When prepping for the trip, I did a lot of up front planning/logistics. I stopped the paper, stopped the mail. Set the alarm, turned on various timers, gave out emergency contacts to family, secured the fortress. One thing that worried me the most this time was what to do with the children. When we did our first cruise in '08, Shadow was still here. He was old and had a lot of issues, but we didn't feel he would put up with a kennel stay for a week, so we left him at home and arranged for someone to come by 2-3 times a day to take care of him. Let him out, walk him, feed him. He was over 12 years old and one of our biggest fears was that he might pass away while we were gone and we didn't want the woman taking care of him to stress out. He did ok, but wasn't happy with us being gone for a week (sulked for a few days).
The next long term trip was a week in Seattle visiting my son in 2009. At the time, we had just had Grayson for under a year and I was uncertain what to do with him. At the recommendation of one of the GBGRR group, I talked with a former member, Mary Beth about taking care of Grayson for a week. She had lost her Golden a year prior and wasn't ready to take on another fuzzy mutt at this time but was happy to keep an eye on my furball for the week. Grayson wasn't sure about the new deal, but they did work it out and both survived the week without any drama. As a matter of fact, I think Gray might have worn her down a bit. After keeping Grayson for a week, Mary Beth wound up adopting not one but two Goldens and is fostering another one (temporary basis).
For this trip, I had two Goldens to deal with and a longer time out of pocket. I did not want to board them in the kennel. Claire would not be happy with me at all. As for keeping them at home like with Shadow, I felt that 10 days was too long and they would get bored/depressed. Sticking these two into someone else's home seemed to be a lot more of a burden than with one dog, so I was running out of options. Someone in the club recommended a camp northeast of town called Golden Retriever Camp. Sort of a day camp for dogs. The guy up there has a small ranch and boards Goldens and miniature horses, llamas. I had scoped out the place a month ago to see if Chaos and Pandemonium would fit in up there. Turns out they fit in with the tribe real well. Not sure how he does it. When we visited his place in October, he had 14 dogs at the time. On the day I took my two up the day before we flew out of town to let them get use to the system. At that time, he had only 10 dogs but was expecting a few more visitors. He boasts that a few years back over Christmas, they were up to 24 dogs. Crazy, but he can handle them. No fights, no drama (well, not much). About half the dogs are older Goldens that are content to hang out on the porch and enjoy the sun. When I dropped dropped them off, Grayson was the typical kid, running around and sniffing everything and exploring - enjoying the moment. Claire, the elder one of the two, was a bit more circumspect. She checked out the new place and new dogs, but all the while she kept her eyes on me. She's a smart girl and I feel she knew what was coming. She knew that something was amiss.
|How can you leave me?|
On my way back home, I had spotted several interesting restaurants in the small town that I wanted to try. One was a nice BBQ joint called Straight Off The Road BBQ. Had to stop off to give it a try. Nice fairly new place, clean, good staff with some generous portions and a ton of trophies for the county fair BBQ contest - all good signs. I had to try the pulled pork sandwich and it was amazing. Juicy, lots of meat, and with a sweet/tangy BBQ sauce that really tasted great. Definitely worth a 2nd trip to me. Unfortunately, I tried to take momma there when we picked up the dogs, but it was closed on Monday. Bummer. It's probably a good thing I did not try to scope out the place beforehand. I looked it up on Yelp afterwards and some folks panned the place they were not as impressed with the brisket or ribs. I would tend to disagree as my sandwich was great, but maybe I hit it at the right time. Regardless, I would still be willing to give it a try again if it was a bit closer.