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Monday, January 12, 2009
My trip south
During the early morning hours of Christmas, I got really sick. I was a little burpy when we went to bed the night before. When mom was wrapping presents I just wanted to be in her lap—but wait—that's true all of the time. Around 3am mom jumped out of her skin—and the bed—when she heard that I was sick. She took me downstairs. I wanted to drink some water, she let me, and all that came back up several minutes later. The strange thing was that for the next two hours I just kept spewing a watery mix in volumes. Where did it all come from we wondered? Mom cleaned up after each session, but after a few times she looked at me and raised her voice impatiently, "What is wrong with you, Betty?" She felt bad for saying that, but I know it was laced with fear. Around 5am, there was what seemed like a fireworks finale, I just stood there helplessly emptying all my stomach and intestinal contents in every direction. Mom was beginning to panic, but she handled the situation well. To make it worse, it was a holiday. It seems each of us likes to pick a holiday to be sick, when the vet's office is closed. It drives her crazy.

Why was I so violently sick? Mom didn't have an explanation. It comforts her when she can explain away the issue and learn from her mistakes. She had me on a consistent food that she had sought the world over to find—the one dry food that has the fewest ingredients in it. Although the week before she ran out of that food and substituted another high-quality one, and I rejected it within a few minutes. The others' tummies are more forgiving. But I had been on my regular food for a week, so we're not sure why I got sick...unless it was the thumbnail size dried banana/chicken treat I had earlier.

That early Christmas morning, a warm breeze was melting the snow down to a thin coating. It was foggy too. After a while my stomach had calmed down, and she and I slept on the couch for a couple of hours as the sun came up. Needless to say I didn't eat when the others did later that morning. She had made these great stockings cut out of brown paper and sewn together the night before. She made one for each of us and tucked in a special treat. I got a round flat pigskin chew that she let me carry around later in the day. I was so thrilled with this thing—a pigskin potato chip. Miles had one too. It seemed his was better than mine, and to him, mine was better than his. Siblings play those games. Cookie got a rawhide treat. Mom doesn't like those things, but it was a holiday. Cali got a smokey bone and a toy—a rubber bowling pin with a sound, as it turns out, spooked her. She does love toys. View our video.

Mom wanted me to enjoy my gift and was happy that for all the chewing I did, I really didn't make a dent. So nothing solid went into my stomach for her to potentially see again. She was hoping that I would be well enough for our trip down to North Carolina in a couple of days to meet my grandmom and granddad. After the holiday, I was fed chicken bits and rice. I was feeling good. All was staying down.

On Monday mom packed the car and put a plush dog bed inside my crate and positioned the front of it so that I had a clear view of her in the driver's seat. Usually around town, I sit in her lap, but not on this long trip where fast driving along interstates was involved. I was a model passenger. I curled up and slept most of the way. That means I got almost 10 hours of rest. Two were spent at a rest stop where she got a killer piece of grease wheel. I got to eat some of the pizza bone.

We got to grandmom's house at 12:30am. It was warm outside! Mimi, she's called, fell in love with me. I played keep-away at first, doing that howl that I do. I had the best time amusing myself and everyone else. I had complete attention and no need to share with other dogs. I was noisy and playful, and sometimes full of mischief. Mom loved it. She seems to think I came out of my shell a bit. Thinking that being home is stressful at times being among the other dogs. It's been stressful with the humans as well. I guess it all seeped into my skin. But down here in the South, we were all just chillin'. Every morning I jumped on Mimi's bed and licked her legs. It tickled. Mom also got more comfortable in her skin while we were there. It was nice to see. I had my potato chip with me. Mimi kept asking mom to leave me with her, that I would be well taken care of. That was a sign she really loved me. But wherever mom goes, I go.

I met granddad as well, he's an interesting character. I met his crazy dog Dale. I couldn't even focus on that dog, she wouldn't stay still. He held onto me tight as Dale was scaring me a little. But I was ok.

I spent a week in NC and had a great time. Mom was very careful making sure I stayed on a bland diet of only my dry food mixed with water. She was feeding me twice a day. If she gave me extra food, it was real meat bits. I was gaining weight, too. She believed I needed this time away to get healthier. Of course she tried to make excuses for why I was doing better physically...must have been a result of me doing well emotionally.

The following Monday, mom packed up the Jeep and we headed to Maryland to stay with mom's cousin. We spent the night with her cousin Paula. We were at Southfork! The house was huge and in the middle of a thousand acres of farmland. I had a great time mixing with Paula's family. I discovered the fun of chasing the cat. But then the tables turned and their big dog chased me!

The next day we were off to New Jersey to stay with her high school friend Michelle. They talked all night about high school days. And so the next morning, we drove along the river road slowly while mom eyeballed the NYC skyline before we got on the GW bridge. I think she secretly wants to live there. Then we were back on the interstate headed back home to a cold Connecticut.

But now in my new skin, I feel comfortable and confident in it and was ready to be home again.

until next post,

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is a site dedicated to the memory of a special chocolate lab whose nickname was "chocolate peanut"...and now we (2 frenchies and 2 shorthairs) carry on her spirit of grabbing life by the paws...check in on us often as we have a lot to say

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