Last Friday, I set out for a four-day excursion into the darkest wilds of Northern Illinois. I planned to watch a Bears pre-season game at a Chicago bar with some old friends on Friday night, stay in a hotel in Chicago that evening, and then head out to my small but scenic hometown of Dixon to visit family and then come back on Tuesday.
I managed all that, but the trip was overshadowed by a mission of mercy. Argotnaut can provide details on her site when she's damn good and ready. But the short version is that her dad was badly injured in a car accident last week. A's parents have a small dog that her dad took care of. With him down for the count, they were faced with either boarding the little guy for perhaps a couple of months, or putting him down altogether.
Those of you who know Argotnaut know that she'd rather eat broken glass, or worse yet, a veal steak, rather than let a poor little innocent creature come under the ax. And since I felt the same way and the trip was already scheduled, I volunteered to bring the dog back on the plane to Portland and let him stay with us until the situation was resolved.
As usual, my family answered the bell to help me manage a potentially difficult task. I showed up in Dixon on Saturday afternoon as scheduled and we had a nice get together. Then on Sunday morning, my little sister Tavia and my brother Steve and I drove the 80 miles to Morris to pick up Buddy.
Good God what a cute little dog! He's had a hard life, which is why he has no lower teeth between his canines so his tongue sticks out most of the time. Or he adopts an Elvis/Billy Idol sneer of disdain, when what he's really doing is smiling. He was a little nervous at first, understandably, but after a few minutes in the car, he settled in:
He seemed to enjoy his three days in Dixon despite the fact that it was an entirely new world filled with strange creatures -- owls, crickets, Heckman siblings, my Dad. Then it was time to mount the expedition that would get him back to Portland, first by car to the bus depot in Rockford, then by bus to O'Hare, and then (mercifully) by cab rather than public trans to home in Portland.
I'd gotten a soft-sided carrier before I'd left PDX, and he settled into that with minimal fuss on the bus:
O'Hare, as usual, was its own cross to bear. The flight was delayed two hours and we had to change gates during the wait. But to be fair to United, I did request an aisle seat with an empty seat next to it, and they came through with flying colors. So when Buddy got fidgety, I could put him on the seat next to me and let him poke his head out of the carrier for a stretch:
Fortunatly, our other pets seemed to adapt quickly to our guest, and he adapted quickly to the futon, worn out no doubt:
As for me, well, I had a very nice trip but I'm still a bit weary. My lovely wife has been quick to take up the household burdens so I can be a lazy sod for a day and recover. And no, we don't now have two dogs named Buddy. Buddy II has been christened "Pepe," because he's a speedly little guy who likes to run in small circles like he's doing the Mexican Hat Dance.
Sorry to burden you all with photos of a cute critter, but get used to it. We have the most photogenic bunch of animals under one roof (including Argotnaut, of course!)