The Just Love Project 031: Pepper Goes for a Ride

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Sometimes extraordinary dog-human relationships are formed when they aren’t planned. Someone hesitantly agrees to attend an adoption event, sure that they’re just going to say hello to a few animals. Next thing you know, you’ve abandoned all rules about pets sleeping in your bed, the matching outfits you ordered online are on their way, and you lovingly wonder how it all really happened.

Tim, Allison, & Pepper are not one of those stories. In their case, adding a dog into their life was such a part of the plan that it actually helped create the plan itself. Even one as audacious as living in an RV on a three-year road trip from Alaska to Argentina.

As crazy as that might sound, it isn’t their first blush with this kind of travel. Because they’re pros. After starting their own e-commerce travel gear business, producing videos to help inspire and educate fellow travelers, and some well-documented financial savings strategies – Tim & Allison – Tim & Fin as they’re known online – realized their dream of sustainably traveling full time.

Pepper, their now two-year-old Bichon-Shitzu mix, is their lucky adventure companion. So when it came time to plan their latest excursion, they ran into a tricky question: How do you reasonably travel half the globe, internationally, with your precious pup? By renovating an RV and driving it 20,000 miles across the Western Hemisphere, of course.

For Pepper, it’s the greatest car ride of all time. She quickly made herself at home. Even if it did take a week or two to get used to not getting out of the car when it stops. Because, “Oh we’re here. This is home now,” Allison says. Pepper may be a 10lb ball of fur, but she’s got an appetite for adventure as big as her humans.

“We call her our forest animal,” Allison says, “We like to think she’s shattering stereotypes of tiny, fluffy dogs all over the world.”

It seems that’s exactly what Pepper is doing. Whether it’s daily hikes into the wilderness, taking doggie baths in fresh streams, or going on curious gopher hunts, Pepper’s taken to her new lifestyle like she was born for it. In one adventure crossing the border into Mexico, Pepper even swam across the Rio Grande River. And then finished the journey secure in her backpack . . . riding Tim . . . riding a burro. Even the backpack has come to symbolize the full Pepper experience.

“She hates wearing clothes so you’d think she wouldn’t like being restrained, but she knows that backpack time = adventure time,” Tim says.

No matter what that day might hold, Tim & Allison know Pepper’s been an irreplaceable part of the journey. Because whether they’re helping ease her into a new environment, or it’s Pepper providing an emotional pick-me-up during long drives, they each look out for one another.

“It becomes like a pack. We have that crazy connection with dogs,” Tim says, “You can’t do that with a hedgehog.”

And for the three of them, there’s only more adventure time to be had. Once they reach Northern Alaska and begin the Pan-Am highway to Argentina, 18,640 miles of adventure to be exact.

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The story of Tim, Fin, & Pepper is part of Mutt Jackson’s THE JUST LOVE PROJECT – our blog series dedicated to celebrating the extraordinary bonds that exist between humans & their dogs. Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing a new piece – be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss an installment! And, if you or someone you know think you have a tale to tell, please shoot us an email at – we’d love to hear from you!