It’s hard to believe but last summer Dilly wasn’t alive yet. For half of it, he wasn’t even a twinkle in his mother’s uterus. He’s only been living with Steve and me for 8 months, but he’s such a big presence, it feels like he’s been with us for ages.
Had the coronavirus not followed him into the world, we would have missed several weeks of his puppyhood when we traveled to Europe in May. But like so many people’s plans, that trip was canceled. Instead we cobbled together a more pandemic-friendly adventure: a California road odyssey for which Dilly was our game fellow-traveler.
Packing our van with 3 weeks worth of dog provisions reminded us of when we took our oldest son on the road as a toddler. Instead of diapers and child seats and snacks and toddler toys, we had bags of dog food, Dilly’s bed, bowls and brushes and balls and more.
Along with all our gear, it barely fit.
We hit the road July 3. Over the next 21 days, Dilly got to hike in many awesome landscapes: in meadows and mountain trails at Mammoth and Lake Tahoe:
At the foot of volcanic Mt. Lassen.
He got to sniff the needles of the oldest trees on Earth…
… and some of the tallest…
He met exotic wildlife.
He discovered that the world can feel and smell very different from the way it does in San Diego.
Probably the funnest place was the enormous yard in back of the ranch house. Dilly got to run around in it, off-leash, at 90 miles an hour. He NEVER gets to do that at home.
Most of the time, he brought us daily pleasure. Countless folks admired him, and he reciprocated with love for one and all.
But he wasn’t wild about all the time on the road. For most of the more than 3000 miles we covered, he rode in his kennel, but he often didn’t sleep. We speculated that the twisty blue highways made him uncomfortable. Or maybe he was too warm back there.
For a while, he went out strike, refusing to jump up in his kennel as ordered. Then we had to muscle him in.
A few times I took pity on him and let him sleep at my feet up front.
He seemed to enjoy everything else about traveling, though. We sensed that what he loved most was getting to spend more time than usual being paid attention to by us.