The next morning in the motel, as soon as people were up and around, and noises started, Rugby was wide awake and alerting the media! Even though he had his beloved piggies along, he was not interested in grunting them. He was on alert, guarding us and our room against phantom noises!
We packed our things, loaded up the car and hit the road once again….this time with our final destination in mind. We knew that we had a long day of driving, and hoped for better weather along the way.
Again, Rugby was a champ. He napped until we stopped to stretch, was happy to get out and frisk around a bit, and then happy to hop back into his travel crate and head on down the road.
We checked into our next motel, late in the afternoon, hoping for a better Rugby experience. He was a bit nervous initially, but nothing AT ALL like what we had seen from him that first night. This time, he was happy to explore the room, and discovered that he could jump from bed to bed, which he did with frequency and delight….not caring who he landed on!
Soon enough, it was time to go visit Mom, as she had told us that Dad was sleeping and probably just needed to rest. This is where the real stress for me began. Trying to figure out what we were going to do with Rugby while we were visiting with Mom at their home, or Dad in the hospital, was going to be the big challenge for me! The temps were in the 40’s, and breezy, so I wanted to feel okay about leaving Rugby in the car with very frequent checks on him.
Michael’s parents have never owned a dog, and while they don’t mind them, they’re of the opinion that dogs belong outside, and not in a house. I was hoping I could at least convince Mom to let me put Rugby’s crate in their heated garage. There was no way to leave him at the motel, and it was so cold out, I was worried about leaving him in the car. Still, I knew that I would do what I had to do. We had brought plenty of dog blankets for him, and I knew I could cover his crate with a blanket in the car or garage and he’d stay plenty warm. I was mostly worried about how Rugby’s emotions would fare in all of it! I needn’t have worried!
We hadn’t been at mom’s thirty seconds when she insisted that we bring Rugby into the house and have him in the kitchen because of the cold temps outside. She said that she would worry if he was out in the cold! That was a miracle….an absolute answer to prayer!! So I quickly went out to the car to get Rugby and his gear and brought him in the house to settle in and calm down.
As I walked in the door carrying Rugby, I heard Michael on the phone, and the sinking realization hit me….his Dad had just died and we didn’t get there in time. A flood of emotions washed over me just then, but my attention was focused on keeping Rugby calm and quiet while Michael and his Mom talked to the hospital and made plans.
Rugby was on his best behavior. He truly was! Mom stayed out in the den, and Rugby chilled with me in the kitchen on his leash, trying to take in his new environment. He did very very well, happy to be in a home, and wondering what would happen now.
After a bit, I put him back into his crate while Mom was moving around, because strangers moving instead of sitting quietly, increase his anxiety a whole lot. As long as she was sitting in the den and he could hear her, he was pretty relaxed. But being in a new environment with a new person, who was now unpredictably moving around, was just too much for Rugby. I knew his crate would give him the security and safe feeling he needed, and I sat right next to him so he knew I wouldn’t leave him.
After a bit, I was able to bring him out of his crate and into the den, and he was curious to meet Mom, and he was quiet and fairly relaxed. When he sniffed Mom, he gave a quick excitement nip as she petted him, and a low level growl as she looked at him and spoke to him. He really gets very uncomfortable with strangers who give him attention, and things can escalate into something ugly in a flash! When Mom just ignored Rugby, he was very calm and comfortable….even when she got up to move around. I knew he would be fine with her after several hours or maybe even a few days, but initially, he was doing so much better than I anticipated!!
The initial greeting in the house had gone so very well, and now I knew where Rugby would be able to stay while we tended to family matters at hand. The load of stress just fell off of me as Rugby seemed very happy and content! It was nothing like the behavior I had seen from him the previous night, so I was hopeful that Rugby would sort things out and start to settle into a new normal for his current life. He was being such a little trooper, and I couldn’t have felt more proud of him!