Those of you who know me know how much I hate water.
When I first came to live with Christy, she had to smear peanut butter on the shower wall in order for me to get in the tub. Recently, we went on a long road trip where I encountered some water.
Christy’s BFF Janell took us and my furry friends, Cody and Frankie, to a place called Lake Superior. I stood, paws at the edge of the water and looked it over.
This lake thing reminded me of the ocean except there were no waves crashing and roaring.
I was having so much fun running in the sand, chasing my friends, when…
…I suddenly found myself in the water up to my knees! Mom was surprised. I was too.
A couple of days later, Mom insisted on taking me to the Mississippi River Headwaters at Itasca State Park in Minnesota.
She told me I could walk in the water to cross the Mighty Mississippi. That didn’t mean anything to me. All I heard was “water” and she wasn’t talking about getting a drink.
When I saw the log bridge, I knew walking across the trickling water would be easy, but then we went down a trail and I spied a row of rocks sticking out of the water. Uh-oh, I think my paws are going to get wet. What if I slip?
Mom told me she slipped the last time she was here, but she made sure the rocks weren’t slippery this time. She stepped in the water, tennis shoes and all, and I followed willingly.
At every rock, Mom gave me a treat.
I was in water again and my paws were soaked, but I was walking in the water to cross the great Mississippi River.
Having conquered two water attractions on this vacation and enjoyed them, I can call myself a true Minnesota tourist.
I woke up one morning and Mom said, “We’re going on a mission to find a Tennessee Troll.”
Her BF, Janell from high school, asked if we’d heard of them and Mom decided to find one for her BFF’s birthday.
Tennessee Trolls are born in a place called Cosby, Tennessee. We found their birthplace by heading up a forest-line, gravel road up a mountainside. Mom thought we were lost, but we turned a corner and there it was.
Five Arts Studio has been creating trolls since 1959. It’s a family business that started with Ken Arensbak telling bedtime stories about Scandinavian trolls to his children.
The family (who immigrated to the U.S. from Denmark in 1949) enjoys exploring the forests of the Great Smoky Mountains and hand-crafting trolls from all-natural materials such as rope fibers, wood, cones, seeds, and nuts.
Nearly 60 years later, they’re still at it, making their trolls the same way and adding to the collection. (You can order Trolls online, of course.)
Instead of writing about my own doggy adventures, I must tell you my friend Nash’s amazing story.
Nash was a rescue baby bull that my friend Paige and her family raised in their rural backyard (until he became too large for their space). The family brought him to a farm where he could roam free with other cows, and they could visit him whenever they wanted. It turns out he loved it.
Nash had only been able to enjoy running with other cows a few weeks when he was mistakenly rounded up and sold at auction for the slaughterhouse. When the news reached Paige’s family, they were devastated. Paige’s mom took action and word spread quickly through social media. Everyone was on board to find Nash before it was too late.
The Power of Prayer and Kind People
After a few days, word came that Nash had possibly been located, but it was a race against time. With the help of several people, and after much prayer, this word came:
“I think I just loaded up your calf because he wouldn’t stop licking me.” (If you know me, you know why I love Nash so much.)
Another big rig driver loaded Nash up for his ride to the family reunion.
Lost and Found
What are the odds that a cow can be sold at auction with hundreds of other cows, branded and tagged ready for sale, be found and returned to the family that originally rescued him as a baby? If I were lost like that, I know my mom would go to all lengths to find me, just like Nash’s family did. That’s love.
Word on the street is, Nash’s story is going viral and a children’s book might be in his future.
Recently, a friend Kevin worked with in California come to stay at our house. They wanted to check out Tennessee to possibly move here. He brought a little Person with. Every time she put her arms out, Mom picked her up.
What is going on? This little person is all over the place. Mom nearly panicked when she lost sight of the little thing and found her at the top of the stairs.
Mom says it’s because our new house is not baby-proof.
The little person wasn’t mean to me. She’d come and gently pat my head and hug my neck. One time she even snuggled with me on the floor but didn’t stay long. She explored everything.
She must have thought the water dish was a mini pool to cool off in.
I’m so glad Mom got me a fresh drink because I didn’t want to taste baby-toe flavored water.
I wonder if this is what it will be like one day when Mom is a grandma? She said it was good practice.
I love people, but can you tell I’m glad it was temporary?
Exploring is fun and filled with new smells. My nose goes on overload, but no matter how many different scents I smell, I keep focused on the main scent to keep my Mom’s blood sugars from dropping dangerously low.
I joined Christy on a ladies weekend trip to the Atlantic Ocean, a place called Myrtle Beach, where I met a pirate.
Running on the beach was a lot of fun.
Mom’s friend Tammy took us to a beautiful place called Brookgreen Gardens. I was on sensory smell overload for the greenery and fountains we encountered. The garden is known for its statues and artwork.
Many of them were of dogs. Christy pet one like it was real since it reminded her of Faith, a Great Dane mix she had when I first came to live with her. I gave her a big slurp to lick away her tears.
My favorite statue was the mama and baby bear.
Nearby was a sitting bench that Christy insisted I sit on. I’m not sure why, but she said she couldn’t resist making me look cute. Does this bench make me look cute?
I’m told we were staying in touristy town. I’m not sure what that means, but Christy took lots of pictures of me, including this one that reminded her I’m a lifesaver, no matter where we might find ourselves.
Even if we were swallowed by a shark – but that won’t happen because I do not like water!
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.