Saturday, June 24, 2017

Dog Trip

It was not so very long ago that we would pack up the family and head out on adventures, sometimes without a specific destination in mind. Then we got a dog. That meant that we needed to find someone to look after our best friend while we traveled the highways and byways. That meant we needed to have someone we could trust with our best friend as well as our house. Mostly we had house/dog sitters. This enhanced our sense of security as we traveled those previously mentioned highways and byways.
Road trips with a dog make me think of John Steinbeck. Not because they give me suicidal thoughts, but because of Travels With Charley. If you haven't read that one, it's about an author who takes his "mind-reading" dog with him on a journey to reconnect with America. Charley was a poodle, so that probably wouldn't happen with me anyway, but having made a number of trips in my youth with a dachshund to our cabin in the mountains, I can say that this method of travel is always more amusing for the dog who is consumed with the wind rushing past his or her ears and up his or her nose. There are also potty stops that are more difficult to anticipate than those of a child. Generally speaking.
Then there's the practical matter of finding pet-friendly motels along the way. I have some memories of waking up early on some of those family road trips and seeing someone else taking their dog on a walk around the parking lot. It always looks as artificial as the plants in the lobby.
Still, that option of being the owner who gets to tell his or her dog that they are going for a ride, a really long ride, in the car would be very gratifying. Mind-reading dog or not. And yet, we didn't take our best friend on any of those sojourns we took back when we had a dog of our own. Sometimes we took her to a friend's house for an evening, or to the dog park. We even took her to the beach a few times. That was more than just a little gratifying. In retrospect, a part of me wonders why we didn't bother to try to bring her along on some of our other adventures.
Then  I remember how much I like being at home, and how much I wanted to share that value with my pet. That feeling of the wind rushing past versus the comfort of that nice warm bed. I spent a week with a neighbor's dog, taking care of him at our house. It was just long enough for him to become accustomed to all the best places to plop down on the floor. He went for a couple rides, and plenty of walks, but mostly he curled up next to us on the couch when we would let him. He missed his owner, and he didn't even mind not going to Hawaii. Hanging his head out of a 737 would have been Nirvana.

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