Our Labrador retriever was a loyal dog.

Funny Dog Story

When I entered the kitchen around 7 a.m., my husband glared at me with bleary eyes  marked with half-moon circles. I poured my coffee and said, “What’s wrong?”

“I was hoping to get a full night’s sleep last night because I have a busy day. Didn’t you hear the dog whine at 4:30 this morning?”

“No, I didn’t hear him or I would’ve gotten up.”

” He whimpered, whined, then he yelped and barked. He needed to go out.”

“So you’re angry that I didn’t hear him.”

“No, I threw on my white terry cloth robe and I couldn’t find my slippers so I put on my flip-flops. The dog tore down the steps to the front door and I followed him and grabbed his leash from the closet. When my flip flops hit the tile foyer, I slid on something slimy and my feet flew up; I landed on my back.

“Are you ok?”

“I’m bruised and tired.”

“What was on the tile?”

“Yellow dog vomit, a big puddle. Don’t worry about cleaning the floor. I had lain there a minute and my robe absorbed it. I rose, and when I opened the wooden entry door the dog pushed the storm door open and ran.”

“He slipped out? We never let that happen. Thank goodness no one was out driving.”

” I walked the neighborhood with nothing on except my robe, underwear, and flip-flops. Clouds had blocked the moon, and I navigated using our floodlights and street lights. I couldn’t find our Labrador retriever, and when I returned home he was standing on the front lawn panting and wagging his tail so hard that his back shimmied. He had stolen six neighbors’ newspapers and scattered them across our front lawn.”

“So, training him to get the newspaper was a success. He must have felt euphoric when he had retrieved the first paper and didn’t know when to stop,” I said.
“I had walked our court with barf streaked down my back and I pitched papers to the homes without them. Some neighbors may be surprised to find a journal on their lawn that they hadn’t ordered.”

” At least the dog seems ok, so we don’t have to take him to the vet. Since we never let him out alone, he shouldn’t be able to nab any more papers.  I’m sorry that your day started at 4:30. On the bright side, the dog helped you relive your youth as a paperboy. But, next time wake me. ”

 

 

 

A Leonberger puppy flying in a Southwest cabin.

Puppy Escapes in Airplane

When I learned about the Leonberger dogs’ loyalty to their owners and fondness for children, I convinced my husband that– it was not a bean-brained-paid boondoggle– it was worth flying to purchase a Leonberger puppy because none were available near us when our Labrador retriever passed. Anyway, we had sufficient airline points to pay for our flights.

I joined the Leonberger Club of America and found a breeder in Seattle, Washington, who had mated her female. Prospective buyers were often selected when the vet confirmed the bitch’s pregnancy. I submitted an application, and the breeder approved it, convinced that I would train the dog and not return him when he weighed 140 pounds.

The puppies were born, and the breeder picked mine based on temperament, knowing that I had two young children. Though some in the dog business ship puppies in cargo, I felt that it was cruel.

My daughter, who was nine, and I flew to Seattle to pick up our new family member the weekend that he turned eight weeks old; a pet can fly on a plane if it can fit in a pet bag under the seat in front of yours.

No one had told me how to fly with a dog. While I anticipated the adventure, “what if scenarios” revolved through my mind like a spinning top. I learned that traveling with a pet causes perspiration. Though we had flown out to Seattle with the Sherpa bag under the seat, I wondered what would happen if Fido was too tall or bulky to fit. Would they confiscate him and send him to cargo?

When we picked up our puppy from the breeder in our rental car, my daughter held him on her lap and spoke softly as she ran her hands through his coat. Separation anxiety caused him to yelp and yap during the forty-five-minute drive to the airport.

Though I paid his air fare, I worried that passengers might suffer from dog allergies or complain to the airline personnel about traveling with a pet in the cabin.

After passing through airport security, we took Fido to the restroom and filled his water bowl. He wouldn’t drink, and we headed to the gate that was two gates past our boarding zone, hoping to hide him. We placed his carrier on the floor, and high-pitched screeches erupted from within. I unzipped the top so that Fido could stick his head out. We slipped him ice cubes and puppy kibble from between our fingers; his teeth pricked our hands like tiny thorns. We hoped that food would distract him, and the breeder’s soft blanket, scented by his littermates, would soothe him.

Eight-week-old Leonberger puppy is on his way to his new home.

Leonberger puppy rests in a Sherpa Pet Carrier.

He was asleep when they called our flight, and I had slung the bag over my shoulder and placed my hand over the black mesh end to prevent anyone from seeing the contraband. Only the airline staff knew I lugged invaluable loot. We boarded, and I slid the sack under the seat in front of us. When the plane departed, I took a deep breath and exhaled. I celebrated with a glass of wine.

The aroma of chicken and beef drifted through the cabin and Fido stirred.  When the stewardess served our dinner, my daughter had taken her retainer out of her mouth and rolled it in a napkin placing it near her plate, After eating, the flight attendant removed the tray, and five minutes later, my daughter noticed that her retainer was missing. We jumped out of our seats and hurried forward to alert the attendant, who pawed through the trash with plastic-gloved hands and found it.

When we returned, I checked the pet bag and noticed that the zipper was open; Fido had crawled out of his prison. I heard the lady behind me say, ” Where did you come from cutie?” I knew where the fugitive had fled.

I rose and edged sideways out in the aisle, and I turned around and grinned at the woman behind us who had an escapee sprawled across her Nikes gnawing her shoestrings.  She picked up the dog, petted him and handed him over. I apologized and returned to my seat. When I placed the absconder back in his bag, his soprano shrieks pierced the cabin. Sweat beaded my hairline. I wasn’t allowed to remove Fido, so I brushed my foot against the side of the canvas and hoped that I could calm the criminal.

The grey-bearded man who sat next to me crossed his arms over his potbelly and said, “I had no idea that you had a dog in there, what kind is it?”

I flashed a smile and said, ” He’s a Leonberger puppy.”

“Hamburger? Hamburger puppy? I eat those especially if they are noisy when I am trying to rest.”

I twirled my hair around my index finger and placed it behind my ear and said, “Sorry.”

The man leaned back and closed his eyes. A few rows behind, a baby screamed. I watched the hamburger-eating man open one eye and furrow his brow.

Though I had regretted disturbing everyone around us, I learned a valuable lesson on that flight: We had traveled six thousand miles in two days to discover that Fido didn’t fit. We changed his name to Harry as in Harry Houdini.

Though it sounds bazaar to fly cross-country to purchase a dog, I wouldn’t trade the two days that I had spent with my daughter exploring Seattle, or our decision to adopt Harry. He was great with children and became one of the best dogs that we have ever had.

Leonberger Puppy with child

Our Leonberger puppy and our children grew up together.

 

 

 

 

 

Giant dog sits in a SUV waiting for a command.

Tips and Tricks for Traveling with a Dog

Travel pet bowls are a a necessity for your pet's comfort.

Traveling With Pets 

Puppy in the car for the first time

Take your puppy on short trips as soon as possible, and he will learn to love it. If your young dog has never ridden in the car, it’s not too late. Take him or her for rides with family members or friends. Ask them to offer treats and pet the dog ensuring that he has a good experience.

Dog Travel Gear

If your dog uses a crate, put it in the car and place familiar toys in it. His favorite toys offer more security in a strange environment than new ones.

Take a water bottle and treats.You may need to put some treats in the crate or car to encourage the dog to jump in.

Buy a blanket with Velcro edges to protect your car and ease the dog. This blanket protects the sides and bottom of an SUV. You can purchase seat covers too.

Use Common Sense and Don’t Leave Pets in Hot Cars 

Walk and water the dog before entering the car.

Blast the air conditioner ten minutes or so before you and your pet get in. If you have air-conditioning in the second and third rows, turn that on too.

If you are traveling alone, opt for drive-through restaurants. If you need a restroom, park in the shade, open the windows enough for air and safety. Don’t dawdle.

Never leave your dog in a hot car, even if it’s 70 degrees and you cracked the windows. Researchers at Stanford University School of  Medicine had discovered that a car’s temperature can rise 40 degrees quickly and become lethal.

Dog Obedience

For safety reasons teach basic commands like down, sit, stay, and come. If the dog stands while you are driving, he should respond to “down.” The dog should know “stay,” because when you open the car door or lift the hatch, the dog shouldn’t jump out until you hook the leash on his collar and he hears a command, like “ok.” If he jumps out before you attach the leash, and he doesn’t respond to “come,” offer him treats to get his attention. Learning these commands could save your dog’s life.

Warning: Dangerous Prong Collars, Slip Collars or Choke Collars

I never put my dog in the car or leave him alone wearing a prong collar or a choke collar, also called a slip collar. I only use them to control him during walks.

As a puppy, his slip-collar Loop became lodged between two deck boards. I heard whimpering and saw him jerk his head up and down trying to escape as the metal choke collar tightened, strangling him like a noose. I pried the collar over his head while my husband raced for the wire cutters. Consequently, I will never leave him unattended wearing one of those collars. He wears a buckle collar at home and in the car. When driving with him, I keep the prong collar in the front seat.

I hope these tips help ensure a happy and safe trip with your pet.

Chocolate Labrador Retriever

Car Driving Dog

MGB Sports car

https://flic.kr/p/6ykGEa https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/                         (photo by Stephen Rees)

When I was in my twenties, I had a ninety-pound Labrador retriever, Bob, who, on quick trips, rode in the passenger seat of my MGB convertible. With the top down, we went to the post office. The lot was packed, and when a car backed out from a front space, I zipped in, happy that I could watch Bob from inside the building. While I waited in line, I shifted my weight and my heart raced when I saw a man standing next to the driver’s side of my car. Did he hit my car? Did Bob bark at him? Would he try to steal my dog?

I continuously glanced over my shoulder at the man while the clerk waited on me, and I felt relieved when we were done. I gathered my belongings and hurried outside noting the cars lined up out to the street waiting to park. When I approached my car, I saw that Bob was sitting behind the wheel. I suspected that he was attempting to imitate the alpha, but I knew that he couldn’t drive a stick shift. The gray-haired man, with his arms folded over his chest, watched me walk toward them.

I smiled hoping to disarm the man, literally. He said, ” I had to meet the driver of this car.”

” Oops, did I take too long?”

“I had been waiting for a parking spot for over ten minutes.” Was he judging me?

“I saw the back of this person’s head hoping that he would start the car and pull out. I thought that he was rude dawdling on a jammed lot. I blared my horn.” Here it comes, I thought.

“The horn’s blast must have startled your dog. A big brown head snapped around, and he stared at me. I never imagined that I was waiting for an animal to move the car. I had to laugh that I blew my horn at a retriever.”

He extended his weathered hand, and I shook it. We laughed and I thanked him for waiting to tell me the story. I smiled on the way home, but I drove, good try Bob.

Related Posts:

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/dog-bite-report/

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/puppy-training-101-blame-the-husband/