The owner-operator of Uncle Markie's Home for Wayward Pups glanced up from the computer and said, "You're going to be gone, what? Two weeks?"
"A month." As soon the words hit air, I recognized the truth, so I added as if I'd meant to say it all along: "...and a month is too long to leave the small dog with you."
Uncle Markie assured me that he could work it out, but it was too late. Lilly spends a lot of time with him, but honestly, he didn't sign up to co-parent the snorting creature.
So, an elderly Boston Terrier with an unknown travel history and some anxiety issues, plus modern-day plane travel -- what could possibly go wrong? I spent the night in Chicago once on this same route; it's not like having a dog along could have compounded that misery.
Well, okay, better living through chemistry. And while her new vet was willing to cop her a sedative, he did remind me that the old dog has a pretty significant heart murmur. As in: don't overdose her because she's on (and my long-suffering friends can join me on this chorus) "borrowed time."
That's six hours from open range to open range for the little dog. I kept thinking that the timeframe should pose no problems, since the small dog sleeps about 22 out of every 24. (Insert the sound of ironic laughter and the single word repeated: "Chicago.")
Let me just thank all those folks who gave me kindly, friendly, interested, and pitying looks as I hauled the disgruntled-but-brave small dog across the length of Philadelphia International in a small heavy-dernier nylon pet carrier.
Also thank you to the flight attendants who pretended not to notice when I did not squash the small dog entirely under the seat in front of me. And a really big cheer to the seat-mates who pretended not to notice when the small dog began to pant and fart with nervousness at the instant the jet engines revved up. She didn't actually stop until the next day.
Lilly and I have agreed to never discuss the other thing that happened inside the pet carrier, but let me assure you, dear reader, that no amount of Purell... well, enough about that. We all survived and I didn't have to rent a car to get there.
She staggered like a drunken sailor when I took her to the curb for a bio-break. She slept in the carrier while we ate dinner outside that evening. I had to carry her the last block of her walk. She was still sleeping it off 44 hours later.
At the 45th or so hour, however, she woke up ready to rumble. "What the --!? " she seemed to be saying. And, "What a f$%^d-up dream I had! And where the hell is my biscuit?!"
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