Friday, 5:30 a.m.
I wake up Spike, Janie and Bridget and after they have a quick potty break I put them in their harnesses. This means that today is a special day! Everyone gets excited and runs out to the PTV. I hoist Spike up onto the bench seat where he waits patiently. Bridget, with a little boost to her behind, scrambles in. I finish loading the van. Great. I had set 6 o’clock as our departure time and it is now 6 o’clock.
“Janie! Janie! C’mon! Let’s go!”
Janie looks at me and runs. Oh no. Not now. This is not the time for a game of Catch Me If You Can. Finally, 20 minutes and 3 peanut butter crackers later, Janie’s in the co-pilot seat and we pull out of the drive.
Florida, here we come!
The Perfect Tow Vehicle is indeed perfect all the way to my sister’s house in south Florida and all the way back . . . quick starts . . . smooth, comfortable ride . . . and no breakdowns!
They look out the window or sleep most of the time.
There is the rest stop incident where Spikey wriggles out of his harness and runs toward the highway, but we won’t go into that.
Friday, 6:30 p.m.
We’re finally here! After being buzzed into my sister’s gated apartment complex, we disembark. Such a thrill to see Nancy after so many years! We immediately and very carefully introduce Janie, Spike, and Bridget to Nancy’s adorable West Highland Terrier, Margaret.
Let’s just say, this does not go well.
First of all, four dogs in the enclosed space of an apartment is not a good starting point. And the canine crew – let’s face it — are three country dogs who are a little “rough” around the edges. Apartment manners . . . what’s that? Frankly, we don’t fit in well with the walk-on-a-leash crowd.
Little Miss Mary Margaret, the Pedigreed Princess of Boca Raton, is flabbergasted.
How dare this bunch of ruffians intrude on my territory where they definitely don’t belong, thank you!
A few altercations later the canines establish how it’s all going to go down, and in spite of their cultural differences, detente is reached.
The fact that we are pretty much housebound by four dogs doesn’t matter to Nancy and me. We have a great time talking, looking over family photos, laughing, crying, drinking wine, watching the antics of the dogs . . . .
It’s wonderful just being sisters together.
We all pile into the PTV and go to the dog park. Everyone behaves well. The dogs are exhausted and don’t run around much. I must give Janie, Spike, and Bridget credit. By the time we leave on Monday morning, all three are trotting along on leashes, shoulder to shoulder, without pulling, and are actually making congenial, palm tree-sniffing forays alongside Margaret.
And dear little Margaret, bless her heart, turns out to be a good — if at first unwilling — hostess. (Must be the good breeding.)
Looking back on our first trip, I think we’re going to do just fine when we travel to Texas to pick up our new home on wheels . . . hopefully in just a few weeks. The trip reminded me how adaptable dogs are and what fun it is to be on the road!
Thanks, Nancy, for everything!