Traveling with Dogs

I would love it if my dogs could go with me wherever I go. I know they’d love it, too, unless I was going someplace scary or noisy. They live to have my attention. It would be fun if I could just say, “Let’s go!” and they would hop into the car and sit quietly and politely in the passenger seat, with a little doggy smiles on their faces.

But those are not the dogs I have. They’d be jumping from the front to the back, trying to climb on my lap while slobbering in my face. They’d bark at every moving thing they saw. If I tried to restrain them in some way, they’d howl. They have also been known to take “sit”, “stay”, “come”, and “shut the eff up” as mere suggestions.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is my fault. I’ve always been rather lax with training, albeit  generous with love. The fact remains: as much as I adore my dogs, they are a pain in the butt to travel with.

They’re even more of a trial during long distance travel, because even though they do tend to settle down eventually and snore, it’s not as if I can leave them sitting in a hot car while I sight see. Most buildings don’t allow pets, and there’s no way that my dogs could ever be mistaken for service dogs. And when out of my car, my dachshund, in particular, attempts to maul any human that comes within mauling distance. He thinks he’s a rottweiler.

I also have to stop much more frequently for potty breaks for them than I do for myself. And if we’re staying in a hotel, I can’t just drift peacefully off to sleep. No, they have to go do their business, right before bed time, regardless of wind and weather. And since it’s a new place for them, they have to thoroughly inspect the grounds before finding the perfect place to make their deposit. These things take time. And then, being the responsible citizen that I am, I have to collect that deposit. Oh, joy. A souvenir of our travels.

And just like any living creature, my dogs march to the beat of their own drummers, so if I leash them up and walk them simultaneously, they tend to want to go in different directions at different speeds. So in essence, I feel as though I’m being drawn and quartered. This can be particularly painful if they each decide to go around a different side of the same tree.

But I love my dogs to pieces, so every once in a while I relent and take them on a trip with me. But more often than not, I instantly regret it. I’ve found that missing them, but knowing that they’re safe at home and slobbering on a dog sitter, is the best way to go.

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First World Problems

Have you ever tried to find a last-minute dog sitter for a holiday weekend? Especially when you have a dog with a history of chewing on people? It’s no picnic, believe me. I asked 8 different sitters, and had no luck whatsoever. Come on. I just want a romantic weekend with my new boyfriend! Waaaaaah!

In times of great stress, that very boyfriend likes to remind me that the situation in question is a very First World problem to have. (See, that’s why I respect him so much. He’s pretty darned deep. And he’s great at calming me down.)

He has a point. Perspective is a wonderful thing. Relatively speaking I have very little to worry about. There have been no drive-by shootings in my neighborhood. I know I will eat today. It’s a safe bet that I won’t freeze to death. No armies will invade my city. I will very likely live my entire life without hearing an air raid siren. I’m safe. I’m secure. I’m healthy. I have options.

It’s those people who lack perspective who tend to succumb to road rage. They’re the mass shooters, the wife beaters, the conspiracy theorists, the Fox news viewers of the world. They are the ones who whip up mass hysteria about situations that don’t even exist.

I just need to remind myself that this is no time to panic. I’ll be fine. My dog will be fine. My romantic weekend will be fine. And if this is the worst thing that’s happening in my life, then I’m one fortunate blogger, indeed.

Perspective

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