We were supposed to be going away for a few days to visit friends in Connecticut. We started planning the little jaunt back in May. Each time the appointed day got close, someone had a problem — and we had to reschedule. One of us (me or Garry) was not feeling well. Garry’s shoulder was out, I had a stomach thing.  It’s one of the perils of aging, I guess, that the likelihood of one of us not feeling up to snuff will occur.


And then, there are the dogs. They have dogs. We have dogs. Once, our dog sitter wasn’t available. Another time, their son was away on business. Then, there are unexpected visits. His brother. Garry’s brother. Friends.

72-Gibbs-at Gate-Grunge-080316_06

We began the process with our first scheduled date set for June. Delayed and I don’t remember why, but I think it was a dog sitting issue. We each canceled once in July, and between us, three times in August (them, us, them). We were supposed to go last week, but I wasn’t up to it. Today was our “rain date,” but our host is feeling poorly.

I said “Tell you what. I know you guys are going away next week for a couple of weeks. When you get back, if you see some time, give a call. We aren’t far away and after August, the calendar is wide open.”

“Yes,” he said. “And maybe by September it will have cooled down a bit.”

And that’s where we left it. He said “It shouldn’t be this hard.”


It shouldn’t be this complicated. But there’s some malevolent Murphy’s Law operating in our universes. It makes simple plans into a Byzantine maze. Before Tom called, we were already grappling with an unexpected hit on Owen’s schedule which required him to be down on the Cape Monday. That would leave the dogs almost entirely alone  for close to 24 hours. I’m sure they’d survive as long as they have food, water, and the doggy door, but they are unused to being alone at all, much less for an extended period. Gibbs gets anxious when Garry is in the bathroom.

That’s the other problem. We only have two dogs now. Bonnie and Gibbs, the two black Scotties. Bonnie is fine with anyone who can hold a biscuit. She is a bright, happy, little girl. This is not necessarily typical of Scottish Terriers. As a breed, they can be quite stand-offish. And they are never “just anyone’s” dog. They like who they like … which is sometimes quite quirky.

Gibbs has a long history of being a kennel dog. In the past 4 months, he has bonded tightly to Garry and I. He has not accepted anyone else. Maybe if someone else was around more than a few hours at a time, he would begin to accept them but not necessarily. Even when friends were here for a week, he never warmed up. He stopped barking at them all the time, but he was still suspicious.

It’s possible he will never cotton to anyone but us. Scotties are often one or two-person dogs, not friendly to anyone outside a small family circle. Bonnie is outgoing, but that’s Bonnie, not Scotties in general. Gibbs is more like my first Scottie — Mac-A-Dog. He was wary of anyone who didn’t live in the house … and we’d raised him from pup.

That said, there is a limit to how much the dogs can run our lives. We spoil them. We indulge them. But we aren’t willing to be stuck in the house all the time, forever. Gibbs will have to cope with occasional absences and substitute humans coming by to feed, water, and provide companionship.


This latest snafu has delayed that fateful day, but it will come again. Owen thought maybe he could leave food out for Gibbs. That would probably be okay, assuming Bonnie doesn’t eat all of it. She doesn’t eat as much as she used to, so it would probably be okay. I should get one of those timed feeding things for this kind of situation. I’ll think about it.

Meanwhile, what originally was a simple three-day visit to friends who live a mere 75 miles away morphed into a wildly complex event that didn’t happen at all.

Why do things get this complicated? It was easier packing up and going to Arizona than driving a couple of hours to an adjacent state. Talk about the universe sending a message!


Categories: dogs, Humor, Photography, Scottish Terrier, Travel

Tags: , , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. Our pups were also not easy to leave with anyone, but adjusted to my girlfriend coming to stay in the house with them. She would make a beeline to the treats upon entering the house, side stepping the one who was barking incessantly,give him a treat as she leashed him up. After a few practice runs all was well with the world. It is such a pity when a planned visit gets messed up- sometimes the sour of the moment idea does work better! Hope it works out for September


    • If I could get my son to spend a little more time, it would help, but he’s always running somewhere. I’m trying to work out something with my granddaughter, but she’s always running somewhere too. I think if we really go away for any length of time, we may have to consider boarding — which I don’t want to do because not only is it expensive, but the dogs hate it and I’m always worried that they’ll pick something up. Meanwhile, I’m just hoping everyone gets healthy and we can actually make some plans that will work out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s never simple when you have pets and non pet owners don’t really understand. Polly the cat is not so much of a problem, I can leave extra food out or get someone to pop in and feed her. She’ll hide as she doesn’t like strangers but she will be alright. Cindy is more of a problem because she’s a very social dog and has been used to someone being around the house most of the time until David got sick. I couldn’t leave her alone in the house overnight even if I had a doggy door as she can climb over the back fence. Normally she doesn’t bother but she will do it to get to me if I’m in the front garden so if I went away she might try to get out and look for me. I live next to a main road. I won’t risk it. So if I go away it is kennels for her but then I have to find someone to take us to the kennels as I don’t drive and Cindy is a lousy passenger. She does the doggy version of “Are we there yet?” if we’re in the car for more than five minutes. So just spending the night with my sister or a friend seems like more trouble than its worth sometimes.


    • The dogs are always a problem because one of them inevitably need a pill or eye drops or something … and Gibbs just doesn’t like anyone but Garry and I. And then, there’s the health stuff. When you are dealing with 4 senior adults, someone always seems to have something unpleasant going on. Maybe not serious, but certainly enough to make traveling unwise or just too difficult. It’s one of those side effects of age I never considered until recently. I actually buy travel insurance when we do anything involving plane tickets because we never know. Stuff happens.

      Neither of our dogs are good travelers, but they aren’t too bad. They huff and puff a lot, but they don’t do anything dangerous. But in this heat, it’s hard to get the back of the car cool enough for any living creature, so I avoid having them in the car. And our local kennel is okay, but it’s not a nice place and I always worry that they’ll pick something up. Like me, always picking stuff up in the doctor’s office.

      It does seem more effort than it’s worth a lot of the time. Too much planning, scheduling, depending on other people.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What can I say other than been there and done that!
    Thanks for sharing.


  4. Do you think the incessant heat has anything to do with it? I’m sitting here and it is suppose to be cooler today but the sweat is just pouring off me. The fact that I’m cooking and baking at the same time doesn’t help matters.


  5. Got that same dreary feeling… Our stepping out is generally ordered by doctors these days; and here at the Farmstead, a black kitty named Midnight rules. We remain obedient and doting (when it comes to kitty) obedient. Get to venture out on two medical visits this week, while Midnight stands faithfully on guard at home. Can’t help but love our furry girl! 🙂


    • We really do love them, but we need to get out at least once in a while. I suppose we’ll work it out. Around here, most trips are either grocery or medical. We buy food, we go to doctors. This isn’t exactly what I expected. I think none of had this in mind for our senior years 🙂


  6. Having both a dog and cat to look after, I can really relate to this. They do need us!


  7. I do not have dogs, and have never had a dog, We have cats which is not very much different when you go away. Of course cats are very independent. They can go out when they want to, if they have a cat flap. Just fill the bowls with pellets and they eat when they are hungry. Our cats have never had feeding times, there is always something there. Just the water has to be filled, but my autistic son is always around to look after that side of things. And a cat tray can wait until we are home if it is only a couple of days, or they have a garden. No, the problem is us. We now only have Tabby, one cat, and of course she will be ok on her own, but we are human and get bothered with thoughts about what might or could happen. Silly isn’t it, but I can feel you all the way with your canines. Otherwise planning an excursion depends on so much. We really want to visit our youngest son and his wife who are now buying a house in the eastern part of Switzerland, just 2-3 hours by train – no real distance and we can stay the night, so no stress, but this health thing. You just never know. I have my MS under control, that is no problem, but now I have digestive problems which at last are improving, but it is still too early to visit for a few days somewhere until I really feel 100% and have it all under control. When we were younger everything was so simple, but as you get older things get so complicated.


    • Health issues loom very large these days. Not only mine, but Garry’s. His are mainly muscles and back stuff, but it’s bad enough to make traveling very uncomfortable, even short distance.

      Dogs don’t regulate their food intake. Most of them will keep eating until they explode … and they need company, at least some of the time. So there’s always a need to have someone come and take care of them. Going away is NEVER simple anymore, not even if it’s just an overnight.


  8. There is also a territorial thing, with Gibbs. As a male he is part of your Pack, or you and Garry are part of his. If he’s an alpha male, he perceives anyone (especially men) coming into the house as invading his (and subsequently your) pack space.
    We had a dog years ago, Ralph, and he was like that. He was the alpha male and he and I were the pack. There were a few times when he would threaten my husband, growling and trying to attack him, which was extremely unsettling for all of us. He would perceive my husband as a threat to me, and was (as the vet explained) only defending his pack mates.
    Something to consider, and it might explain his dislike of strangers invading his space. Luckily he likes you both =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy, you’re really on target with dog bonding!
      For some reason, most animals — over the years — have liked me.
      Once, during my working days, I had to interview one of New Hampshire’s top Klan guys. He was from central casting. He sat on his porch, shotgun propped on his lap, with 2 German Shepherds by his side.
      The dogs growled ominously.
      The intent was clear.
      My cameraman stayed behind as I approached the guy. He whispered to the dogs with a grin.
      The dogs approached me quickly, stopped and sniffed. They began to lick my hands and grin – only as dogs can grin.
      The Klan guy looked disappointed as he lowered the shotgun.
      The interview went well!!
      And, the dogs yodeled as we said our goodbyes.


    • I’m sure there is territoriality involved. He doesn’t growl or threaten, but he does bark and run away, mostly outside where he will keep barking until the invader leaves. I hope we can convince he to be a little less protective, but he’s not a puppy, so it’s going to take time. And we don’t have a lot of traffic in the house, either.


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