Friday, February 1, 2013

What About Riley?

"Mrs. Campbell once attempted to smuggle 
her pet Pekingese through customs by tucking
him inside the upper part of her cape.
'Everything was going splendidly,' she later
remarked, ' until my bosom barked.'"
~ Beatrice Stella Campbell

"What are you going to do with Riley?"  If one person has asked me that question when they learn about our trip to Italy this spring, about a zillion have asked me it.  My friends, it seems, are worried about the Little Dude.

Truthfully, the biggest stress I've faced in planning this trip is what to do with the little munchkin. He and I thought it would fun – and appropriate – if he accompanied us since we're going to be gone so long. How, he wondered, could we survive without his charming presence, and didn't we want to take a side trip to Wales to research *his* ancestry? I thought it was great (except maybe for the Wales part), but the other half of the Big Dudes in this family didn't.

Originally, we thought we'd take Riley to stay with Jason in Florida. Our son is very much like his mother and loves dogs, and Riles loves Jason and Bean. However, once I started considering four-day trips to Florida to bookend our adventure, I decided it might be just a little too much.

A few friends suggested we fly Riles to Florida, but he nixed that saying he was *not* going to ride in cargo, caged like some animal.  I did try to figure out a way I could take him in the cabin with me if I flew him there and back, but the little sausage butt weighs a little too much.  Could I use him as a service animal?  Mike says he'd have to be better behaved. Could I sneak him under my cape?  Barking would be the least of my problems.

Kennel him?  Nope.  Two months in a kennel was not going to happen. Same thing with leaving him alone and having someone come and let him out every day.  The Little Dude is too social and needs companions around.

Luckily, everyone loves Riley, and we had many friends volunteer to host him. We faced almost the same situation, though, because most of them live elsewhere. One of the friends who volunteered to take him, though, lives a few blocks from us, has a Schnauzer, had a Welsh Terrier, knows terriers, and is as crazy about dogs as I am. I was relieved and happy to know he'd be okay even if he wasn't home. . . although he was not wild about not being able to take all of his beds (FIVE), toys (too many to count), and the lizard in the backyard (blech) with him.

Plans do change, however, and the little guy will be staying home after all. Next month, a good friend of ours is moving to Las Vegas to start a job, and while she acclimates to both the job and city, she'll be staying with us until she finds a place to rent. Riles is thrilled because Mary spoils him . . . and he'll have access to all of his beds, toys, and Larry the Lizard.

And while I'm happy that Mary will be in the house and take care of Riley, I'm more glad that my friend is moving here.  That is the most important thing.

Next: Finding a place in Paris. . . .

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