I had my work cut out for me today. My vet has had no calls up this way, and since I’m 45 miles away from him, I’m too cheap to have him make a special visit (and charge me for mileage)! That simply means I’m hauling 9 puppies to town for their shots and worming. By myself. Alone. In a car. With 9 puppies.
My thick blanket is always present in my car. I covered it with multiple layers of newspaper. The very back seat was down, giving them plenty of room. The second seats were raised, creating a barrier. On the second seat lay my coveralls (for emergencies), my CERT backpack (for emergencies), my car kit (for emergencies). I am PREPARED! I also had some papers, a few CERT books, and another jacket. I’m in front, (duh…) with my trusty camera and purse riding shotgun.
Why not put them in a crate? Well, they’ve hit that age where dominance roles are being defended, fought for, growled over, and tested. Close quarters add to the tension. I’d rather have them with plenty of room to spread out. Although Elsa or Dally would be willing to go, I’d prefer not to have them cornered and have to lay down the law on pups that would want to eat… I don’t want them eating anyway… I want empty bellies that moan and grumble for kibble. Honestly, empty bellies mean less puke.
I yell for Daniel’s help, and we each scoop up a couple of puppies. Daniel guards the tailgate and I grab the remaining 5. Carefully we close the tailgate and I’m off. The first mile is rough. Our road could use a wee bit of work. It is 17 highway miles to Ten Sleep. They aren’t happy. Up to this point, Chisum has been the only one in a vehicle, attending our ambulance meeting last night as a Therapy Puppy. They cry and cry and cry. I talk to them and they soon realize where I am. As I slow for a deer, I glance back and see 3 puppies have crawled over the backseat and are sitting atop my extra coat and blanket. And books. And papers. Ugh. I continue talking to them. The closer I get to Ten Sleep, the less noise I hear. “Ahh, they are settling in. Good pups.” Finally I get smart enough to adjust my rearview mirror. There are 6 pups sitting in my backseat. About then, I hear the first one puke. Great. I’m pulling into Ten Sleep. Another pukes. AARRRRGGGHH! I stop in front of the bank, and look back. I had missed a few sneaky ones that were on the floorboard. All 9 pups are in my unprotected backseat, while the backend covered in protective blanket and paper holds no pups whatsoever. The bag holding parts to be returned is soaked. I’m not going to confess to the parts man, I’m wiping it off and returning the parts contaminated. There’s more disgusting smears on my coveralls, and down the door.
Twenty seven miles to go and they’ve already trashed my car. I concede defeat and lay the backseat partially down, so that if any wanted to return to the well protected area of the car and puke, they could do so easily. I then rearrange, throwing my already soiled spare blanket over my piles of stuff in the backseat. We’re off on our last leg.
True to their English Shepherd heritage, they take this in stride. They cozy up and lay down. Fifteen miles in, a few more lose their tidbits left from supper. By the time we hit Worland, I don’t hear a peep out of them, and everyone has lost whatever needed to be lost from tummies unused to motion sickness.
We arrive at the clinic and I check out the waiting room. It’ll be a minute, a few dogs are waiting. The Good Doctor takes his time, chatting with each customer, remembering dogs’ names and ages… and then its our turn. In an efficient manner we haul in my charges, mouths slippery from drool and other nasties, some backs wet where a sibling drooled on them. In short order hearts are listened to, hernias felt for, shots given, and wormer squirted in mouths. A quick once over, comments on temperament or looks, questions on future homes. We weigh them and gather paperwork.
I’ll leave for a bit, running the de-slimed parts back to the store, buying dog food, buying people food, wolfing lunch, and mailing off a calendar to a (hopefully) happy customer.
I return to pick the puppies up, giving a slight nod to the people gathered in their pickup with their old dog wrapped warmly in a blanket. The Good Doctor administers a shot, and lightly touches the back of the woman who holds the dog’s head in her hands. While my pups are just beginning their adventure, another Good Dog has ended his. The mourners give me a wistful smile. I move on, loading more pups, and try not to contemplate the end that awaits us all.
Puppies now maneuver around dog food and sacks of people food and Pepsi and parts and sacks of Christmas treats. They go to their spots in the back seat where they can see me and lay down. I glance over. My camera lays in the passenger seat, unused. I sigh. Things happened too fast and I didn’t even take a photo. I turn up the Christmas music and head for home. Only two pups puked on the way home, I think I have them car broke.
PUPPY PHOTO OF THE DAY – Toffee tries on Santa’s hat