72: Puppy Love

72: Puppy Love

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

Puppy Love

You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

~Dr. Seuss

Although I’d dreamed of my honeymoon often, I never imagined any part of it would involve a four-month-old Dalmatian. Like most brides, I pictured an intimate getaway—even if we were just driving a few hours away, the travel would still be part of the romantic journey. On the day of the wedding, however, our puppy-sitter backed out on us. No one else was able to step in. Board our baby in a kennel? We didn’t have the heart. So our honeymoon became a trip for three.

Mike and I picked up our last-minute passenger at my father’s place, where he’d been waiting in the bedroom. He’d eaten my shoes.

“Not off to a good start, Schuyler,” I said.

Throughout the two-hour drive from Vermont to Montreal, Schuyler whined in his crate in the back. We pulled over to take him out for a walk. Again. And again. Four-month-old puppies don’t have the best control.

Then a surprise storm brought snow and ice that pelted the highway. We inched along in blizzard conditions. Gripping the wheel, Mike’s knuckles turned as white as the falling flakes. When Schuyler’s whines forced us to make another stop, I slogged through frigid drifts up to my knees. Finally we reached the Canadian border. We were almost there. Things were bound to improve now.

A border officer peered into our car. “May I see your immunization records?”

“Oh dear, I didn’t know I’d need them. I’m sure I’m up to date, though,” I stammered. “I just had a checkup.”

“Not yours. The dog’s.” The officer scowled.

Schuyler scratched at his crate door. Mike smiled at the officer hopefully. “Oh, he’s had his puppy shots, but we don’t have the papers with us.” He laughed lightly. “We weren’t planning on bringing our dog on our honeymoon.”

It didn’t matter. The officer wasn’t interested. “He needs a rabies shot,” the man said.

“Sir, it’ll be taken care of,” Mike replied. “He’s scheduled for one back home with our vet.”

“Just get him a rabies shot now, or you can’t take the dog across the border.”

I glanced back at our puppy. In our hurry to pack his food and supplies, we never thought of this.

The officer gave us directions to a veterinarian about five miles back in Vermont. There was nothing to do but turn around.

We considered giving up and going home, but the weather conditions were far from ideal, and the two-hour trip back would surely take at least twice as long. Besides, Montreal was only a stone’s throw away, if only we could get across that border!

Happy to be out of the car, Schuyler bounded into the vet’s office. “Will the rabies shot make him feel ill?” I asked. The veterinarian assured us it was okay. He very kindly administered the immunization, and very kindly charged us an exorbitant fee for his services. That veterinarian had a sweet deal being located so close to the border.

Finally, we arrived at a pet-friendly hotel in Montreal. Well, to be clear, the hotel allowed pets, but the experience was far from friendly. No special amenities in the room, no designated place to walk your dog. Once again, I climbed over mountainous drifts, Schuyler and I blazing a trail in the deep snow.

In the room, I changed into a slinky black dress to go out to dinner. We’d managed a passing glimpse of the dining room on the way in, and it looked inviting. Mike buttoned his new blue dress shirt. “We’ll be back,” he told Schuyler, scratching our pup’s ears. Schuyler looked at us with sad eyes. The minute we left the room, he started crying. As we made our way down the hall, the whines turned to torturous barks.

“We can’t leave him barking like that,” I said. “We’ll get kicked out.”

Dinner that night? Room service, with an extra burger for Schuyler. And our wedding night was certainly cozy, as Schuyler squeezed his chubby little body between us and snored peacefully.

We headed back home the next morning. What was the point? And yet, as we traveled along the winter-white roads, I couldn’t help smiling. At the next pit stop, Mike threw a snowball. I threw one back. Schuyler ran and jumped to catch it. The three of us romped and played together until we were nearly frozen.

We let Schuyler join us in the front seat of the parked car as we sipped takeout cups of cocoa from a nearby restaurant. He wriggled until he found just the right position, and fell asleep. Mike gave me a kiss, and we held hands.

At that moment, it was perfect—just being with the wonderful man I’d married, and our warm, spotted puppy snuggled between us on the car seat. I wouldn’t have dreamed it, but yes, it was even romantic.

~Peggy Frezon

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