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Leaving Town

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

dog wearing sunglasses sitting next to suitcase

I know it’s superstitious. I know it has no basis in reality. But just as it always seems to be a Sunday or a holiday when a dog has a veterinary emergency, “stuff” always seems to happen when I’m away. Dogs get sick, rattlesnakes show up…it goes on and on.

This time, traveling to present a two-day lecture in New Jersey, I had to be gone four days. The second night, I called my husband to chat. We were planning to Skype, but my internet connection at home had mysteriously gone down so he couldn’t get online. Maybe it was a good thing, because I didn’t need to see what he described—Bodhi had chewed a dog bed. It was an inexpensive one-ply foam type pad that had been purchased as a travel bed for Sierra back when we only had her. Bodhi had previously torn a small corner of it, and my husband had suggested that since Bodhi had been chewing a marrow bone on the bed, perhaps he’d gotten carried away when snorfling around for the crumbs. I’d been dubious, but had let it go. In my rush of preparations to leave town, I had never gotten around to patching it up, and the foam that was still sticking out would make an understandable target. The incident had apparently happened in the early morning, before my husband had gotten up.

I then learned there had been an extremely intense thunderstorm that had rocked the house and lasted most of the day. Fortunately, the dogs didn’t completely panic, although they did insist on sticking very close by my husband. It also hailed the following day. Those types of things don’t happen often in southern California! Naturally, I wished I’d been around to put Thundershirts on the dogs, give them marrow bones, and otherwise soothe them, but at least they did reasonably well.

But wait, there’s more! Have I mentioned the bobcat? While the dogs were snoozing, my husband had been gazing out the window and saw a large bobcat saunter past. These predator kitties don’t have a fear of much of anything, and in the past, they’ve walked right across our driveway. This one took a leisurely walk across the hillside in back of the house, down a few stairs, through the carport, and down the paved driveway. I was caught between worrying that the bobcat would incite the dogs to riot through the fence or worse, that the bobcat would try to climb the fence, and wishing I’d been home to grab my camera.

The following evening, I learned that Bodhi had torn up Sierra’s dog bed. This really bothered me. There had been no foam sticking out, no bones eaten on the bed; it was just more of Bodhi’s anxiety/overabundance of energy being taken out on the nearest object. I suppose I should be glad it wasn’t the couch again. After suggesting that on days when my husband could sleep in, that he set an alarm, wake up, put the dogs outside, then go back to sleep (which he is somehow able to do), we hung up.

When I returned home after a very long day of travel, the first thing I saw was an Animal Control vehicle parked at the entrance to the long dirt road that leads to our home. I got out and inquired about what was going on, and was told that a dead dog had washed up in a culvert after the storm. I asked what breed it was, and he said a Rottweiler mix. My heart was in my throat thinking that it might be my neighbor’s Rottie mix. Of his three dogs (all of which run loose much of the time), it’s the Rottie who has my heart. Fortunately, a quick call to the neighbor assured me that it wasn’t Suko after all. I did feel badly for whoever owned the dog and was probably still looking for it.

All in all, no major damage was done, unless you count the dog beds. When away from home, of course it’s better to think positive than to imagine the worst happening. But I know I’m far from being the only dog owner who’s noticed that things sure do seem to happen when you’re gone. Maybe I’ll have better luck next month when I travel to Missouri.


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