Thursday, November 23, 2006

On the Road

We've been preparing Kirby for road trips. Since our first trip home from the shelter, when little Kirby suffered from a bit of stomach upset, we've been working him into the concept of the road trip. When we go for coffee, go to the grocery store, go to the post office, the dogs go into the car for a little ride. Our strategy worked. Kirby is now just as excited about going for a ride in the car as Baxter is, and he starts bouncing up and down when he sees us head out the door with his crate.

When I was a teenager, our Cairn Terrier, Katie, had issues with travel. She was in a state of almost constant panic in the car...eyes wide, panting rapidly and growling, barking and chasing every car that went by us. I've read since that such agitation is one way dogs show that they're carsick. Fortunately, our dogs don't seem to have this problem.

One of tne things we've always appreciated about Baxter is his ability to go into what we call "travel trance." He goes into this sort of meditative state, curled-up on his bed, eyes unfocused as soon as we hit the freeway (offramps, corners and stoplights all elicit a quick pop-up and look around). Sometimes he sleeps, sometimes he just sits there. Fortunately, Kirby has picked-up on the vibe.We drove for nearly five hours on our Thanksgiving trek, and Kirby slept blissfully the whole way.

Another thing we've learned on this trip has to do with food and sharing. We assumed that Baxter wanted his own food. Every chance he gets, Kirby tries to steal Baxter's food, even though he has a full bowl of the exact same food in front of him. So we've taken to segregating them at mealtime. This morning, Baxter ate his bowl of food while Kirby was out on one of his "business trips." When Kirby returned, we put a bowl of food down for him. Kirby grabbed a few pieces and took them over to the carpet to chew. Bax then proceeded to walk over to Kirby's bowl and take a big mouth full of Kirby's food. He stood there, in front of the puppy, just munching away. Undeterred, Kirby reached in under Baxter, while he was chewing, and grabbed a few more pieces. There was no objection, no growling and no territoriality at all. They just stood there eating, one by one, happy as can be, until they were both full.

The wonders never cease.

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