As planned, on Thursday we drove to Wales with Blake and the doggies. It was actually a very quick trip, took us less than three hours with a couple of stops. We left at around eleven. I had to pick up some stuff from the dry cleaners and take Leo quickly to the vet to make sure he's good to go since he had a couple of scratches we weren't sure about. All was good.
We were very anxious, but Dexter was kind enough to remind us why they had to go to be trained. In the morning I brought Blake to our bed for a few sessions of baby wresling. Leo and Dexter were both jealous and were eager to grab whatever was left of our attention. We weren't sure exactly what happened, I imagine Leo was trying to push Dexter away from us, but Dexter attacked Leo. The both of them were growling and barking and jumping at each other. It was utterly unacceptable for them to fight in our bedroom so close to Blake so I yelled at them to stop and even started hitting them with a shoe. It took Dexter a good twenty seconds or so to snap out of it. When he flips out, he flips out. There were obviously no harm done to Leo, other than his neck getting wet. Last time they fought like this Leo finished his dinner first and decided to help himself to Dexter's food - while Dexter was still eating! So I can understand Dexter's wish to protest, but there's a time and place for everything - not in our bedroom and not next to Blake.
We found the training centre with no problem and we parked outside. The dogs immediately started jumping in excitement. They knew that more often than not our trips take them somewhere fun with lots of places to run and pee in. Miron went in to bring one of the trainers while I stayed in the car with Blake and the dogs. They were of course moving around restlessly in the back of the car, eager to get out. I felt bad since they were oblivious to our deception and betrayal. Then people with dogs went by the two broke into mad barking and growling once again reminding me why it was necessary. Miron and the main trainer, Terry, came and looked at the dogs through the car's windows. After a quick chat he brought a big biker-type guy to help him. For a second I thought that was overkill, but then I had a quick flashback montage of all the many times my dogs dragged me around all over Britain. I think I clocked about 5 miles of total distance over the years.
It was very quick. The dogs got out of the car excited and we all walked in. One by one the biker dude led the dogs to the kennels. I didn't even get to say goodbye, which I guess was a good thing, as hugging them and whispering lovey dovey things in their ears would've just made them more nervous. Dexter couldn't care less and was just looking around excitedly. Leo on other hand was a bit more hesitant and kept looking back at me.
We went to the office and talked for a long time with the people running the place, business and otherwise. We made sure they knew every little bit of trivia about our dogs down to Leo's favourite American Idol judge (trick question, he hates them all equally). Blake loved exploring the office once he was given a box full of toys kept by the manager who has her young boy come over sometimes. He even got to keep a cool yellow car as a gift (Blake had his own Sophie's Choice moment when he had to choose between the yellow car and a Thomas the Tank Engine). Tough deal for the doggies, good deal for Blakey! I glanced at the dogs a couple of times, waiting in their kennels and looking for us to come and get them. Hanging around so near but without access to the woofers was too much. I wanted to wrap things up and go as soon as possible.
I unloaded the doggie blankets we brought from home and lots of Shmackos, their favourite snack, and we left. We drove quite a bit, stopped for Burger King where Blake had his second ever kid's meal and he obliterated his fries and half a mini-burger (he did NOT like ketchup this time and tried shaking it off the chips that got "infected"). He also ran around all over the service station. So between lots of car time which he loves and the rest of the attractions Blake had a great day. He couldn't care less that we left the two cows behind.
Then we got home and that's when it really got weird.
No dogs greeted us at the door. A ghost house full of dog toys, food and water bowls, blankets, bones and tons of dog hair imbued into the carpets, giving them a unique new texture. But no dogs.
As the days went by it became more and more unsettling: no Leo lying on the sofa and pushing me off with his paws as I play my X-Box, no Dexter sticking his head over my shoulder as I change Blake, no dogs camping in the middle of the stairs, no doggies coming to me when I eat to ask for a bite, no doggies running around the room in the morning in order to wake me up, no Dexter farting in rhythm as he goes down the stairs, no Leo snoring next to our bed.
I miss all of that. I didn't even manage to bring myself to enjoy the first few days of not having to take my dogs for a walk early in the morning or just before I go to bed. Instead I found it hard to fall asleep and I'd wake up early anyway startled by the fact that the dogs aren't trying to wake me up. A bit like when Blake started sleeping through the night and I'd wake up startled anyway, worried that something might be wrong since he's not crying.
I know that being away from Blake for 3-4 weeks would be worse, but it's sort of the same. I won't be thrilled that I don't need to feed, change or wash him. All I'll think about is how I'm being deprived of his amazing laughter, cuddly hugs and playfulness and also worry that he won't be having too much fun being away from me too.
We left the dogs before, but I was never home alone without the dogs in the last eight years since we got our first dog Kato. This is just weird. But in two days it'll be the end of the first week and I'll get closer to a teary reunion. Running towards each other in slow motion through a field of flowers and all that crap.
The first morning without them was the worst. I expected the dog people to call and tell me that Leo has died overnight from a broken heart. Yeah, a tiny part in me actually feared that. Drama queen much? Thankfully that wasn't the case. In fact, seems the dogs have actually bonded with their trainer, Terry, and are having fun. Ungrateful bastards! They should be at least as sad as I am if not more!
The dog people sent us a couple of pictures today to prove that the dogs are still alive and well:
Leo loves soaking some rays.
Dexter loves looking sexy for da ladies.
I miss you guys...