A Brief Adventure
I’ve never been a dog person. Don’t understand why people want to complicate their lives with the sloppy, messy things. Wouldn’t have a girlfriend if I had to follow after her with poop bags, so why would I want a dog?
Then we went to Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving, and Gail fell in love with her son’s cockapoo, Justin.
We got home, and Gail was online instantly searching for a cockapoo puppy. She found one in the tiny burg of Nappannee, Indiana.
The next two weeks were spent preparing for a new arrival and deciding on a name. We chose “Claudia” in honor of the artists Claude Monet and Camille Claudel. I texted that to the breeder so he could start addressing her properly.
When the pooch got to 8 weeks old, I was dispatched to fetch her–everyone we know is vehemently opposed to shipping dogs in the hold of an airplane.
Monday, I flew to Chicago. We landed just after sunset, and the approach was spectacular:
Don’t ever rent a car from Thrifty at O’Hare airport. I stood in the 12º cold for 30 minutes while 8 Hertz buses, 8 National/Avis buses, 7 from Enterprise and 6 from Alamo passed by before one, tiny, overcrowded bus from Thrifty arrived to take me to the rental facility.
Then they gave me a Hyundai Sonata that is either badly designed or had a broken seat, because I could not move the seat back far enough to drive it. I had to explain that they cannot rent me a car I physically can not drive.
Safely ensconced in a Toyota Camry, I drove almost 3 hours, passing through Chicago rush hour traffic onto the Indiana Toll Road and thence to Goshen, IN, the nearest town to Nappannee with a decent motel.
Way too darned early the next morning, I was up and excited and on my way through the snowy Indiana countryside to meet the breeder and my new pet.
Driving on country roads towards Nappannee, I was suddenly in traffic moving at 3 miles an hour. Here is the reason:
This is Amish country. There was a big fight years ago about the red lights and triangle, which the Amish considered “adornment” and therefore unacceptable, but after a few buggies were rear ended at high speed they bowed to reality.
(I’ve been writing this for a week now, with the intervention of Christmas and the constant interruptions of a new dog who needs petting. I will finish it. Life must go on, even with a new puppy in the house.)
The breeder turned out to be a young Amish man who has a farm and breeds pups on the side. I turned off the road to find a large brick house, barns, silos, outbuildings of many descriptions and deep snow that made me nervous that I’d get stuck. The man was about 35 or 40, with a beard but no moustache as is the Amish way. He was wearing broadfall pants, which have a large flap in the front and no zipper. He must be some version of “reform” Amish, since the house had electricity and he had a cell phone.
There were two tiny puppies playing in the office, one of whom was Claudia. We talked for a few minutes, he gave me a starter kit of supplies, and then Claudia and I set off for O’Hare and the flight home.
Of course, I had to stop a couple of times to put her up on the dash and take photos for the folks at home.
If you want to fly with your dog, you have to make a doggie reservation, have a carrier that will fit under the seat and pay another $125. I did all that, or at least the Travel Goddess did. Under the seat can be crowded for older dogs, but there was plenty of room for Claudia.
Sometimes the universe tells you you are on the right path. This was our gate for the flight from Chicago home:
I have a shirt with the America Airlines logo on it–purchased at their store in DFW. People tend to think I am/was an employee when I wear it, and I get treated extra nicely. That, plus the fact that I was travelling with an impossibly cute puppy, made me a hit on the plane. The rules prohibit taking your pet out of the carrier, but that was no problem and she rode home on my lap.
Arriving at SFO, I could not find my car key and thought it had been lost in the security theater in Chicago, so we came home in an Uber. (The key turned up in the dog’s carrier and I went back by BART to fetch the car then next day.)
And now came the best part, introducing Claudia to her new mom.
Our lives are totally disrupted, and we’re loving it. We take her everywhere, and she is always the star of the show. I’ve become one of those doofusses you see standing outside in the cold waiting for the dog to poop–which she doesn’t understand and just wants to wander around and attack leaves. I get nothing done because I have to stop and play with the pup every 90 seconds. I know the location of every pet store in the county, in case there is a chew toy emergency. Our always tidy house is a wreck, and we don’t care.
God help us, I’m a dog person.