Monday, December 19, 2011

# 156 - Travels with Dogs

This past week, Stefie and I made a road trip home from Dallas together. For anyone who looks at the Texas map, you will see that Dallas is WAY upward on the Texas map and Houston is WAY down South. And Texas is indeed BIG. So that distance between the way up and the way down is quite a long distance. After leaving Heather's town outside of Dallas, we had about a 300 mile trip in front of us.

Since we live South of Houston, that means we get to enjoy another 35 miles of traveling through Houston to get to the South side to reach our town. But, our town is still in the same county as Houston. Harris county is mighty big --- our city is in the same county as Houston; Harris County holds many cities.

So, we two gals are making this trip home...a five hour road night. Not a good idea to begin with, but we were determined to be home in the wee morning hours.

As I'm driving along the darkened Texas highway, it began to be rather scary as we girls logged a good two hours on the road with only endless land on each side of us. There were no places safe to pull over. No towns. No gas stations. No lights. It was raining and dark and kind of scary. And I don't scare easy.

However, we had the two big dogs with us. They love to travel and they were lying in the backseat, happy as can be.

The following dog pictures were taken on the trip up to Dallas, in daylight, but they give you the idea of what we're traveling with.

Did I mention that Howdy is an Australian Shepherd and
likes to be REALLY CLOSE to his "flock?"
Then, I glanced down at my speedometer and noticed that I was trucking along, in the Dodge truck, our Texas Cadillac, at 87 miles per hour. No, I'm not normally a speed demon, but we were out on the open Texas road, alone, with no traffic and the truck rode so smooth that I had no idea that we were traveling at that fast rate of speed.

It hit me, I looked over at Stefie --- well --- I tried to look over at her as she sat in the passenger seat, but it was difficult because we had Belle the Yorkie in her kennel sitting on the front middle console because it turns out...Belle is not a traveling dog...she had been vomiting and vomiting. Poor thing. But, I looked over at Stefie and said, "We better make sure my driver's license and the insurance is close at hand because my foot is awful heavy tonight."

Howdy is so obsessed with staying on guard that he can't even rest.
We could not put the truck on cruise control because we were going through hills, sharp curves and unknown parts of highway that made travel a bit safer at adjustable speeds.

Stefie had all the necessities ready, just in case I got pulled over by a Texas Peace Officer. And then the next road problem hit me. I glanced behind me and looked at our two dogs lying in the backseat. I immediately dropped my speed because I recognized what a serious problem we would be forced to confront if an officer tried to approach the truck, especially at night. Our dogs are wonderful dogs, but they are animals and they are geared for protection.

I began to contemplate how I'd handle it. If an officer pulled us over, I'd have to first let him know that we are traveling and that we are armed women, per a police officer's preferred mode of WANTING to know if the driver is packing. I would hope to warn the officer to please stay back and let me exit the vehicle because of our dog companions. Of course, all of this would work in a perfect scenario, but my life is not known for going super smooth...I would picture it going down like this...

I'm going 85 miles per hour, the police sirens and lights appear out of nowhere and jump in behind me.

I slow down and drift slowly to the shoulder, crack my window, and put my hands on the steering wheel, as if I am already a criminal.

Pulling to a stop, the dogs are already standing up and alert because we've stopped moving.

The officer begins to walk up to my truck door and the dogs are watching out the back window while issuing loud growls and threatening grumblings. I yell out, "For your own safety, please don't come any closer, we have large dogs and weapons!"

Okay --- redo that last part --- It might be more acceptable if we would say, "We are traveling with our farm dogs (hey..I DO have chickens), we are obeying Texas law, but we are a mother and daughter traveling by ourselves, so we have brought self-protection. Could I step out so that the dogs won't be too agitated?"

Howdy is looking out at the Texas pasture-land..."All those cattle to herd
and I'm stuck inside this truck."

Then, the trick would have been to actually step out of the truck without the dogs wanting and trying to be at my side protecting me. I'm sure Howdy would have put on his "manly" bark and Lyla would have shown her serious side of dogness. They might have even tried to jump the seat to get up front and out the door with me, as they've been known to do in moments of great concern.

I've seen Howdy exhibit strong determination that will shock you when he sets his mind to do something particular. Shepherds are known for being intelligent enough to follow endless commands, but they are also known for making independent decisions when necessary to protect one of their flock.

Deputy Dave comes home in uniform every day, but that doesn't mean that our dogs like other men in uniform. Overall, our dogs are accustomed to being in a houseful of girls and only one they are very leery of men. In fact, sometimes my father will come over for a visit and it will take a couple of minutes for Howdy to realize that he's a "friend" and not rawhide.

Thankfully, the dreaded traveling scenario did not happen; I was able to keep decent control of my speed and I guess the rain kept the cops from wanting to stop any one on the road. I'm so happy that we made it home safe and sound. It might have been tense to be pulled over by the cops. It would probably have been dangerous for all involved. Just in case, my daughter would have had her IPhone turned on and set on the dashboard to record the entire thing.

I'm sure Belle would've been ready to do battle as well, but she was such a sick little dog. We'll never be able to travel with her because she became deathly ill and dehydrated from so much vomiting, even while medicated. I've never seen a dog have motion sickness like that before, and I never want to see it again.

Two girls and three dogs in a Dodge truck heading down the Texas highway with a 38 and a 9mil can be quite a formidable group.

And yes, he will fall asleep sitting or standing up.

It's a good thing that our theory of handling a traffic stop was not tested.


Leigh said...

Lana, I really enjoyed this post, I love how the imagination can set things up! It also reminded me of living in Texas, and the long open roads, the way Texans drive, and how they don't mind the miles. Good memories.

LindaG said...

Our truck is that way, too. It's easy to speed.

I'm glad you didn't have to test your plan. The cop probably would have been a wiener and made things worse by getting all freaked out.