15 April 2010

Field Trip

Sonny has a vet appointment in Collinsville tonight. I thought it would be easier to leave him and Dolly at Michiko’s house in my old neighborhood for the day. Then, after work, it would be more convenient for me to pick Sonny up at Michiko’s house, and go to the vet, instead of driving to my house, getting the dog, driving back to Collinsville, and trying to get to the vet appointment by 5. This way, I don’t have to leave work an hour early to do all that driving, I only have to leave work about 15 minutes early. This not only seemed like a time efficient plan, but my friend Michiko would love having the dogs at her house for the day.

Simple enough, don’t you think?

Getting them to Michi’s was a bit of a circus this morning, far more complicated than simply putting them in the car and going.

It went something like this:

First, I went down the basement steps to the garage myself, to put my purse and my coffee and my bag of miscellaneous stuff in the car. I opened the car and garage doors, stowed my gear and went back for the dogs.

Next, I let Sonny down the basement steps. He had been prancing around me expectantly since I first uttered the words “bye-bye” and “car” earlier in the morning. He runs down the stairs and he is free, racing out of the garage at top speed like a gazelle being chased by a lion, literally zooming over the yard and driveway, and then clattering back up the steps and into the house to check on my progress, “are you ready to go yet?” Zip! “Come on! Follow Me! It’s pretty outside today, let’s run! I love to run, see me run? I love to run fast! Come on, let’s go! Are we there yet? are we there yet? are we there yet? Hurry! Run! Let’s Go!” This is Sonny.

Secondly, I must get Dolly to the car. Dolly is far more composed than Sonny. We have a ramp for Dolly at the back door which leads to their fenced area. But when I open the door and tell her to come, she doesn’t want to go out back, because whenever I leave for work in the morning she always goes out to the front yard to go potty one last time, and besides that, her look tells me, you KNOW I prefer the front yard, where are you taking me? She hasn’t realized that I am going to take her someplace for the day. So, I walk down her ramp to the fence gate and open it, to indicate she isn’t STAYING in the back yard, we are going bye-bye, and she is going to have to come with me through yard to the gate to walk down the hill to get to the garage and the car. Dolly sees that she isn’t going to be left stranded in the back yard and finally follows me down her ramp and out the gate. She saunters leisurely the entire way down the hill to the car. It takes forever.

And finally, we are all together in one spot in the garage, ready to get in the car and head out. Dolly goes directly to the passenger side so I know she wants to sit in the front with me. She is willing enough to try to jump into the car, though she can’t do it completely on her own and I always have to boost her the rest of the way from behind after she gets her front paws up on the floor board. Sonny is already settled in his spot in the back seat and more than ready to go, but when he sees her getting in front, he jumps over into the front seat and plomps his butt down behind her. This action squeezes her out and she doesn’t have any room. Undeterred, Dolly just keeps on moving out of the way to give him room, over the console and into the driver’s seat, where she sits looking out the front window over the steering wheel, waiting to get this show on the road. Meanwhile, Sonny won’t budge from the passenger side. I try pulling his collar, swatting him to move, but he won’t stir. So I have to trick him. I choose the excited sounding, “Come on Son! Look at what I have!” while standing next to the open car door and patting the back seat, as though I have a treat for him, so that he will move back to his place.

When I get Sonny situated in the back seat, it is time to get in and go. But Dolly is still sitting in the driver’s seat. Mine is a small car and Dolly is a lot of big black lab. It takes major shoving to push her out of the way so I can get in and drive, because I am just too flustered to employ the same ruse I used on Sonny, to walk over to the other side of the car, open the door, and see if excitedly saying “Come on Dolly! Look what I have” in an animated voice while patting the front seat will work on her, too. Finally, she clumsily moves back to the passenger seat and sits rigidly, because she wants to look out the OTHER way and needs to turn around, but it is awkward for her to shift positions in such a tight spot. She finally readjusts and makes herself comfortable, she sighs in relief and/or exhaustion and drapes herself over the gear shift and console, her head in my lap, an ear dangling in my coffee. We are finally ready so I start the car and drive. She remains this way next to me on the front seat with her head in my lap, all the way to Michi’s house, while Sonny rides in back with his head blissfully stuck out the window biting the wind.

In all this commotion, I completely forgot to bring my lunch from home, my coffee had Dolly hair in it, Sonny ran around their yard in joyous lunacy when we got there and I was afraid he would run out into the street and get hit by a car, Jim and Michi were still in bed and I had to wake them up, Dolly pooped next to their driveway then wandered off into the neighbor’s yard in a daydream, and I think I forgot my checkbook and might have to drive back to my house to get it after all before I go to the vet ….. To top it off I am hungry for my forgotten lunch, and I feel fairly certain that we might be facing this exact sort of pandemonium, in reverse, in order to get home later on tonight!

And THAT was the simple act of taking my dogs on a field trip to Michi’s house for the day.