I’ve never been comfortable leaving my dogs at home when I go off on vacation. Granted, I have a wonderful pet sitting service, caring people who come by our house twice a day to feed my collies and give them lots of unconditional love, but that’s not what worries me. It’s all the in-between time, the time when Flopsy and Mopsy aren’t under the caring eyes of our friends. That’s the time when I’m certain the girls will get into big trouble.
For dogs or cats, this sort of trouble is impending from the moment they see their owner and best friend (according to Hallmark cards trumpeting the Norman Rockwell lifestyle) climb into a car, with suitcases.
It doesn’t matter that you leave your animals all day to go to work. Animals know about work, and they have phenomenally prescient abilities when it comes to the significance of scents and sounds surrounding their “owners.” They smell the eau d’obligation, and can hear the ratcheting up of mental brain power as we climb into the driver’s seat.
Flopsy to Mopsy (non verbal): “There she goes again, you can always tell when she’s got a meeting. She barely stops to pat our heads on her way to the car. Jeeesh.”
Mopsy replying to Flopsy (doesn’t lift head from driveway, lethargic, and doesn’t care, truthfully): “Yep, yur right, Sis. Mmmmffff.” (Mopsy was the runt of the litter, and due to oxygen deprivation during birth has limited spelling abilities, and even less interest in making her point.)
Flopsy responding to Mopsy (because she really does try to communicate): “Well, you know how she’s always late, so she simply doesn’t have time for anything more than a compulsory head pat.”
Mops to Flops: “Hhhmmmmfff. Yep.”
When we go off to work, they’re content to stay in their yard.
Pets know when we’re going on vacation. And they don’t like being left at home.
Everything about their demeanor changes the minute they hear the clack-and-rattle of suitcase wheels. Flopsy sits down in the middle of the garage, looking enticingly mournful. Mopsy the Uncommunicative becomes particularly vocal about the mental distress in which we will leave her, should we choose to embark on such a callous enterprise as to go on vacation, Mom! She moans, she growls, she cries. Her head tucks down into her shoulders, and from this awkward and uncomfortable position she attempts to rub her head on my legs as I walk by.
She makes it perfectly clear that she may not take this offense lying down. In fact, she considers us leaving the height of animal neglect, and may not stick around for our return. Once she’s exhausted the vocal operatics, Mopsy becomes very aloof, because she is obviously not loved, isn’t that right, Mom? She is considering running away from home.
Animals do run away, for many reasons. Some are mistreated, and others are hungry and in search of food. Then there is the mischief factor, the one which I’m certain is the reason for the bi-monthly ad in our local newspaper making a boldly typed plea for help finding “Max,” the missing Blue Heeler. Max has an uncontrollably curious nature, because he seems to become lost every few weeks.
I go off on vacation, feeling depressed, oppressed, and terribly guilty, because undeniably, my feelings for my dogs are no different from what I feel about my children. They are loved, they are cared for, their comfort and well-being is a constant consideration. Does that make me crazy? Maybe, but my animals are an important part of my life.
There are many pet-friendly venues all across the United States so you don’t have to leave pets at home when you go on vacation.
That’s why when my friend told me of her plan to take their Jack Russell terrier on a road trip sculpted to doggie-friendly tastes, I was intrigued. I had no idea there were so many pet-friendly venues where you can amble or adventure with your dog or cat!
Rocky, the Jack Russell terrier, was certainly the envy of my collies recently. He and his owners embarked on the pet adventure of a lifetime, driving westward in a rented recreational vehicle to the Pacific ocean, for Rocky’s opportunity to run on the sands of Coronado Dog Beach and play in the waves. Along the way, Rocky and his parents hiked the Grand Canyon and enjoyed family time together dining on doggie friendly restaurant patios. My friends researched the possibilities, discovering they were numerous. There are websites devoted to pet-friendly travel, and family destination resorts, such as Disney and Universal Studios, offer many options.
Vacation. It’s a word layered with expectations.
People work hard, and the travel industry feeds us glossy pictures of what time away from work should look like. Our inner child dreams of what could be, what might happen, where is the next rainbow.
There are infinite ways to spend our limited time and money. We can’t always take pets with us, because travel is often for work, or the itinerary does not make it realistic. But when you can, why not spend a respite from life with the creatures you love?
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @. Life inspired. Vodka tempered.