Cory says: Lark, I am worried. We’ve been hearing about this big trip for what seems like forever. Every time someone asks mom, “Aren’t you worried about taking your dogs with you?” I get nervous. I don’t know about her, but I am worried about the trip. So many things could happen to us. We could get chased by a bear. If something scares us and we run away, will we find our way home? We might be lost forever. What if we get a thorn, glass, rock, nail, or something else pokey in our paws? What if there are no doctors around to help us? What if mom and dad get hurt while they are away from us? I could be locked in the trailer with you until we starve to death. What if we have an accident on the road and are all hurt? Will someone take care of us if Mom and Dad can’t? We could get frost bite or sunburned or wind burned or dirt in our eyes. We could fall off the kayak, be stunned by cold water and drown. You name it, it could happen! Mom says she is preparing us as best as she can. I hope it is enough.
Lark says: Cory, don’t be such a worrywart. Mom and Dad have worked with us on our recalls. Even if the leash breaks and we get lost, when they call, we can follow the sound of their voice. And Mom always has something yummy for us to eat when we come back to her. They won’t leave us! You know mom bought health insurance for both of us so we are covered if some emergency happens. She has copies of our insurance and health papers in the truck and trailer and will carry copies in her bag or backpack. That’s why we had to go and get all those shots including the ones that are optional like kennel cough and flu. There will always be someone around to help us because Mom and Dad will be prepared. After all, Mom is a planner!
Cory says: Yes, Mom is a planner, but can she plan for everything?
Lark says: Oh, sister. Just quit worrying will you? I just don’t want to wear those boots that make my feet feel funny. Mom says that they will protect our feet, but they look so ugly. The least she could have done would have been to find some that are fashionable! If we don’t change our food or drink out of puddles or ditches, we should be okay. Besides, mom keeps that yummy canned pumpkin handy if our stomach gets upset. And we have to wear seat belts and harnesses in the truck. Thank goodness, crates don’t fit inside Dad’s truck. The only thing I can’t promise you is that I won’t pass gas in the truck while we are travelling. That will just give Dad a reason to open the windows so we can stick our heads out.
Cory says: I don’t know, Lark. It just seems to be asking for trouble to me. What about long days of travel or times when they can’t take us with them. How will you feel stuck in the trailer all day with nothing to do? I think I will be alright. I like lying around listening to the relaxing music that they leave on. And we can play Nosework if they leave hides for us. I always feel invigorated after a good search. Maybe they will even bring along some food puzzles to play with. But, Lark, you are used to running. What are you going to do to stay busy besides chewing up the inside of the trailer?
Lark says: Well, sure it won’t be like home where we can just bark at the door and they let us out. We’ll have to get used to exercising on leash. I hate running beside Dad’s bike, but it will be better than nothing. And even though we have to wear a long leash, we can still play fetch. Maybe even if we find places we can swim. You know how you love to swim.
Cory mumbles: What about poisonous algae? Do we know what that looks like?
Lark says: Mom knows everything! She says we will be doing a lot of hiking, too. She thinks she is going to lose a lot of weight by walking. Hmm. We will see. While we can’t hike with them in most of the National Parks, there are a lot of state parks or national forests that allow dogs. Some of the campgrounds have a dog park and as long as there aren’t other dogs in there, we can run loose. We’re going on a great adventure, Cory. How many other dogs do you know who get to do this? Quit worrying!
Cory says: Are you sure Mom knows about poisonous algae? You aren’t convincing me that this is a good idea. What about our routine? What about feeding times?
Lark says: Mom and Dad know that routine is important to us and will do their best to stick to it. The thing that you should be worried about is all the new people we will meet. We all know how you are around strangers!
Cory says: Just because I have space issues doesn’t mean I can’t travel! Mom bought me a bandanna to wear that says I need space, and she has learned to be my advocate and warn people to stay back. It’s not that I am going to go after them! It just makes me uncomfortable when they hug or pet me, and I want them to stay away. People are stupid sometimes and think I am a cuddly Labrador. Besides, you are one to talk, big bad Doberman!
Lark says: I am big, but I am not bad! It is my job to protect my family. But, as long as I know that there is no reason to be alarmed, I am fine, especially if there are treats around. Mom has taught me to look at her and ignore dogs and people. When I look at her face, I get a treat! When she says, “Look at that!” she means it is okay to look but I don’t need to stare or growl. No matter what the emergency, if she has treats in her pocket or talks to me and tells me to look at her, I can be good. And Mom and Dad both know to ask people to keep their dogs back, no matter how “friendly.” I’ve even seen Mom step between us to block the view of a person or dog. And they never let us off the leash no matter how much we want to run free. When we are on the leash, they can protect us. And I don’t have to feel like I must protect them! How many times do I have to tell you that we will be okay?
Cory says: Maybe. I guess we will just have to try it and find out. But, there is one thing we haven’t talked about. At home, they just let us out to go to the bathroom. You know how I hate to go on leash and have people looking at me. I feel like a puppy when they croon, “Go potty, Cory!” Much less, picking it up in a bag, talking about the consistency of my poop and how often I have gone! It’s embarrassing, Lark!
Lark says: I am tired of your whining. When they pick up our poop, they are being good stewards of nature. And our poop is important to them because they can tell a lot about our health. If the consistency changes, they know that we are not feeling well or under stress. And besides, then, we get that yummy pumpkin. Cory, you need to leave your worries behind you and just jump into the truck and go. We are going to have a great time and there will be fun things to do, adventure around every corner.
Cory says: I don’t know about this.
Lark says: Cory, don’t make me pull out my Doberman face! Quit whining and go take a nap.