I do enjoy some of the parts of travelling. I enjoy seeing new places and in particular meeting new people and getting to visit old friends that I may not have seen for ages. Since almost all my travelling has to do with dogs, showing them, judging them, visiting them, or whatever, it is of course a great pleasure.
But there are some things that are always very hard about travelling, and the greatest difficulty is leaving my dogs, even if it is for a few days.
I have never felt very worried about leaving family behind when I go away. I have confidence that they are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and of each other, and there are telephones, cars, friends, relatives, shops with anything they might need, doctors, police…not that they have ever had to use most of these things, but I know that the resources are available.
But the dogs! How can they possibly get along without me? No one else knows how to take care of them like I do, and they will miss me so much! I have terrible feelings of guilt when I pack my bags to get ready to leave. Of course there is someone reliable to stay and be responsible for them, armed with all my possible phone numbers, numbers of the vet, of friends that can help and advise, and anything else I can think of, but still, it is not me!!!
When I go away, Habibi goes to stay with my good friend who has a kennel. Habibi is entirely too clever and too strong a personality to leave at home with anyone other than me. There is no doubt in my mind that Habibi will immediately decide that he is in charge. At my friend’s place however, where he has spent a good deal of time both with me and without me since he was a small puppy, I know that he is secure, and that everyone there knows just who Habibi is and what he is capable of.
But I see him eyeing my bag as I pack, and when I take his bed down to the car, he knows for sure….I can see the resignation on his face.
I can also see him thinking about what new tricks he will try out on my friends at the kennel.
At home, I make sure that everything is in order, all dogs are clean and groomed, and everyone is in the proper place, where they have others to play with, but no one that they will want to argue with. This time, there are four week old puppies at home. It is a litter of collies, roughs and smooths, just starting to eat, and not yet running around and getting into trouble. My granddaughter who is the dog sitter this time has plenty of experience with puppies and has full instructions on what to do.
So I leave for four days (being almost at the end of the world here, two days spent travelling and two days spent with friends and dogs.)
When I am away, I am able, for the most part, to keep from being haunted by the fact that my dogs are left behind at home. I am busy and occupied. But from the minute I start packing my bag to go home, all sorts of scenarios start running through my mind about what might have happened, what the dogs have been doing and all sorts of wildly imaginative ideas. By the time I land, I am a ball of nerves, just wanting to get out of the airport as quickly as possible and get home.
My car is waiting in the airport lot, and on the way home, I pick up Habibi. He has, without a doubt, heard and identified my car from a kilometer away, and is standing waiting for me when I arrive. He greets me enthusiastically and tells me many stories of what he has been doing for the last four days, jumps into the car, and goes to sleep – everything is good now, we are on the way home.
When we arrive, of course I immediately make the rounds to say hello to everyone on four. Everyone is fine and happy and they look at me, saying, “What’s all the fuss? Life has gone on as usual!”
Well, not quite as usual. The puppies, as soon as I closed the door behind me, decided that they were big enough to climb out of the whelping box and run around the house. Jenny decided that it was boring without me and pushed down the fence into the garden and chewed up a number of my plant pots. Kerry, the young
Canaan girl, also decided that she didn’t have enough to do and chewed up the hose pipe into many little pieces – my granddaughter had to buy a new one.
But she (of course!) coped with everything very well, and so did the dogs. No one seemed to be depressed – after all, it was only four days, and dogs really don’t know how to count…
But I am glad to be home and in charge again!