Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Barley's First Road Trip

Sometimes, I forget that my dog is not as big and brave as she'd like the world to think she is. She's calmed down so much since I brought her home that I forget that the first year of our life together she was never relaxed. When I got up, she got up. She would be on edge for 30 minutes before she could curl back up and rest. I would avoid getting up for drinks, snacks, or even to go to the bathroom just to avoid starting the process all over again.

For the last couple years, she's been a happy-go-lucky pup. When we adventure, she wags her tail (and not in the anxious way) the whole time. When we are at home, she goes off on her own and snuggles in a bed, curls up on the love seat, or plays with her toys.

So, when I decided to pack of the pets for a 12-hour Thanksgiving road trip, I thought Barley would embrace it.

I was wrong.

We left after our agility class and drove halfway there. We didn't get to the hotel until 2 a.m. and I thought my girl would settle down and go right to sleep.  After all, she had been excellent the entire 6 hours in the car and when it's bedtime at home, she hops up on the bed and doesn't move until morning.

Instead, I got this.
This is not my bed.
 She refused to lie down. She just jumped on and off the bed for almost an hour.

Whose ears are those in that mirror?
Then she stretched out on the bed and stared at her reflection in the mirror.

Hotels with window seats are the best!
Soth is a seasoned traveler--he flew from NM to Pittsburgh our first Christmas together and during the return trip we missed our connecting flight and had to stay in a hotel; he traveled with me when we moved from NM to OH--he travels well and doesn't even need sedatives for long car trips.  He loved every second of being in the hotel. Our room had a window seat that looked out over the parking lot and he hopped up behind the curtains and stayed there almost all night. He didn't even eat all of his dinner because he was so busy watching.

Finally, Barley settled in for the night and I fell asleep around 3. Unfortunately, around 6, people started opening their doors and making noise in the hallway--which I wouldn't have noticed, but Barley noticed and every time a door slammed shut, she hopped off the bed and ran to the door and growled. It was not a restful night and I probably would have gotten just as much rest if I had kept driving through the night.

When I finally gave up on sleeping and got up to get ready, Barley and Soth settled in to watch Good Morning America. Too bad I couldn't have put it on for them earlier.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised she was nervous.  After all, she's been spending most her life living in a gangsta's paradise. (Ok, not really--we just heard the song on the radio tonight, so I had to work it in.) She's been with me for 3 of 4 years of life, so clearly it hasn't been her whole life.  But whatever happened in that first year of her life taught her that the world is a scary place that she has to react to in order to survive.

We got on the road to get to my parents' house to make it to town in time for mystery beers at a pizza place with my dad.

My GPS wanted me to go where?! Promise I was stopped at a gas station when I took this--no taking pics and driving for this girl!
Barley was equally anxious at my parents' new house. She loved seeing my family and their dog (and didn't try to eat their cat), but she was not sure where her place was. She paced and wandered from room to room. She didn't relax until we got her crate out and put her bed in it; then she curled up to rest.

We did get to explore some new trails, and Barley was her usually happy self then.

Trails in Alabama make me smile.

Things are still green in Alabama in November!
After a couple days, Barley settled down more. There was something in the new house for everyone.  The upstairs hallway overlooks the family room, so Barley could watch through the railings and keep an eye on her "flock" from up above.

Their house is full of windows from top to bottom, which was perfect for Soth. There's a big, plush carpet that patches of sun streamed through all day long.  He also enjoyed perching on the back of the piano and watching the squirrels. One day, a squirrel ran along the outside window sill and drove him crazy!

Barley's favorite part was their fenced-in dog run. Since Barley can't go to dog parks with other dogs and we don't have a fenced in yard, she never gets to just run outside. She always has to be on a leash. When we took her out into the dog run, she ran laps around and around the yard. Then we played with a ball.

 She moved so much that almost all of our playtime pictures were blurry.

Faster than a streak of lightning!
For me, there was good beer. Dad took us to a local brewery where he befriended the staff while he was living the bachelor life before the old house was packed up and Mom joined him in town. We celebrated my baby brother's birthday there.

We made it home after another two long days of car time, but my pup did a better job during her second night in the hotel. She still spent a lot of time bouncing on and off the bed when we got in, but once I turned out the lights, she curled up beside me and slept through the night.

Overall, it was a great visit with the family, even if it was far more car time than I care to have again any time soon. It was also a much needed reminder of just how much my girl still needs me to help her navigate the world even though she's made immense progress in our time together.

We've got some big dates coming up in the near future--on the 9th Barley turns 4! Then one month from today we'll celebrate our 3-year anniversary together. I can't believe it's only been 3 years.  It seems like a lifetime.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and enjoyed as much good Thanksgiving food as I did!


  1. It does seem like a lifetime! It's hard to imagine life without the pets. I can't wait to go explore Alabama! Less than a month until I see you!!

  2. This post reminded of me of this:


    We've decided to not try flying with Memphis for similar reasons ;-)

    1. I love that the simple dog kind of looks like Barley. Luckily, once she knows where her spot is, she calms down--so as soon as the crate came out, her anxiety went away and she loves riding in the car, so there was no vomit cycle to add excitement to our trip :) Soth was an excellent flying buddy when I flew with him, but he got to ride as a carry on--I don't think I could ever fly with Bar, either; she's strictly a road dog.