There aren’t many colors a dog can see, but I can certainly smell them.
Mom says it’s autumn and that’s why the trees are losing their leaves and I am trampling them under my paws. We have some very tall and old trees at our house and a blanket of leaves covers our front yard.
Outside it smells of decaying leaves, fresh rain, and squishy black mud. Mom dries me off after I’ve done my business in the rain. I leave muddy paw prints on the doormat.
The mornings are colder and Mom lets me up on the bed to snuggle before she gets up to start her day. I can tell the season is changing.
We took another road trip to Cumberland Gap where Mom left me in another state!
Another day we drove to North Carolina, and I saw elk for the first time.
Elk are really big creatures that we kept our distance from because the male had antlers you wouldn’t want to tangle with. He also was trying to get a girlfriend and made a long, loud noise like a dying squeaky toy.
Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the smells and sounds of fall as much as I am.
Many of my readers have wondered how I’m doing in Tennessee. Well, I’ll tell all y’all with a few pictures.
First of all, Mom takes me everywhere, so I get to explore places with millions of new smells. So, you know, my nose is busy. Yet I still keep track of the most important scent of all, Mom’s blood sugar.
We went to Cumberland Gap and did a little hiking, so Mom’s blood sugar dropped. I think she was taking a picture of the cannon behind us when I caught her attention with my alert.
For Mom’s birthday, we explored downtown Knoxville, where I found this extra-large dog stuck in play-mode.
He smelled like metal, but that’s because he’s made of chains! Poor boy! He can’t ever reach his ball.
According to Mom, the main street was filled with history, including the Tennessee theatre behind me, where she said a lot of musicians got their start.
One day I got to meet a guy called Elvis. I guess he’s someone famous. He sang to Mom and called her “darlin,’” and kissed her hand. Oh! Mom! Really! If I wasn’t covered in fur, you’d see me blush!
No matter where we go, I always try to squeeze in a nap. It’s not always a place where I can spread out, but I’m used to fitting in small spaces from my early training days. I know I’ll get a chance to stretch later.
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?
Traveling with Christy is always an adventure. She has to pack not only for herself but also for my needs. That makes for extra-heavy luggage because I need my food, special treats, vitamins, toys, bed, parkas for cold weather, rain slicker for wet weather and booties for hot and cold weather. I get exhausted just thinking about it.
When Christy packs for herself, she includes all her diabetic supplies, and food and juice for low blood sugars (enough to last longer than our stay just in case – she’s prepared).
I’m not mentioning all the other stuff she packs for herself. She packs everything like we’re moving or something. Before flying, she had to remove a lot of stuff because the airline only allows a checked bag to be fifty pounds. That’s how over-prepared she is.
However, a diabetic always has to be prepared.
Traveling across two times zones to the East messed up her blood sugars. Our schedule changed from day to day, so she was without a regular eating routine – something that is very important to a diabetic.
Going to Minnesota really wasn’t a vacation for me. Mom had two-to-three low blood sugars a day, so I worked a lot. But I’m always on duty, 24/7. In fact, I like my job so much, I never take vacations.
I’m so glad to be home! I don’t mind travelling, but it seems we were just getting settled and the scents were becoming familiar when we packed up and moved to the next city.
I fly like a carry-on and fit nicely under the seat in front of Christy. I was trained to do it that way. It’s always nice when we have a seat or two with no one next to us for extra stretch-out space.
Here are photos of some of the things I did in Minnesota.
Walked the Mall of America.
Made new friends, Cody and Frankie.
Saw a lot of lakes (I didn’t get too near them since I don’t like water, but it made for a nice background).
Discovered the true purposes of dogs (things I love to do when I’m not working).
Spent four nights in Christy’ hometown of Thief River Falls. (Yes, there really is such a place).
All totaled, we put in more than 4,000 miles!
Despite all the places we visited, the miles we put on the rented van and the adventures I had, I’m beyond thrilled to be home. Even though airports have “pet relief” areas, I’d rather do my business in my own backyard.