Sometimes traveling with our pets turns into a bit more of an adventure than we’d planned. Getting lost in the middle of nowhere was an eye-opening experience for Lauren after she loaded up her two dogs and took off through west Texas and Eastern New Mexico. It’s a great reminder to all us to be prepared for the unexpected … thanks for sharing, Lauren!
My childhood vacations were spent wedged between my two brothers and my large black lab in the back seat of our brown minivan. At age ten, this was a huge point of bickering and arguing for my siblings and I. We would play rock, paper, scissors to determine who would take the seat next to our ever smelly and flatulent family dog. And, being the youngest, I always lost to some item in the game that I would realize years later my older brothers had just made up.
But secretly, I loved sitting next to Obie. Sure, he smelled. And yes, he was a worse seat hog than my teenage brother. But he loved the ride and it was impossible to not love the ride with him. He would press his wet nose up to the window and his eyes would follow every passing sign or tree with a new sense of wonder that was just infectious. Those trips were the start of my dog traveling days.
During my senior year of college when I finally lived off campus and in a place with a small yard, I adopted two miniature dachshunds. Ellie the red short hair dachshund and Taco the male black and tan became my little companions. I went to school in Texas, but grew up in New Mexico, so for my school breaks I would make the 800 mile drive with my two pups home. The route I took wanders down long two lane highways through the deserted towns of nowhere, west Texas and Eastern New Mexico. The drive was about 11 hours and Ellie and Taco were just puppies when we made the first trip. But the trip that was most memorable was the final trip home after graduation.
I had my small car stuffed full with all of my belongings. I had to fit everything I owned and had accumulated in the last four years – and that included my two adolescent dachshunds. The car was completely packed and my friend was helping me make the drive. This meant that we had fashioned a dachshund-sized play/sleeping area on the floor of the car where we could sit next to them as we traded off driving.
The dogs were champs at the drive by now, but had never had to do it in such a cramped car. They did great. But this trip was a drive to challenge all other drives before. Taco and Ellie slept soundly most of the way. We stopped regularly at deserted gas stations and let them frolic in a patch of grass, but for the most part the engine just lulled them to sleep. My friend and I, however, were not so lucky.
We got a flat tire on the one stretch of road that gets busy. Once that was fixed, we missed our chance to get gas for the next 150 miles. We decided on a long detour just to find a gas station rather than being stranded in the Texan desert, but then we couldn’t find our way back to the main highway. I came to find that West Texas towns (population 203) can be less than helpful about directing you towards your desired major highway.
But the entire time, my dogs traveled happily. Even as my friend and I were freaking out and stressing beyond belief, they were confident we would get where we needed to go. Just looking back and seeing their small content faces assured me that we would get home eventually. It was on this trip – this terrible stressful trip – that I realized my little dachshunds had that same spirit Obie had when I was a child. The road was an adventure and they were content as long as you were at their side.
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey and you are invited to contact her by email at blauren99 @gmail.com.
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