my dad had unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack aged 63, it’d hit me how you’ve really got to make the most of life.

I’d wanted to go to Canada since I was 16, but something had always got in the way. Now Dad’s death reminded me that life was for living and I was more determined than ever to go on my trip.

But I was worried about Mya.

I’d had my white shepherd pup since she was eight weeks old.

There’s no way I could just leave her, I thought.

She was my family and my responsibility.

So I got thinking and decided she’d come with me.

Researching, I found a company that would help me get Mya to Canada.

Three months ahead of the trip, I ordered the plane-approved crate Mya would travel in.

Setting it up at home, I put treats inside, so it became a positive environment that she wanted to be in.

Finally, in November 2017, we were ready to go.

Just before we set off, I put one of my shirts inside the crate. By having my scent with her, it’d make her think that I was there.

Mark and Mya skiing
Skiing in Canada (Credit: Instragram)

‘I’ll see you soon,’ I told Mya, giving her a big hug before she was taken on the plane.

It cost around $3000 to fly her out and I knew it was worth every cent.

On the flight, I felt nervous about how my precious girl would be coping.

It was pawsome when we were reunited in Vancouver! Overjoyed, she jumped up with excitement.

Buying a car, we started to explore the country.

With Canada’s winter just beginning, snow had started to fall and it looked like a beautiful winter wonderland.

Having never seen snow before, Mya ran off the path and sank into a metre of it.

‘It looks like you’re going to have to swim,’ I chuckled.

Luckily she managed to easily free herself!

Canoeing in Banff
Canoeing in Banff (Credit: Instagram)

We set up base with an apartment in Revelstoke, British Columbia.

Determined to find activities that we could do together, we went cross country skiing and mountain biking in Whistler.

Mya ran along beside me, having the time of her life.

Another time, we went down a pet-friendly ski slope together.

At first, Mya found it a bit ruff, but after the second go, she didn’t want to stop!

On days when Mya couldn’t come along, I found doggy daycares which took her and her furry friends on hikes. They even wore a GPS on their collar in case they wandered off.

Creating an Instagram,@mark_and_myas_adventures, I uploaded travel snaps and our followers started to grow.

Soon enough, we were even doing meet-and-greets for fans to meet Mya! So friendly, she loved everyone.

After a winter of fun in the snow, we started to drive across Canada and down to the U.S.

Mark and Mya  in Florida
Catching a sunset in Florida (Credit: Instagram)
In Yosemite National Park
Exploring Yosemite National Park (Credit: Instagram)

Getting Mya over the border wasn’t a problem. They just wanted to see her vaccination paperwork.

As spring set in, we made our way to New Mexico, before checking out NASA in Houston and theme parks in Orlando. But sadly, Mya wasn’t allowed on the rides!

At Florida Keys, Mya was even able to come to the dolphin centre.

‘A dog visiting last week was a bit yappy and ended up getting splashed by the dolphins!’ one of the staff warned us.

But Mya was on her best behaviour.

After checking out the monuments at Washington, we continued up to New York.

We spent a whole day having fun in Central Park and Times Square. And like everywhere we go, people were desperate say hello to Mya and give her a pat!

Making our way to the West Coast, we watched the sunset over the Grand Canyon and gambled in Vegas – even most of the casinos allowed Mya inside!

We also checked out the Hollywood sign in LA and went paddleboarding together in California.

Throughout the trip, finding a pet-friendly hotel was always easy.

Some places would go all out, offering Mya room service meals.

‘Mya, we’ll get you salmon, asparagus and eggs for breakfast,’ I told her.

After six months, we headed back to Canada, ready to return to Australia.

Mark and Myer in Vegas
Checking out Vegas (Credit: Instagram)

By this point, our Instagram following had grown significantly to 30,000.

And when a few brands reached out, offering to sponsor us to continue travelling, we jumped at the chance. So Mya and I enjoyed another winter in the snow.

This May, after travelling 80,000km over 19 months, we returned to Aussie soil.

Travelling North America with Mya was an experience like no other. Spending so much one-on-one time has made our bond even tighter.

Later this year, we’re planning to travel around Australia together.

A dog really is man’s best friend – I feel so lucky to have been able to travel with my number one. ●

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