By Betty Slade
Planning a family vacation has become the topic of every breakfast, lunch and dinner conversation at our house. All of which began with one question from my Sweet Al: “What am I going to do with Whiskey?”
Depending on the day, my answers range from something mumbled under my breath to something along the line of, “Her or me!”
“You’re being ugly,” my Sweet Al tells me. “You should love her. Never speak ill of a man’s dog.”
It is never speaking ill of anything if done in truth as far as I’m concerned. And no, I don’t have to love her. But, I very well could if she were treated like a dog and not a long-lost fifth child that showed up to eat one day.
I remember when Al came home with a sign that he nailed to the front door of our house. It read: “If our dog doesn’t like you, we won’t either.”
Heavens, when did we become those people with that dog? And now, when I would like it to be about me and my people, I find I’m obliged to a royal canine.
Before I can finalize plans for our family reunion, I need to arrange a dog-cation for Whiskey. I would make Al do it himself, but I already know how that would end.
A friend jokingly asked, “You are always talking about all of the dogs at your house. Do they live there?”
No, but it feels like it. Every time anyone goes anywhere, a dog is dropped at the front door.
Now that it’s time for our children and grandchildren to get together, I have had to put my foot down with regard to travel companions. If it doesn’t walk on two feet, it needs to stay home.
I told my Sweet Al that I don’t want things to be chaotic. We need to find Whiskey a sitter.
His response: “If I put a biscuit in my pocket, she will sit right next to me all day.”
I am not sure who suffers from separation anxiety more, my husband or his dog.
I’m starting to believe that I should ditch my children, my Sweet Al and all of the dogs that come with them, and run off with my grandchildren, alone. They are more my speed, and less complicated. Plus, none of them have a pet.
I told a friend recently, “I have to be careful what I write, Pagosa is a dog town. Do you know how many total strangers have asked about Whiskey’s hemorrhoid problems after reading about it in the newspaper?”
I still get upset when I think about the new carpet I could have purchased in lieu of the operation I had to pay for.
A neighbor came by the house while we were eating lunch the other day. I went to the door to welcome him in. While I was talking, Whiskey put her paws on the table, jumped up and ate all the food off my plate.
I can’t think of a more sober reason to want to go on vacation without Whiskey.
Final brushstroke: Families need time together, especially after being separated for the last year. And, although not a popular decision with all, it is OK to get away without the family pet. It will be difficult for some, but they will get over it. Besides, think of all the nose-to-wet-nose stories there will be to share when pet and pal are reunited.
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