A 'Doggylicious' Road Trip to Meghalaya!!!

On the face of it, this trip my wife and I went on was nothing significant. We drove down from Guwahati to Shillong, stayed at a homestay and visited some nearby attractions on the following days, and returned back on Day 4. Two details make this trip special - we went on a motorcycle, which frankly wasn't made for mountainous terrain, and we traveled with our little doggo, Corey. Let me introduce you to Corey - she is a Spitz aged about five to six years. My wife rescued her back in May 2021, when we were just engaged, and soon both of them became vital parts of my life. 

Here's how Corey looked when Eva first took her in:

The timid little dog didn't bark or bite. She just came near us and sniffed us and looked at us with those eyes. Her eyes and nose were heavily infected. Someone had abandoned her back in February 2021 and I can't imagine how this little one spent months on the streets. She was scared of everything - other dogs, other humans, but she barely ever barked, and even when in pain, she would maybe give you a faux bite, which was not even a nibble really to let you know she was uneasy. I had never seen a dog like this. It was love at first sight. And Corey soon got attached to both of us, following me around all day, sitting at the door when I left.

It was an eventful year for Corey - she gained a little weight, going from 4.5 kgs to 7.5 kgs, her infection went away and she got back some of the hair around her eyes and nose and her coat improved from a mangy matted one to a smooth shiny one. She had a mammary gland tumor when we got her and we got her operated on. It was scary because I had heard that animals don't pull through after surgeries and it could very well be the beginning of the end. But the little resilient dog not only recovered but prospered after. Everything was great, except for the fact that Corey has severe separation anxiety. She howls and stands around by the door when we leave her alone even for an hour. It's heart-breaking. We thought it was isolation anxiety, but when we left her alone with the cook this one time, she told us that Corey was howling in our absence.

We realized that leaving her alone was not an option. The real challenge came when both of us had to travel to Delhi this one time. We searched for doggy daycare options and found only one suitable for us - Kuku's Paws and Claws. We left her there for a week and she barely ate or socialized with the other dog boarders. The nice lady from Kuku's would send us pictures of Corey standing around aloof, not touching her food and we kept stressing about it. Soon after, we decided to always be around so that the little one is never alone. This just posed one problem - we couldn't plan trips and outings during weekends and as a newly married couple, we were itching to travel, especially since we were sitting at the mouth of the beautiful northeast. 

Putting her back at the dog boarding place was an option but we knew we wouldn't enjoy our trip as much because we would stress about Corey's wellbeing the whole time. Another option was hiring a cab - but that was a little expensive. We couldn't lease out cars since neither of us had learned to drive four-wheelers. We tried carrying Corey with us on the motorcycle a few times, but it was a struggle for Eva to hold on to the little maniac on the back seat - Corey would wriggle and struggle and we were constantly scared that she would slip and fall. So for a while, we were out of ideas. We then came across this reel of a man who travels with his samoyed stuffed in a backpack. And it was a light bulb moment. We could do something like this, we thought. Then we started exploring dog carriers, baby carriers, and backpacks with a pouch at the back. We ordered some but Corey was large for most dog carriers available and the baby carriers weren't a great fit either. The last bag we ordered was from Safari - a 44.2 ltrs college backpack with a pouch and a drawstring at the back which we thought would be ideal to hold Corey. But when it came, we realized that the pouch was too small to hold Corey. 

Eva however found a way - we would put Corey in the middle compartment of the bag and put her head through a hole Eva cut between the pouch and the middle compartment so that we could secure her neck with the drawstring. This way her head would stay out of the bag and the rest of her body would be zipped safely inside. Theoretically, it seemed sound but we had to try it out. We stuffed her in the bag and took her out a few times. She would struggle a little but it was mostly doable - that is for a very limited stretch of time. If we were to go on a trip, we had to figure out how to keep her inside for longer. We had to find a way to keep her cool inside - she was after all a furry animal and being trapped inside a closed bag could not possibly be pleasant. We could punch holes in the bag to make it breathable but there was a big chance of her ripping the bag if she managed to put a claw into one of the holes, so we had to be creative.

We went to a cobbler and got lots of tiny eyelets made on the bag. It was finally customized well to carry our little furry friend on our road trip. We took her around town for half-hour drives to get her comfortable with the motorcycle's movements and thus, we were ready for the next step - an actual trip. Last week, we finally planned the trip. It was tricky because there were some limitations to traveling with a dog on a motorcycle - we couldn't pack heavy, we had to find a place not too far away as we would have to take several breaks on the way there, we had to find a place that was pet-friendly and lastly, we had to find destinations where we could take her along. Shillong was the nearest tourist destination. It was just a hundred kilometers away and had plenty of beautiful open spaces to visit around where Corey could accompany us.

So the three of us started the trip on Sunday morning on the 10th of April. We booked a nice homestay that allowed dogs and set the GPS on our phones and drove towards Shillong. We had booked the place only for three nights because we could only carry enough clothes for that duration, along with Corey's food (in a ziplock bag) and her leash, pee pads, etc. We kept the plan fluid because we weren't totally sure how long it would take us to drive the distance - we had to stop frequently, let Corey out to stretch her legs, pee, and drink water. We started at around 10:30 am and just outside Guwahati, took a wrong turn towards Sonapur, and had lost around an hour on the U-turn by the time we realized our mistake. When we finally got back on track, it started raining, so we stopped at a hut on the roadside, bought some water, and took Corey out of the bag for a while. 

We started again once it stopped raining. There were a lot of uphill rides and the motorcycle, a 2015 Yamaha FZ, was stuttering and shaking carrying the three of us. But we soldiered on - we stopped at a Dhaba some 34 km away from Shillong and walked Corey around again. Some people congratulated us for the effort we were putting in to travel with Corey and even clicked a few pictures with us and asked our permission to post them online. It was almost 02:30 pm by this point. The next stop was Umiam Lake. We reached there in another hour or so and spent an hour and a half walking by the lakeside, where we met another group of boys and girls who were traveling with a couple of hefty labradors. They came running to sniff Corey who did not seem very pleased with the intrusion and growled a little at the big dogs, who seemed taken aback by Corey's spirit. We sat down for a moment and clicked a few pictures, Corey even dozed off for a bit, tired from all the walking around.

We then proceeded to Shillong - such a hilly town and the GPS kept taking us in the wrong directions, showing roads where there were just stairs and taking us into one-ways. We were stopped by the traffic police coming out of a no-entry road and fined Rs. 500, even though I tried to show them that it was the only route the map was showing us. We finally reached the InTown Inn at 05:00 pm and let Corey run around. From the main road, the homestay was at a distance of around half a kilometer of steep incline and the motorcycle almost gave up a few times taking us up there. So we decided to walk down the slope to the Vishal Mega Mart which was on the main road to get some groceries. It was dark by the time we reached Vishal and a dense fog was rolling around. We asked around about it and learned that it hadn't fogged up like that in a while and that finally, it was "Shillong weather". We ended up buying quite some stuff since the store had a Buy One Get One promotion running. We decided to take a taxi up the incline on our way back since it was treacherous with all the fog and the traffic on the narrow road. The cabbie charged us RS. 100 for that short stretch and that was the last time we ventured out without the motorcycle.

The next morning, I woke up early to walk Corey and this was the view from outside the homestay:

Eva had to work a little before we started and we decided to visit the Laitlum Grand Canyon that day. It was 22 km away and the map showed that it would take us about an hour to reach the scenic mountain top. The morning was clear when we started, with the road all uphill on the way to the canyon, but to our dismay, a thick fog rolled down just as we reached the canyon, completely blocking the view of the mountain and valley around. We still started walking towards the edge of the mountain, the viewpoint after parking the bike. There were quite a few tourists there already. We walked around for a bit and the fog began to clear up. Corey loved running around over the mountain and a few kids in the area came and pet her too. We clicked some pictures before it got foggy again.

We had a small meal before we left. It was a fun ride back with most of the roads sloping downward and we made the trip in lesser time on the way back. We visited the Dyan Cafe which is a pet-friendly cafe and spent some time there. A couple of girls made a few reels with Corey there. We got back and made noodles and eggs for dinner and watched a movie. We had earlier planned to go to Cherrapunji for a day and hire a taxi for the same but the taxi person informed us that we wouldn't do Cherrapunji justice in just one day so we dropped that plan and decided to go to the sacred forest of Mawphlang and to the Elephant Falls on the next day. We woke up late and started after a heavy breakfast. It was clear and sunny outside and a lot of people noticed Corey and smiled and chuckled at us on the way. The sacred grove was a beautiful untouched dense forest with large trees all covered with moss. We tried walking with Corey on the trek but she kept getting distracted by the numerous smells and scents of the forest and kept holding us up, so we put her in the bag and took turns carrying her.

When we got out of the forest, we ran into a family with three kids who took a shine with Corey. We let Corey off her leash and she ran around and played with the children for a while till she got distracted by a cow who was grazing in the grass. The cow made the most peculiar mooing sound which sounded like a woman screaming and the guides laughed. We then started back towards Elephant Falls which was on the way back. I think that's where Corey had the most fun - she sprinted down the steps with us following her around. She sniffed all the people passing us. We met a family from Bangalore who said they had a shitzu at home and wished she would put up in a bag like Corey. We also met a pregnant stray dog who growled at Corey there. We returned back early and retired for the day.

The following morning, we slept in till 10:00 am and lethargically packed our stuff to start back on the return journey. The way back to Guwahati was actually more pleasant. We reached back home by 04:00 pm and regretted not going to the Don Bosco museum, thinking it would delay us too much. All in all, it was a great trip and we pledged to plan a similar trip to Cherrapunji in a few months. The best part of the trip was carrying Corey in the bag hanging on my chest, seeing her face in one of the rearview mirrors, seeing people noticing her, and breaking into smiles on the road. And of course, it was our first real trip after the wedding so it was really special. In less than three weeks, Corey would complete a whole year with Eva and we couldn't be happier. And to think that initially, I was skeptical about Eva adopting a rescue thinking that the dog might have behavioral issues. We are really lucky to have such a darling of a dog and can't imagine life without her now.


  1. Such a heartwarming blog to read. Being a pet parent I can relate to all the emotions here. We too have an indie with seperation anxiety at its height. So traveling with her and our kid is the only option we have.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Corey passed away on 10th of January this year after suffering from a few months of kidney problems. She is survived by Mellow, an indie we adopted in July 2022 and our son who was born 5 days before Corey died. Corey will always live on in our hearts.


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