Archived Story

Weekend drive goes to the dogs

Published 3:53pm Thursday, June 21, 2012

Last Friday I gathered up my family and headed to my parent’s home in Cullman. All of us were in pretty good moods for the trip, especially since my mother was going to be cooking all weekend long.
The only thing that could possibly ruin our collective good feeling was our 5-month old puppy, Trent, and my wife’s apparent dislike of this cute 40-pound dog. You see, Karen has always been a cat person and for that reason is somewhat uncomfortable handling our new pet. For his part, Trent is still very young and can be a bit rambunctious on long trips, especially if he has nothing to chew.
Based on these facts, you might already be thinking the story I’m fixing to tell you will surely end in disaster. Indeed, the car trip did end in shambles, but that’s not what makes this tale worth telling. Rather, it’s the extent and longevity of the disaster that make this story worth putting into words.
The first sign of trouble in our trip came as we passed Home Depot on the way out of town. Trent became restless after a whopping 5 minutes and decided to jump in Karen’s lap. Then, he jumped into the back seat with the kids and repeated this process several times, taking the time to lick Karen all over her arms and face in the process.
After expressing (rather loudly, I might add) her dislike of being covered in dog spittle, she banned the poor creature to the floorboard where he was supposed to calm down and go to sleep.
Well, he didn’t go to sleep. Instead, he began chewing on my wife’s sunglasses and an assortment of napkins and plastic wrappers.
Even though my wife was upset about the sunglasses incident, we didn’t think too much of Trent’s appetite for napkins. Until, of course, he threw it all up about 30 minutes later into what was quickly becoming the trip from hell.
I have to say the stuff looked awful, but at least it didn’t smell. Even so, almost on cue, our little monster began to eat the substance, which of course grossed all of us out.
At that moment Karen demanded we pull over to the side of the road and clean it up. After 15 minutes of wiping and scrubbing (and a little bit of cussing from my wife), we were on the road again with a clean car and no apparent problems. I was sure it would be clear sailing for the rest of the trip.
Unfortunately, that’s when Karen noticed Trent had approximately 6 ticks crawling all over him. Apparently, he picked them up on the side of the road when we were busy cleaning the car. To make matters even worse, Karen had one on her.
After screaming about ticks for what seemed a lifetime, we managed to check both the dog and Karen for the little bloodsuckers, throwing all of them out the window. Surely, we thought, this would be the last chaotic moment we would face during this long ordeal.
All of our hopes for a calm end to our trip were dashed, however, when Trent suddenly began passing gas – repeatedly.
I have to be honest – it stunk badly. So bad, in fact, the windows had to be rolled down on several occasions. After the third stink bomb went off, I began to think Trent’s aroma could be bottled and used in warfare, something akin to poison gas.
Mercifully, the trip ended after 3 hours of chaos. Even today, Karen is not over the trauma. Regardless, I’ve learned my lesson. On our next trip, I’m bringing handy wipes, tick repellent and a cork for Trent’s behind. Otherwise, my wife’s not coming.

Roger Steele is general manager and advertising director of The Outlook.