Just recently I was packing for Abby and Ember’s – my two Labradors – nine day visit to their Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I mentioned to my daughter Emily, who’s in her early twenties, that I had clearly gone “overboard” with packing. She agreed with me. It was one of those moments were your child is brutally frank and it had me giggling.
I board dogs when owners go away and see all different levels of organization when clients drop off their dogs. I look forward to the “hand-off” as each and every family has their own style. Some dogs arrive with food in plastic shopping bags. Sometimes it has not been pre-measured and the food runs out part way through the board. Other families are the polar opposite and bring meals in individual packed baggies or Tupperware container – one per meal – so I can easily dump them into a bowl at mealtime. Some dogs bring their own embroidered canvas bag with their things; often, their names are stitched onto their bag. I wish I had one of those as a child going to a sleep over!
Anyways, recently I have been preparing our “twins” to head away to a wonderful time in the country. They could not be in better hands. Our dogs get up early because they are adjusted to my husband Ken’s work schedule. My in-laws are in the seventies and early risers so it is the perfect fit!
I found myself creating a list on a sticky note of items to not forget. Pack their favorite dog toys, their dog beds and store-bought treats. Then the sticky notes started to multiply. For example, one note told me to get Ember a dog-tag with their address. She has only been with us eleven months; we adopted her at the age of eight last May. Since then, she has never been away without us. I like to tell myself that that’s the only reason I’ve been a hyper-diligent packer; however, I might just be a crazy dog lady. Another note told me to wash Abby’s bed, pack her pills, buy gifts for the Grandparents as a thank-you, and to pack Dowton Abbey for Grandma (Season 1 and 2).
I also looked at the notes I had written my mother-in-law outlining Abby’s recent surgery. I did not want to forget anything regarding their care.
Once things were organized I found that I had accumulated a pile of things to go “up North.” Again, the thought occurred to me that I was being crazy and that they couldn’t possibly need all this stuff.
My brother-in-law Kevin pulled up to transport our “girls” on the three hour drive to Wiarton, Ontario. I found myself explaining things to him all over again so as not to forget anything for my nonverbal senior gals. Our ladies were happy to drive off with him in his car. They adore him and it shows. In the minutes after he left I had panicky moment where I wondered if I had forgotten anything. I breathed a sigh of relief once I realized I hadn’t – knock on wood – and started to prep for dinner.
The house seems so quiet without dogs in it. Emily returned from the gym and said it was so weird not being greeted by our dogs at the door as they always do. I noticed the lack of their presence when I was vacuuming – the dogs really hate the noise and often flee to our basement.
The lesson to take from all of this I think is how much our family loves our dogs. Our home is not the same without them. I realized that, after all, being a crazy dog lady is fine with me.
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