Goodbye Hill Country. As I type we have traded in Live Oaks and Ash Junipers in for the Yucca and Mesquite of west Texas. It was tough getting on the road this time. I am never fond of goodbyes and this time we were not only leaving home but seeing Mom and Dad off on their own road trip back home to Michigan. Our friends, Gwen and J.R., are staying in our house this summer so there was extra packing up to do to leave the house ready for them. And though our systems for traveling with animals are established and serve well, the addition of 3 two and a half week old puppies requires some adaptation. We’re still figuring things out as we go.
Dottie’s pups were born, auspiciously, on Mother’s Day. It was intense. With only three pups they had room to grow big… and they did. The first born, a male with the working title of “Salt”, came out tail first and got stuck. With coaching from Dottie’s co-owner, Melody, over the phone, Steve helped him out the rest of the way. Normal stimulation didn’t get him breathing so he got “flung” too. Then it took a while to get him warmed up. While Salt stayed warm inside my shirt, Steve helped his sister, dubbed “Pepper”, out in much the same way as he did with Salt. This time, scared and shaking, we didn’t wait as long to assist and, once out, Pepper breathed on her own. While Salt and Pepper nursed, Dottie started having contractions again. This time, inside the sac, a nose appeared rather than a tail. We were so happy to see the front end of a puppy rather than the back! As the third pup slipped out like a little greased pig, while her siblings suckled peacefully, we named her “Joy”. We thanked our lucky stars for a small litter as neither of us was sure our hearts could take more. Find some pictures on facebook by following these links:
The last couple of weeks have been an exercise in amazement, watching the pups grow at a tremendous rate. At times they grew so fast it was almost like watching time lapse photography! As we make our way to California, their eyes are open and they scramble around pretty good with action that is somewhere between swimming and crawling. Maybe they’ll be walking when we get to California … but their legs are going to have to get pretty strong to support their fat little bodies.
Three days after pups were born, Mom and Dad joined our household. Noche, Ginger and Grayson were happy to see them as pups were whelped in the trailer and Steve and I had moved into the trailer with Dottie before they were born. We were happy to see them too! They arrived just in time for Mom to attend my Master Gardener graduation lunch. Dad pretty much got right to work on the projects we had saved up for him … refinishing a beautiful, but weathered, park bench given to us by Dennis and Nancy, and our beautiful red cedar bar that divides the kitchen from the living room. The weather wasn’t real cooperative but we did manage to get them out on the lake once at least. They had great visits with friends from their former life as Texans. Despite all that we had to do to be ready to leave ourselves, it was emotional to see them drive away on Wednesday.
While I was composing this post … offline because there has been no cell signal to speak of … we blew our first tire of the trip. Made it about 120 miles farther this year than last before losing a trailer tire. Bought a used, not-quite-up-to-snuff-in-the-load-rating-department tire in Robert Lee, Texas rather than drive without a spare. Now, I sit, cellularly connected once again, while Steve buys us comfort food at a Dairy Queen. Then on to Lubbock, TX to buy a real spare tire. Wish us well on the latest chapter of our tour of America’s tire stores!