I was a little ... what's the word ... wary, I guess, preparing for our annual summer trek to Michigan this year. The 750-mile drive was to be Hathaway's first long road trip, our first border crossings with a pit bull, first time staying in unfamiliar houses for any length of time. With cats! (And toddlers, horses and chickens ...) There was a lot to be prepared for.
Silly me. Mr. Laidback rolled with it, the way he pretty much rolls with whatever situation we throw at him. Six hours in a car? It's a good time to catch up on some sleep. Motel room? New beds to sleep on. Customs? They barely looked at our passports, forget about the dog's papers. Strange house? Lots of corners to explore and stray snacks to find.
About a half-hour after we got into Dodge, er Romeo, the kids and I walked Hath over to the pool to meet my sister-in-law and nephews, who are almost 5 and almost 2. He won Jill's approval, was pretty much ignored by the boys and made a new BFF, Sofie, in a matter of minutes.
I was a little hesitant to let him off the leash around the pool, around the boys (who at their ages are very similar to bowling pins around a tank like Hathaway) and Sofie. But we got a tennis ball and the dogs played and ran -- exactly what he needed after two days on the road.
He was puzzled by the kids playing in the pool, thinking that they might be in distress, and started to get worked up and anxious. He looked like a canine David Hasselhoff, running up to the edge of the water, ready to jump in and save the children, but I really didn't want to find out if he'd actually make the leap.
I leashed him and headed back to the house, followed faithfully and unexpectedly by Sofie, who would not turn around and go home. She ran along in front of us, urging Hath to play. Of course, the minute after I let him off the leash, a huge doe sprinted across the road in front of the dogs. Sofie knew what it was and charged after it. Hath stopped for a minute, then followed his friend in futile pursuit.
He's afraid of the horses, likes chasing the chickens and finds the boys finger-lickin' good. He spent the dinner hour under the table, licking knees and snuffling for scraps. We ended our night with an unheard-of 2.5-mile walk filled with lots of new smells and territory to mark.
And, of course, some very loud snoring from the foot of the bed.