Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Call This Vacation?

Ok...let me start this post by asking you not to judge me. I have good reason for flaking out on posting until today...I promise. I really did mean to post last week, but got caught up in all the fun things we were doing for the 4th of July and then we went on vacation. Tomorrow I attempted to log in, but my video card on the computer apparently took a dive.  I spent tonight at my parents' house having my dad help me repair it. Temporary video card in place and replacement on the way. So...now that we've established that I am trying to be a responsible and consistent blogger, let's move on.

I've mentioned that we went on vacation last week. It was an interesting trip to say the least.  We left on Tuesday and stayed with Collin's mom for a few days. We got home on Sunday.  Wednesday and Thursday we spent doing repairs around her house for her. We managed to replace a water heater, trim a tree, fix a motion detector, add gravel to the driveway and install two new light fixtures (a chandelier in her dining room and a track light pendant system in her kitchen).  I have to say - it turned out pretty good.  I didn't do much of the actual technical stuff (Collin did all the wiring/plumbing), but I did pretty good at picking things out and assembling if I do say so myself.

Friday and Saturday we spent the day in Yellowstone National Park. Darian had a blast.  It was a pretty good trip.  Other parts of the trip were not so lovely.

So now we come to the crux of the conversation.  The drive over was a nightmare. There were several times during the early half of the trip that I just wanted to come home.  We decided to take the dogs with us since boarding them would be ridiculously expensive and the friends that we had watching the cats were having to drive 30 minutes one way to feed them. We didn't see a point in having them do that twice a day when they would only have to go every other day with the cats. Mistake number one. Collin also decided that it would be a good idea to have his sister and her 4 month old daughter ride with us so that they wouldn't have to travel alone. Mistake number two.

Let's start with mistake number two...the story is shorter. First of all, let's talk about limited space. We own a pickup. It's a GMC Sierra and has a quad cab so fitting the people was not an issue. Me and Collin up front, Darian, Collin's sister and the baby in the back seat. Fine. However...three dog crates for rather large dogs take up a lot of room. There was some serious tetris needed to fit in the luggage (3 suitcases for the 5 of us), the dog food and the baby's stroller. Oy. I really didn't think we were going to make it. I was looking behind me repeatedly for the first half of the trip convinced that we would lose something out of the back. An idea of how packed it was -  Collin had to lock the tailgate because he was afraid it might pop open from the pressure. Oh ya, good fun. But we made it in one piece (well, most of us - wait for it) and we didn't lose any luggage.  Once we got the truck packed the issue became the occupants inside of the vehicle. Turns out the baby is not so much a fan of her carseat...at all. She screamed for a large portion of the trip and while her mother tried her hardest to quiet her we all had raging headaches by the time we reached our destination. The upside was that by the time we finished the vacation (including two full days in the carseat for Yellowstone) she was doing substantially better and was happy for most of the trip home. Vacation saved point one.

Now, mistake number one. Taking the dogs seemed like a good idea at the time. It was not. In fact, it was so much not that it will NEVER be happening again. They may get to go camping with us, but that's it.  It started out okay. Everyone was happy and I'm assuming thought they were going to the dog park. They loaded up easy and didn't whine or fuss. The ugliness started when we attempted to stop and give them a bathroom break about 3 hours later. We stopped at a rest stop along the way and attempted to get them water. No pump existed in the "pet area" and the water pressure on the drinking fountain was horrid so we ended up only being able to get a small amount into the bucket at a time (the original plan was to fill the bucket and divvy it up in their bowls). While I walked across the parking lot to fill a water bowl, Collin was letting the three drink from the bucket. Apparently Sadie was upset with the idea that Piper was trying to drink during what she thought was her turn. A dog fight ensued. We finally got them apart, but only after breaking the water bucket, nearly losing Sadie as her collar slipped off and after poor Piper had a few puncture wounds. Collin and I were pretty much burnt after that. But we made it to Carole's house and got them settled. We ended up chaining them each to a separate tree with the girls as far apart as possible.

We figured we were past the issues at that point. Oh, we so were not. The girls managed to get into 2 more altercations while we were there. Once the next morning when they were both off and running around the yard and again the next afternoon when Collin had Piper off chain and Sadie tied up. It was horrible. We ended up crating one when the other was off to avoid any interaction.

Then we went to Yellowstone. Yep...I said then. There is even more fun. We figured the dogs would be fine during the day because they all had water and they had been doing well in the backyard for the past two days. Once again, we were wrong. We left for the park Friday morning and returned late that night. As we pulled back into the driveway I could see Piper tethered to her tree and then a streak of black ran in front of the truck. Harley. Fantastic.  The wind was blowing pretty good and the storm had apparently terrified them all. Harley had pulled so hard on his chain that he broke the plastic clasp on his collar and was running loose in the yard for who knows how long. I'm sure he only stayed in the yard because he is joined at the hip to Piper.  Had it been Sadie who had gotten loose I'm pretty sure we'd be down to two dogs. 

Now don't think that we are terrible pet owners and abusive to our pets. Piper had already been to the vet two days before and was on antibiotics and pain meds for her injuries. We made sure she was taken care of. The dogs all had plenty of food and water and shade. They were just as well off as they are in our yard, just spatially challenged due to the 15 ft chains. As far as the storm goes, honestly neither Collin nor I even thought about it. The weather had been great for the past 2 days and it was nice and sunny when we had left that morning. But, needless to say our plans changed for the next day. They were all crated in the ventilated garage for the time we were gone the next day. Honestly they were all so worn out from the stress of the day before that I think they probably slept most of the time. They weren't even all that excited to come out when we got back that night.

So now we're home and the saga is still not over. Harley has a new collar thanks to the backups we had at home. Piper is healing well and is almost done with her antibiotics. But we still can't keep the girls together. They are constantly growling at each other. Piper and Harley are staying in the kennel. Sadie is staying in her crate when we are gone and the yard when we're home. Tomorrow Collin is going to get basket muzzles for Piper and Sadie to wear until they can learn to play nice with each other (Harley wouldn't bother anyone). We'll see how that goes. Seriously, owning pets is sometimes more difficult than having a child.


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