I was already in the living room waiting for him Saturday morning when he got out of bed. “Today’s gonna be fun!” Dad said again and every muscle in my body tensed up. We went for a walk and rushed back home. He was packing things in a bag while I waited for my breakfast to be served. “Come on, let’s go!” he said, all upbeat and happy. I followed him and wondered when breakfast was coming. We went to the garage, and without my leash on, I made my way to the car. “Good boy knows where the car is!” he enthused and again, I was all Duh. How many times do you think it takes me? He folded down the back seat as he did when we went on that endless drive. I put my front legs up on the landing of the car and he lifted my back legs up. I hobbled myself onto the bed and sat down. I was starving.
He drove a little while, stopped, and hopped out of the car. I waited for him for a few minutes, wondering what was going on and soon he came out with Joe, a guy I’d met a few times before when he came to our place. Joe seems nice enough and scratches my ears the way I like and he smelled of another dog; one I’ve never met. Dad turned around in his seat and said, “Are you okay back there?” and I’m thinking, I’d be better if I had some breakfast, Dad! but I looked okay to him so he pulled away, and it would be another hour before we stopped and got out of the car. I stepped out of the car with a little guidance from Dad and I felt some gravel for a minute then lush green grass that felt great on my pads. Joe was talking about something called “locks” and the “canals” and I tried to pay attention but I just started to roam around on my own but keeping a sharp eye on Dad’s whereabouts. It was pretty and it smelled great. I found a few inspirational spots where I did little business and then we got back into the car. Joe stood and watched as Dad helped me up. Joe smiles a lot.
We drove a little further and they both left the car while I started to doze off on my bed. When they came back, they smelled of food – meat and sweet stuff, and again I’m thinking Hello? Breakfast?. They were talking in the front seat about music and things I couldn’t understand, and we stopped again. Joe was telling Dad this was America’s oldest spa and it was where some dude named Washington took a bath. I’m thinking Big deal but the grass around it was soft and I liked the smells. I went back to the car while they roamed around a little. Once they got back and opened the car door, a gust of cold air came in and I shivered a little. Turn on the heat, Dad. At least let me be warm if I’m going to be this hungry. He did and soon the car was toasty, and I fell asleep.
The car started to go around a lot of corners and the road got really rough. I was shifting this way and that and at one point, I thought I was going to barf. The car seemed to settle in a slump, and both Joe and Dad hopped out and came to get me. The ground was soft and muddy, and covered in leaves. We walked down by a river and I made sure to keep my footing because there was no way I was going in that water. I looked out and it was a beautiful view. My stomach was growling but the air was crisp and the smells were great.
We walked around to this small cabin up on the hill and behind it had what Joe called an “outhouse,” and when Dad and him starting talking about it, I beat a hasty retreat. They took me back to the car then disappeared behind the house for a long time. They came back around, looking a little messy but they were smiling and joking. Dad came into the car and yelled, “Brrr,” and I had to agree with him. It was cold and the heater was soon full blast. We drove over those same bumpy roads again only this time I had myself braced for it. After a while, we stopped and they hopped out. When they came back, they smelled like meat again and I started to get really pissed off. We drove down the hill and onto that road where Dad goes super fast and soon we were back in front of where we started – Joe’s house.
I looked up into the front seat and saw Dad kiss Joe. I hadn’t ever seen him do that before with anyone other than Daddy, before Daddy disappeared, and it kind of embarrassed and shocked me. I looked away. Something was going on in the front seat for a while when all of a sudden, Joe screamed out, “That’s my neighbor!”, there was a lot of sudden commotion, and Dad pulled the car away really fast. We drove a short distance and then Joe and Dad kissed again, and Joe hopped out and said good night to me. I looked up at him and felt his hand on my ears. He closed the door and soon, Dad and me pulled into our garage.
We hurried upstairs, all the while Dad apologizing for the lack of food for me all day long, and he promised something special. Dad delivered. He made me a big bowl of this new stuff I had never tasted and it was delicious. He said, “This is going to make you feel better, Beez.” That’s what he calls me for short. “Beez,” although I don’t understand why that’s any shorter than Bob. That’s okay, though, as long as he calls me at all, I’m happy.
After dinner, we cuddled on the couch and Dad fell asleep with the TV on. He woke up in the middle of the night and we went to bed. It was cold in the bedroom, him leaving the window open and all, and when we climbed into bed, he put the comforter around me, tucking me in and I fell asleep right away, nice and warm and next to my Dad.