We had now been gone from home for nine long days. The trip was wearing on all of us, and we were really just ready to be home. Rugby had been such a wonderful little trooper for the whole trip, but I could tell that he was depressed. He missed the freedom that he had in his home and yard. He missed the fun. He wasn’t playful, and we couldn’t really get him to even try a game of “Pig Toss” in the motel room. He was a bit mopey, and he seemed a little sad and depressed to me. I knew he missed his home. He loves to play piggies with me, and there was no convincing him to even try to play.
I didn’t blame him. He had to wear his Thundershirt at night to keep him calmer as other guests were in and out of their rooms, talking in the hall and that sort of thing. Otherwise, he barked like crazy, and that just wouldn’t do in a motel! His Thundershirt was a very kind and passive way to help him stay calm in a new environment, but I knew he didn’t like it. And after nine days of wearing it for many hours every day, he was really ready to not ever have to wear it again!
We started packing to head home the following day. While it was a happy and exciting thing to Michael and I, it brought on some stress and anxiety for Rugby. Once he saw the suitcases come back out, he knew something was up, and he was worried all over again. He started his nervous pacing and some of his anxious chirping that he does when he gets stressed and would prefer to bark. His eyes had that look that said, “Again, Mama? What will happen to me now?” I tried to be cavalier about things to help him feel more calm and confident, but inwardly, I felt just awful for having to stress him all over again!
All things considered, there were some exciting successes from him during this time away from home. He hadn’t had any yucky poops! Not one! Can I even discuss dog poop in a blog? Usually, anytime I took him away from home, he would poop a gooey poop within fifteen or twenty minutes, just because of his stress. The entire trip, his poop had been nice and firm, which was a huge step forward for him! It told me that he wasn’t as stressed on this trip as he had been on previous trips…which had been overnights or weekend trips. We had never attempted being gone from home this long, and it made me realize just how much he had grown in trusting me.
The following morning, we loaded up the car, much to Rugby’s concern. We stopped to tell Mom a tearful good-bye, and hit the road once again! Michael felt wide awake and was ready to power drive the roughly eleven hours it would take to get home. We all just wanted to be home again. The thought of unloading for another motel stay….another strange room for Rugby….trying to keep him quiet with new phantom noises in a new place…well, we just didn’t want to do it again.
To be honest, the thought of having Rugby glued to me out of fear and anxiety was something that I just didn’t want to do again. He had been laying on me for the past four days….24/7, and I really needed a break from “Velcro Rugby!” Don’t get me wrong! I like a dog snuggle as well as the next person, but Rugby really takes it to a whole new level. If he could get under my skin to get closer, he would. A little of that goes a long way, and after nine long days of dealing with an anxious and stressed dog, I was really ready for a break!
The weather was beautiful! Sunny, and chilly, but hardly a cloud in the sky, and it looked like clear sailing all the way home! Our spirits were high knowing that we would be sleeping in our own beds that night! I hoped that my back would survive the long car trip, but the fresh air was so nice, and I was feeling so much better physically, just knowing that we were heading home!
The trip was uneventful, until we stopped for gas later that evening in southern Indiana. The low tire gauge light had come on, and Michael was checking the tires while he was getting gas. The driver’s side front tire was almost flat! So were our spirits when we saw it! We had planned to drive all the way home that night, but having a flat tire sure changed those plans in a big hurry!
It meant calling AAA to help us with the flat tire, unloading a very full trunk to get to the donut spare, re-loading the trunk….wondering where in the world we would have room for a full sized tire in the car or trunk! And then, we knew that the donut spare would only get us fifty miles, driving fifty miles per hour.
That meant finding a motel room, and then a tire shop in the morning….and what in the world would we do with Rugby while the tire was being fixed? It’s not like he could calmly wait in the waiting room with other patrons. I tried not to worry, knowing that things always have a way of working out, but Michael was honestly a little cranky at this new change of plans, Rugby was worried in the back seat, and I was just tired and wanted to be home.
We waited an hour and a half for AAA to arrive to help us. By then, Michael had unloaded the trunk and retrieved the donut tire to be ready for AAA when they did arrive. It was well after dark and we were tired and hungry after a very long day of driving. Rugby wasn’t at all sure about this strange man who was talking to his daddy on the other side of the door, and his barking sounded the alert and alarm.
It turned out that AAA was able to plug our tire from a small nail which had been embedded in the tire. I hoped we wouldn’t have trouble with the tire along the way and get stranded on the Interstate in the middle of the night, but the AAA helper had assured us that the plug was secure, and that our tire would be just fine. That meant that we really could resume our trip home, and even though we were tired, Michael was determined that we weren’t staying in one more motel room, so we headed out again.