I love dogs, but I don’t have one of my own.

Here’s why: With the amount that I’m away on the road, I just can’t keep a dog at home. And unlike Tintin, I could never take a real dog with me on all my adventures around the world.

Instead, I “adopt” dogs wherever I travel. Those who follow me on Twitter know that every day I find a new dog to call mine. Sometimes I only get to play with them for a minute or two–sometimes I get to take them on walks or even steal them for the night. In every case, I take a picture of that dog and send it out to all of you. NG Kids reported on my growing dog collection last year and even held a contest to name one of my big dogs (“Chatham” was the winner).

Why are dogs such a big part of my travel stories? Because dogs are universal. No matter where I go in the world, I know I can find a dog, and one of the great joys of travel is comparing the subtle differences between the world’s most universal things. People, food, houses, and clothes are universal, but also so different from one place to another.

In my travels, I meet dogs that are serious workers, some that are pampered pets, and some that roam in wild packs. Some are loved and coddled, while others are sadly neglected. Some are tiny and sleek, others are massive and hairy, and so many others are somewhere in between. I love them all but am somewhat picky about which ones I “choose” to tweet about. When I do find that one dog that’s special and lovable, then I announce that I’ve found my dog and send out the picture.

Meeting hundreds of dogs in so many countries has only made me love dogs even more than before — as I prepare for my upcoming travels, I can’t wait to meet my new dogs, wherever they may roam.