Traveling with Miss Lily, Heaven Help Us

When we adopted Miss Lily, or possibly when she adopted us, we told her she was going to have a much more exciting life than she would have as 'Diamond'. She belonged to a man and woman (okay, really the woman - what man names his dog Diamond?), she spent the entire day locked in a kennel while they were at work, she had an extensive pink wardrobe, took lots of baths and went for neighborhood walks. And that is all, and that is why the woman put her up for adoption. She was stifled.

We only groom her when her eyes disappear. She bathes in the kitchen sink when it's no longer avoidable, she has 8 grandkids who adore her, she has squirrels to chase in the back yard. A good amount of our grocery budget goes to chew toys and treats, which I can totally relate to. Most nights I can call a glass of wine, with chips and salsa or cheese nips dinner. And she flies or drives across the country multiple times a year. This year she flew three times and rode 7000 miles in a car, so she might be needing to get a frequent flier number? Now there's a life for a dog!

Yesterday we flew from DFW to Idaho, or actually to Spokane, Washington, with our first leg being 4 1/2 hours in the air to Seattle. Unlike me, she does not like to fly, and that may be because she can't read or knit. I'm quite content to sit there for hours on end, but she tends to scratch at her little travel bag and make barky sounds that sound like Angry Barbie, if Barbie could talk.

Knowing this, we went to the vet and got her drugs. I was amazed that our choice was xanax or something else, and we went with the something else, because the vet said the xanax could backfire and make her more anxious. We practiced drugging her the day before and she laid around looking weird-eyed, but calm. So yesterday we slipped her pills in with a glob of peanut butter that she readily slurped up, took her for a little walk to do her business, (which she didn't do, and this becomes an important fact I should have paid more attention to), and proceeded to the airport.

When you fly with a dog, they have to go in the place where your size 11 feet would normally, in a little bag and not a single limb can come out of the bag. She had a chew, a toy and a stinky cow hoof to keep her happy, but alas, as soon she started feeling the rumbling of the engines in her underside she remembered she did not like to fly, in spite of drugs. So the Angry Barbie barking started. And I got out the barking collar I'd sadistically bought her for Christmas and fastened it to her teensy, pitiful little throat, and within two barks she realized barking was not a good option. So she stopped. And I knitted and napped and read and it was lovely for the most part.

When we landed at the Seattle airport, which may have had about 99 gazillion people traveling for Christmas, we took her out of her little bag because we felt bad for her. We decided to let her do a little, teensy walkabout, and within ten seconds I realized she was behind me, on the leash, doing her business in the middle of the airport terminal floor. And I may have somewhat shouted, 'oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness' as she continued to squat in an unladylike fashion, dropping gifts on the floor for all to see. When Cub Sweetheart magically produced a poo bag out of his pocket I remembered why I chose him above all others. Engineers are always prepared, for anything.

We scraped up that teensy poo and what was left of our dignity and proceeded to buy questionable chicken salad sandwiches, eating out of our laps, and not judging a single person we saw, for we'd just seen plenty of judging to last the day.

We reloaded onto the plane, bark collar in place, and she seemed good to go, literally. But this little prop plane we were on had loud engines that fell in line with her underbelly, and as soon as it started up, so did the crazy scratching to get out. And in a lick of a second she somehow caught the zipper and pulled it and she was out, 8 lbs of 'let me out of here' running down the aisle of the plane. And it's possible the sweet, young flight attendant may have run up to us to frantically explain to us that dogs must stay in kennels, and we may have tried to explain to her that we concurred, but Lily had other plans. Cub Sweetheart retrieved her, shoved her back in the bag, and one of us may have had to ride with their size 11 clodhoppers settled on her head, pressing down a bit to not give her much wiggle room, and an hour later we were in Spokane, all three of us a little worn out from the ride.

I'm sure if I think about it long enough I'll find the sermon in it. The needing drugs to stay calm, getting from point A to B, the having to be shocked just a bit to stop complaining, the making a spectacle of myself in front of God and everybody, and the need to have something heavy on my head to make me just be still. It's there - I know it is, but last night we were too tired to think that deep; we were happy to hug the necks of all those we love and hold dear in Idaho, then we tuck ourselves into our bed - all three of us - before 10 pm, just happy to be done with the journey.

And maybe that's a little bit of what heaven feels like? A warm bed, comfy pajamas, head nestled into your pillow, curled up and warmed by being close to those you hold dear, who are curled up next to you? Knowing you can stay there forever because you've made the journey, even if you're a little worse for the wear. Last night that was as much sermon any of us could handle. 


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