Rugby’s Big Adventure: Part 1

No one wants to get the phone call that we recently did.  Michael’s mom was on the other end of the phone line saying that Dad wasn’t doing well at all and the doctors recommended that family be gathered. UGH!  It was the dreaded phone call that we knew would happen probably this year, but had hoped against hope that it would never come all at the same time.

So….it meant packing up at the speed of light and driving 11 hours to try to make it in time to see Dad one final time.  With our Corgis, we always had friends, family or neighbors who delighted to keep the dogs for us when we needed to be gone.  We never thought twice about a quick getaway if one was needed, at least where the dogs were concerned.

It’s not nearly as easy with Rugby James.  Not easy at all.

Stress.  Lots of stress.

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Because of Rugby’s past, and because of the years it took to really build trust with him, I’ve never used a boarding kennel or pet sitter.  Rugby can be very unpredictable, and so very difficult all the way around.  He’s not an easy dog to leave with friends or family, so we either take him with us or choose to stay home.

Staying home this time wasn’t an option, so it meant that we were going to have to figure out how to make it work to take Rugby with us. That added about 600 bazillion gazillion pounds of stress to the packing and actual trip.  Oh well.  Rugby didn’t ask for his past life, and I promised him that I’d be there for him and take care of him.

So it had to work.  There really was no choice for us, and so that was actually easier, since it was just a matter of sucking it up and powering through with Rugby.  I knew he was going to be stressed too, and I hoped that he would manage okay, since we’d never taken a trip this long with him.  It was going to be a huge test for all of us, and I hoped we were all up for the challenge!

Once Rugby sees the big brown suitcase come out of the closet, he knows something is up!  So right away, I told him that he was going to get to come with us.  I’m going to have to get a video of Rugby when he hears the news, “You get to come too.”  It’s the same response every time, and its pure joy!  Rugby jumps straight up in the air at me, and “pings” off of my gut a time or two with delight!  He never does this at any other time!  Not ever.  But when he gets to come with me, he just can’t contain his joy, and that’s how he shows it.

So the first thing he did was dig out his leash from his gear basket, and drag it along with him.

He knows that as long as his leash is along, it means that he gets to come with me, so he always drags his leash, and it’s the cutest thing ever. He followed me all over the house as I did some quick laundry, loaded the dishwasher, and started the packing process.  We had no idea how long we were expecting to be gone, so it felt like a mammoth project getting us ready to go as quickly as possible!

Fortunately, I had a packing list already put together for Rugby, so that did help simplify things and ensure that I wouldn’t forget something crucial that we needed.  I had had many years of dog shows and travel with our Corgis, so I was a seasoned professional when it came to packing for a dog.  I just wasn’t taking a grooming table and tack box this time!  But I have to say that it sure felt like I was taking everything except the kitchen sink for him!

So as I wandered from room to room, my little speckled shadow was close behind, dragging his leash, doing his part to help me pack!  You’ll have to look closely to see his leash laying with him, but it’s there!

When I stayed in our bedroom and packed for a while,  he made himself more comfortable in his bed with his leash, but he wasn’t going to let it get very far away from him!

So it was with huge fear and hearts pounding that we loaded the car with our gear and our sweet little pooch, and set out for a destination three states away….with a timeclock rapidly ticking.  We had never attempted anything like this before with Rugby, and there was no handbook for what to do.  So we set off with hope and a prayer that we would get there in time to see Dad, and that things would fall together with Rugby.  We needed two miracles….






  1. Denise Baker says

    My heart goes out to you, your family and your Rugby. I will be waiting to hear the rest of the story.<3.

    • Sally says

      Thank you so much, Denise! It's a pretty amazing story, but that's probably because I have a pretty amazing little dog! <3


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