I am finding that in Tennessee, the people celebrate everything. A dog could walk around a different festival every weekend and fill his nose with all kinds of good scents.
Recently Mom took me to a street fair in our new hometown of Morristown. While minding my own business and doing my job, my nose led me to a very large furry creature.
At first, Mom thought he might be a famous Star Wars character, but upon closer investigation, we found out Bigfoot was advertising another festival celebrating the big furry creature himself. And I thought he was supposed to be elusive.
On yet another day trip, Dad took Mom and me to a huge store called Bass Pro where I got close to some huge fish. In a giant aquarium.
The place was so big that I got a lot of exercise and took a rest on this crazy fish bench.
I could tell you I caught this huge fish using only my jaws and paws, but that would be what humans call a ‘fish story.’
Besides, if you know me by now, I’d never hurt a living creature. Also, I only eat dog food.
Today started out like an ordinary day, but then Christy got all silly and put this hat on me.
I know what’s going on. Whenever I hear this song, I remember the first time Christy and a bunch of my friends with their dogs sang it to me. “Happy Birthday!”
I turned seven on April 25.
I get all happy and excited ever since the day I first heard the Happy Birthday song. I remember my first birthday with Christy where I got tons of amazing treats and toys, and when I hear it, I think everyone is singing for me and all the goodies will follow.
We went to a Bible study group and a guy there would sing Happy Birthday just to see if I would get excited. Oh, how Mom misses you, Gerry.
I digress, if a dog can do such a thing.
I am seven years old in people years, which means nothing to me. Mom got me “senior dog” food to make sure I get the proper nutrition. It doesn’t matter to me; as long as I have food in my bowl, I’m happy.
Mom has been busy unpacking and decorating our new house for so long that I was confused when she pulled out the large suitcase and said, “We’re going on a trip.”
Turns out we were flying back to Southern California to visit my Auntie Cindy. I don’t mind airplane rides and this time was special because when we finally landed, an announcement said the captain was retiring and this had been his last flight. I was honored to meet Captain Stuart Kenney with a congratulatory slurp.
Arriving at Auntie Cindy’s house, I met my new fur-cousin, Ella. She took a few sniffs at me and then panicked, running laps so fast around the room, no one could catch her. She hadn’t seen such a big dog before.
But she soon warmed up to me and then wouldn’t leave me alone! Ah, puppies! I’m going to need a vacation from this vacation.
My second adventure was attending an Anaheim Ducks hockey game. Mom loves professional hockey and I got to be an honorary usher.
During the break when they resurface the ice, I also met Wildwing, the Duck’s mascot. He stopped just for me so we could take a picture. He’s so cool.
A day later I had a déjà vu moment as we drove the same road we had taken to get us to Tennessee a few weeks earlier.
This time, we stopped in Laughlin, Nevada, where Christy’s Uncle Clare and Auntie Barb were vacationing. I rode on a riverboat. The water was so clear you could see the rocks on the bottom!
I couldn’t resist photo-bombing Mom’s selfie with Auntie Cindy.
Auntie Cindy took us to the dog beach where I got to pretend to be a lifeguard. Wait a minute, I am a lifeguard. I guard my Mom’s life every day and keep her safe by alerting to low blood sugars.
So why did we fly back to California so soon after leaving? You’ll have to read Mom’s future blog post to find out.
As I eat my breakfast, Mom promises me we are almost there. It’s still more driving, but we cross into Tennessee, landing in a place called Memphis, where mom got her Starbucks and I got a pup cup.
I was happy, but spent yet another day on the road to a place called Cookeville. I’m hoping it has cookies for me, but unfortunately it doesn’t. Oh well. I know I’m a good boy and Mom has the only kind of cookie I can have, which I’ll get later.
When the humans got hungry, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel where I warmed up by the giant rock fireplace. So far, Tennesseans are friendly and that makes Mom very happy.
But after a shorter drive, tears of joy fall from Mom’s eyes as her good friend, Tammy, greets us at the end of her driveway. We have arrived where we’ll stay until the big truck arrives with our belongings.
I’m happy to have a yard to play in with my friend, Todd the cat.
After one night, something wonderful happened. I have a new, permanent home. No more all-day driving. I have lots of new spaces to explore, but finally, I can curl up in my own bed.
I really don’t like wearing raincoats or warm, winter jackets, but I wish Mom would put one on me now.
Wherever we are, it’s cold. But worse than that, the wind blows so crisp, it cuts to my bones. I don’t take long to do my business because of it.
Today has been more tumble weeds and some pretty rock, but mostly, flat ground that goes on forever. I’m glad I sleep a lot because it’s boring. I don’t know how my humans can stand so much of it.
Mom passes the time counting Amazon trucks. I think she’s up to 35 of them, but I can’t count so I curl up and go back to sleep.
Somewhere along the line we made it to a place called Tucumcari, New Mexico. Brrrrrr. I’m thankful for a warm room to sleep in for the night, but really miss my bed back home.
The humans and I went to get pizza and found this cool memorial to veterans that made Mom cry.
Waking up the next morning, it’s no surprise to me that I’m on the road again. It’s another long day of sleeping through the states of Texas and Oklahoma; both were just more flat land and tumble weeds, but I did see a lot of weird trees with wings.
If I were able to speak words I’d ask, “Are we there yet?”
I see the sun set as my tummy grumbles. We pass the bright lights of a tall building Mom says is a casino and Dad slows down because there’s a speed trap ahead.
A little time later, Mom tells me we’ve arrived in Port Smith, Arkansas, and we stay in yet another strange room. Oh, how I want to be home.
This is one long road trip! I’ve been in the backseat of the car next to a pile of stuff that takes up the other half I usually stretch out on.
I wonder when this is going to end. Every day after I wake up in a strange room that is not home, I get my usual routine of business, then food. But soon after, I’m back in the car, curling up on my donut bed and we’re off again.
Today we drove to very cold place, just in time to see the sun set on a giant hole in the ground. I didn’t like the big rock I sat on, but the scenery sure was beautiful.
Sometimes Mom switches vehicles to share driving and it’s just the two of us cruising along in the pickup truck. She pats my head and assures me this long drive will soon be over. But most of the time I snooze in the back seat of the Jeep as the journey continues.
Whenever we stop, Mom makes sure I’m taken care of, usually before she takes care of herself. I’ve been watching out the window and ever since we left the great big pretty hole in the ground. I saw a few giant hills, but mostly now all I see for miles and miles is rock and tumble weeds.
Mom says we have to hurry along because of some big contract that has to be signed soon. I don’t know about that. All I can think about is will I ever see home again and where in the world are we going?
Mom lifts my nose up to meet hers and plants a wet sloppy kiss on it. Humans kiss in a funny way. I prefer slurping.
Mom says we are about to begin a new chapter in our life. Dad says a prayer for God to keep us safe, starts the Jeep and off we go on a road trip.
I like road trips because they usually bring me to my Aunt Cindy’s house where I play with my fur-cousins. But this one seems longer than usual. We had to make a few fun stops like the Jelly Belly Factory for a bag of Belly Flops.
The hostess asked the wrong question about me so Mom told her there is only one question that can be asked legally, “What service does your dog perform?”
Teaching moments like this happen all the time and Mom takes advantage of them to educate the public. Our next stop was one my other human, GraceAnne, loved to go to when she visited her elementary school friend, Sarah, in Bakersfield, CA – a place called Dewar’s Candy Shop.
Mom had me pose for another iconic photo. I wonder how many more photos she will take on this trip?
Lights are flashing and crowds are gathering. I pose in front of a large picture next to a long, red carpet as a limousine pulls up and my friend Francine Rivers steps out of the fancy ride.
I have been to movies before, but never to a special event like this. I want to give Frannie a “Hello, I love you” slurp, but the lights are flashing in her direction now and people are handing her flowers, so I must control my slurping for now.
Frannie’s book, Redeeming Love, which she wrote 30 years ago, has finally made it to the big screen. She worked really hard to keep the movie true to the book; that’s one reason why it took so long.
Soon we are ushered into the big dark room, and I get to comfortably settle on Mom’s lap in the reclining chair.
Since dogs really don’t watch movies, I sleep through most of it, but wake up at the end to find Mom sobbing. She lets me kiss her tears away, whispering to me that she’s crying happy tears because the movie reminded her of God’s forgiveness.
Miss Frannie later told me that is the message of her book-turned-into-a-movie: To show people what unconditional love looks like, giving them hope and inspiring them to seek God.
Since I am a dog, I know what unconditional is. I show it every time Mom has been away and we reunite. My wagging tail and wiggling body show my joy as I see my master’s face.
One thing about having a great sense of smell: I can tell when we are blocks away from one of Mom’s favorite places. Even if we are not stopping there, my nose starts working overtime and I may drool a little because I know we are nearby.
Mom gave up coffee after finding out she is allergic to it. But that doesn’t mean she can’t have her favorite Chai latte. Since things are crazy at home with moving, we take breaks to get out of the house and have been visiting the Starbucks drive-thru. Mom rolls down the window for me to see the barista, and they love to see me, too.
The other day we were running errands and Mom’s blood sugar dropped because she skipped lunch and didn’t bring emergency sugar supplies. I’m going nuts alerting her from the backseat. We made an emergency stop at Starbucks in Larkfield/Wikiup.
We went inside the store since it didn’t have a drive-thru, but I knew exactly where we were. I usually only get a Puppuccino on special occasions, but Mom has been spoiling me lately due to, as I mentioned before, the craziness of moving.
My treat for alerting this time was, you guessed it, a puppuccino – my favorite. The baristas were so nice. I particularly like Gianna.
I’m pretty sure we will visit this Starbucks again because Mom says out of all the Starbucks she’s taken me to, Larkfield/Wikiup has the best customer service.
Whatever that means. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as I get that tasty little cup of wonderful flavor called a puppuccino.
My bed keeps going from room to room like it has legs. I’m glad I have a good sniffer so I can find it.
Boxes are being stuffed with my belongings and taped shut. I don’t know what is happening.
What I do know is a while back we took a trip to a place called Tennessee and now that is all Mom can talk about. We are doing something called “moving.”
All the furniture and boxes were moved to the garage. Strangers are coming and the walls are being painted. I accidentally brushed against the wet paint and got a white stripe on my ear. Then my waggy tail swiped a wall and now it has a white ring.
I don’t understand what is going on. I’m just watching all the busy work as Mom stresses out. But I stick by her and do my job, alerting on her low blood sugars.
With all the extra activity of moving furniture and boxes, she’s been having several lows. She says we’re in for an adventure and life is going to change drastically in the next few months.
With all her low blood sugars and the way things change around here so quickly, I hope I don’t accidentally get wrapped in bubble wrap and packed in a box.
P.S. Mom has assured me this will never happen no matter how crazy things get or how low her blood sugar goes; she loves me too much and never lets me out of her sight.