“Don’t leave me here, Dad! I’ll be good! Please!!”
“We’ll be back next week, Rosie,” I said, rubbing her head one last time. “Have fun with the other dogs.”
Fran and I were dropping Rosie off at her boarding home while we vacationed in Southern California.
“A Lucky Dog” is more of a bohemian doggie resort than a kennel. They don’t have any crates for the dogs. Dogs who are used to being outside, spend their time outside. Indoor dogs sleep indoors but spend nice days outside playing with like-minded dogs. Located on top of a small knoll, part of the Sierra Nevada foothills, “A Lucky Dog” is five acres of chain link fenced property. The owner, Jennifer, is a certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Counselor, not that Rosie needs much behavioral counseling… or at least not much. Well, lets just say spending time with Jennifer will not hurt Rosie at all.
When we told Jennifer we would be back the following week, she responded, “Wawawa wawa wawa.”
You may not know that Rosie doesn’t understand English, other than the version Fran and I use when speaking to her. Maybe we should try Spanish. Who knows perhaps with her Cuban ancestry it would help. Translated, Jennifer had said, “Don’t worry. She will feel at home in 5 minutes, have a great vacation.”
Jennifer picked Rosie up, held her under her arm and carried her through the small gate in the chain link fence towards her office. Jennifer’s office is in a nice new out building, located to the right and across a small yard from the main house. It’s a fairly large building, like a free standing three car garage. She has a nice office in the back and a large training room in the front. The office door is usually open so the inside dogs can come and go as they please.
Time warp, one week later:
Text to Jennifer: Hi. We are making good time driving up from LA. Can we pick Rosie up around 5PM today.
Jennifer: Sure, just text when you are 15 min away.
Dave (actually Fran texting on my phone as he is driving): Ok.
Dave (ghost authored by Fran): We just exited I-80 in Loomis, be there in a few.
The steep dirt driveway curves to the right, passing through a motorized gate, ending in a large parking area in front of the house. Jennifer was outside, behind the white painted railing on the front porch, puttering, while waiting for us. There was this dog that resembled our Rosie, except she was the wrong color. She was attached to the fence with a pink leash just like Rosie’s. Our dog is mostly while, with brown highlights. This dog was brown with nearly no white visible.
“Welcome back. I hope you had a great time,” Jennifer greeted us as she walked down the three front steps. “Wawawawa wawawa wa wawa wawawawa wa wa.” Translation of what Rosie heard: “Rosie had a great time, right up to today when she and the other dogs thought playing in the mud would be great fun. Then, for some reason, she thought a run through the burr bushes would be a perfect ending to the day.”
“Dad!! You came back. Of course, I knew you would. You couldn’t leave me. Do you mind if I jump all over you and make you smell as good as me? Of course you wouldn’t. I am so glad you are back. Can we go home now? I like my friends here but I like my bed at home better. Oh, you had better wash the bed you brought here. It may be a bit dirty. I am so glad you and Mom are back! Can we go home now?”
“Rosie, you are disgusting. What were you thinking?” I asked her.
“Thinking, Dad? I was having fun today. Everyone was playing and running. It was great.”
“I am glad you enjoyed yourself, little girl. I hope you remember all the fun when we get home and you get in the tub. It’s gonna take at least two baths to clean you and believe me, you are not going to like the brushing to de-burr you.”
Time warp, two hours later:
“Well, at least you are the right color again. I told you it would take two baths. Now let’s see to those burrs.”
“Do we have to Dad? They really don’t bother me,” she said as she chewed at an especially bad mat and tangle with several burrs caught inside.
“C’mon. Mom will help.”
“Mom? Mom! Save me!!”
Fran and I worked for over a hour and were able to remove the burrs, but most of the mats were beyond us. Her legs, chest and neck were matted so tight no amount of brushing and picking would loosen them. Truthfully, we gave up knowing she was going to be groomed the following week.
Rosie spent the week scratching and chewing on some of the mats that I know must have been pinching her, until we went to the mobile groomer who was doing Frances’s, Daniel’s and Kathy’s dogs at Frances’s and Daniel’s house.
“Wa,” Rosie heard the groomer say . “Wawa. Wa wawawa wawa wa.” Translate: “Oh. Oh oh. I doubt we can get these tight mats out. We may have to shave her which is too bad because it is so cold outside.”
“Dad? What is shave? It doesn’t sound good for me.”
“She may have to cut your hair short to get the tangles out. It’s your own fault. You remember all the fun you had in the mud and bushes, don’t you? Do you understand ‘cause and effect’? This is the effect caused by all your fun.”
“I don’t understand, ‘cause I had fun you are going to make me prance around naked in public?”
“No. You wont be naked We will go buy you a sweater and don’t worry about people seeing you, I will be so embarrassed to be seen with you I will only walk you when it is dark out and no one can see us.”