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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas in the Woods

Ah, Christmas.

Candy Canes, Santa, Jingle Bells, Stockings, Shiny Ornaments, and Turkey Dinner.

Mmmm. Sounds like Love to me.

Wait, I forgot about Traveling.

To the Woods.

If you read any of these blogs about my childhood, you might remember that I grew up in the woods. Wait, I mean The Woods. My Mom and Nan still live there. So, every now and then, I fly or drive across the continent to visit the girls in The Woods.

This Christmas, Harley and I are flying. Harley's such a good little traveler.

He has been across this vast, broad, great, wide, days-long-if-your-dog-gets-sick country a few times now.

The first time we went, I wasn't sure what to expect, so I went to the vet and asked for some doggie sleep meds, just in case Harley went nuts. Well, I wasn't sure what 'doggie nuts' (sorry, couldn't resist) meant, so I waited, and waited, and waited.

Well, Harley wasn't used to being squished into a little bag. Ah, Harley and bags... remember the blog about poop in a bag? Good times all around, there.

He didn't poop in this bag, but he was antsy. He wanted out. He was well-behaved on the plane for awhile. Everyone 'oohed' and 'aahed' over the cute, little, Teddy-Bear-looking puppy. "Such a sweet little guy, and so well-behaved!"

And then his little teeth would come out, and his legs would start kicking and thrashing against the side of the bag. It looked like a little earthquake in the soft-sided doggy carrier, or at the very least, like I was kidnapping something that really objected to being in a bag.

I was sad because I wasn't sure if this warranted giving him a pill. I called my cousin, and asked if I should give him one. He's so little, I was actually afraid I would kill him. It was actually a quarter of a pill, but I was nervous nonetheless. Between us, we decided that Harley got the pill. After an hour or so, the pill kind of kicked in. He was so wound up, it took awhile for the meds to really take effect.

A guy came over and talked to me for a long time and in retrospect, despite the story about being military on holiday, he was probably airport security, checking out the drugs I was feeding my dog.

We boarded the plane to Toronto, and Harley settled in for the trip. He didn't move for the entire flight. My heart was so heavy in my chest because I actually thought I had killed him, and the flight attendant would not let me pick him up off the floor to check. She was so mean to me.

The guy next to me told me he would keep watch while I checked on him, and I could actually lift his limbs but he wouldn't move on his own. I was so scared.

When we landed, he was groggy but I made him get up and walk around. I was terrified that I was killing him. He was so out of it for the entire rest of the day and evening, it was like he was drunk.

I didn't have to drug him on the way back, so maybe he remembered the meds and thought I punished him for being a savage on the first flight. He behaved perfectly on the way back (but the savage kids next to us wouldn't leave him alone until the nice flight attendant moved us away from them). All the 'oohs' and 'aahs' were deserved at that point.

His little black eyes would stare at me as if to say, "Mama... I'll be a good boy. No more funny-head stuff, please!"

Anyway, this year we are flying again. I am worried that Harley will repeat his baby-wolverine-trapped-in-a-bag performance. Should I drug him?

Meanwhile, I have to catch 3 flights, then drive 3 hours into The Woods after I stay at a friend's house for the remainder of the night once I get off the last plane. It's quite a trek. It's between a mountain and a bay, quite remote. When I say I'm going on vacation, I mean it. See ya.

The last time I went home in the winter, it took me about 5 or 6 hours to make the 3 hour drive back to the airport because the weather was so bad. The snow was drifting onto the road so that I could barely see out the windshield, and I certainly would not have been able to see the road had a transport truck not come up behind me and stayed there the entire way.

Nerve-wracking? Only a tiny bit.

Some people love traveling to an island for Christmas. Newfoundland is an island, and some people love traveling there. In the summer, it isn't so bad. In the winter, it's really hectic and worrisome. I told Mom the other day that she needs to move somewhere where I don't need to drive 3 hours into the Woods just to see her. She just laughed. "I like the woods," she said, "I'm never leaving Newfoundland!"

That's what she thinks. One day, she may find herself like Harley: all drunk-feeling, stumbling around, and in Fort McMurray.

And I'll say, "Oh... I must have given you Harley's meds by accident. Sorry 'bout it. Welcome to the city!"

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