Traveling the highway with pets can be comforting especially when the journey is not for pleasure. Being a member of the sandwich generation, caring for elders, I have spent more time in Las Vegas in the last year than at home in Los Angeles. Often my travel companions were my Salukis. This past summer Parker was my constant companion easing the burden of the trip while creating a special bond.
Instead of putting miles, wear and tear on my own car, renting a hybrid seemed the optimal. Racking up over 20,000 miles in the last year confirmed my logic. It also made the 4 -5 hour drive faster knowing I need not stop for fuel. The car was a Nissan Altima. Not a large car but it did the job and could hold at least 3 Salukis when needed.
The story of Parker is a sad one. Six years ago I placed Parker with the most wonderful home in Atlanta. Parker was loved to no end. Unfortunately life takes some turns that no one expects or wants but we have to follow its course. In this case Parker’s owner passed away suddenly. Parker and his two best friends had to make some sudden adjustments. As a breeder, my contract stated that Parker return to me. Getting Parker to Los Angeles was a feat in itself. Staying with friends along the journey, Parker was doted on and given a special blue blingy collar. Flying a dog from the mid-west in extreme heat is troublesome. Between the weather conditions, flight restrictions, crate size, direct flights and timing made it harder to get him back to Los Angeles. In the end American was able to fly his 500 crate from Chicago to LAX.
Upon arrival in Los Angeles, Parker who was used to a household of male dogs where he was alpha, had to deal with a houseful of female dogs and our alpha bitch. Our girls were exuberant over a new potential playmate but in Parker’s eyes I am sure this seemed very daunting to say the least. Basically Parker was glued to me and watched every move I made, following me wherever I went.
To add to matters, one of my girls came into season. Not having experienced a female in heat with a male in my home and not wanting an accidental litter, my husband and I decided that this may be the time to resume travels to Las Vegas to sell his family’s condo. Thus began the first of five trips to Las Vegas.
Parker and my first trip to Sin City was to interview agents and pick the painter and carpets. All this occurred in 106-degree muggy weather. In addition, I was not going to come home empty handed. Parker became my assistant overseer in the process. As Parker and I bonded we spent the day at the condo loading boxes, throwing out unneeded paraphernalia and junk that had been collected over the last 20 years. Parker and I made numerous trips to the Salvation Army and library to donate items.
Picking a Realtor was interesting. As an agent myself, the shoe was now on the other foot. Selling property as a successor trustee made things different plus requirements and fees in Nevada are unlike those in California. Parker and I interviewed five agents and decided on one.
Nightly after temperatures dropped we would trek over to Trader Joes to pick up our nightly repast. Our home away from home was the Residence Inn. Every night we strolled around the hotel grounds as well as those of the Marriott.
Our first journey home had the car laden or I should say overloaded as Parker and I succeeded in our goal for this trip.
Our second trip involved overseeing the painting and replacement of the carpets. Again Parker and I bonded through the cleaning out and overseeing of the work being accomplished at the condo.
By our third trip Parker and I had the routine down pat. With the condo staged for sale I was ready to finally list the property. One little hitch occurred when I left Parker alone in the condo. Parker did not like being left alone since abandonment from the loss of his owner was an issue. To show his dissatisfaction Parker chose to inaugurate the new carpets. Try cleaning new carpets when you lack the proper supplies.
Fortunately the condo sold quickly. Emptying my inlaw’s home was our final task. Howling to show his dislike of being left alone as I loaded the car, I gave Parker the option of staying in the cool air-conditioned condo or assisting me on my numerous trips to the car. Parker chose the later by diligently following me without lead back and forth as we loaded the car to the gills in the 100 plus temperatures. Returning home, Parker and I were sandwiched between boxes, lamps, stamp collections, paintings and what ever else I could stuff into the Nissan. Utilizing every space possible Parker was seated on a throne of linens that lay underneath his car bedding.
Now looking back, for a dog adjusting to a new home, this special travel arrangement was probably the smartest thing I could have done to adapt Parker as it enabled him to feel special and extremely loved. This bonding helped both of us get through some trying times. If ever one wants to really bond with their dogs, I highly recommend traveling together.