…Phew! Now, that was a long transport!
My journey to Atlanta was tons of fun! Every human whom I met categorically loved me and called me ‘handsome!’
The transport vehicle stopped every two hours to allow the stretching of our eight legs, and of course to consume food which extended the transport times; twelve hours down to Atlanta and fourteen hours back home. However, I have no complaints because life is an exciting adventure… and my transport was nowhere near as long as the humans’ transport from Canada.
Georgia was having a heat wave with temperatures soaring to one hundred degrees which made outside exercise nearly impossible. Instead, I took long morning walks in two different malls. In one of the two malls I rode in a fighter jet in the “Raptor Canyon” simulator!
Actually, I was more interested in the very dark cabin’s floor, since my puppy raiser had dropped her sunglasses – which I had retrieved. Then I retrieved the lens that had popped out of its frame while picking up the sunglasses in the first place. The cabin’s floor had nothing further to offer, so I made the decision to sit in the seat beside my puppy raiser. At the ride’s end as the ride master opened the door, he was relieved to see our smiling faces.
I was the ride master’s very first canine guest! Even though the simulator ride was brief, as a precaution my Joanie had my Billy’s cell phone ready to ring with a touch of one button. The ride master observed the cell phone preparation, and nervously kept the lobe of one ear glued to the closed shiny white metal door in the event one of us exercised our vocal chords.
The union was held in a beautifully simple, small wooden chapel built in the early 1800s. The chapel owned two narrow twin entrance doors, ship-lap walls, wide wooden floors, dark wooden pews, three plain windows on each side wall – dressed in simple white sheers, four large ceiling fans, it housed many guests, and a string trio! I donned my white bow tie and met many wonderful new humans.
While the two violins and cello sang, my vocal chords remained still. Additionally, I remained in a down-stay while my puppy raiser stood to read from scripture. I behaved like a big boy and every human whom I came across during every celebration used the words ‘well behaved’ and ‘handsome’ to describe me. Yup, this handsome, debonair thirteen month old still has ‘it!’
Hold on to your hats! The groom played my Jammin’ June ‘Warm up to Improv’ sound track for his guests during the final celebration, many of whom were musicians! They were impressed that I had tried to match the pitch, they loved my use of dynamics, and they even loved my extended technique! ‘Warm up to Improv’ came very close to having my dream come true! Do you remember my dream?
On my last day in Georgia while on my early morning mall walk, I visited a Bass Pro Shop. It was there I met Bear. Bear was brown, very tall, and frozen despite the Georgia heat, just like all the vibrantly colorful, frozen horses on the merry-go-round – remember?
Bear’s gaze was fixed as I tried so very hard to find his scent but I could not. It was amazing that a bear Bear’s size did not own a scent, and it was equally amazing that Bear never once blinked. Neither had Moose who my puppy raiser referred to as Bullwinkle (go figure), nor Elk who owned two impressively large antlers. I also observed cold blooded, limbless vertebrates swimming inside a tank while practicing paws up on a bench in front of the enormous tank.
I was then en route to a canine who clearly had another type of job. This perfectly proportioned hunting canine stood perfectly still and seemed to have been pointing perfectly at me! It took me – and my puppy raiser – a moment to realize that this canine was not frozen! This one owned a scent! It sure would have been fun to play with him but alas, my puppy raiser quickly placed a treat on my nose and turned me around to walk in the opposite direction of this unusual canine.
As I walked, I heard what sounded similar to birds but there were none airborne or for that matter, grounded. I, Louie, experienced a brief moment of confusion since there were no birds in sight! I was trying my best to behave like a big boy. From where was this never-before-heard yet familiar sound coming? Ears alert, eyes searching, the angel and devil riding each shoulder were in the midst of a debate. Before my vocal chords could voice a second pianissimo peep I was dashed out of the shop to a bench where I practiced hup. Bass Pro Shop proved to be a fascinating fusion of mind provoking realities and fantasies. I must return!
Back in town, I spent an afternoon with my lovely sister, Ruby, at the Towson American Legion Ride for Hero Dogs event. This cookout was to celebrate their successful ride, and reward their work. There were so many kind and generous humans gathered who clearly adore canines.
Gadzooks! Another first… A Ferry Boat!! I once again walked on water, this time via the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. Lewes is pronounced exactly like my name, Louis! This was a much larger boat than the Baltimore water taxi that I rode – remember?
I very much enjoyed watching the water, and possessed an increasing desire to test the waters. My puppy raiser carried supplies for the day in a large black backpack and had attached my brilliant red life jacket to it. After all, one can never be overly safe. This mini cruise was seventeen miles, and it took eighty minutes to cross the Delaware Bay in this vessel.
I alternated between under the table and strolling the deck. I strolled by three canines on this ferry; the first canine was a calm Golden with a beautiful white face, the second canine was small and most likely related to Yapper – remember him? Unfortunately he had the same syndrome as Yapper – you must remember Yapper’s rudeness, do you not? The symptoms were the same; growling with all-around rude behavior. Obviously cursed with ‘small dog syndrome.’ The third canine was strangely unique. As I made my way through the Lewes terminal I passed a Boston Terrier. My puppy raisers and I heard the voice of an octogenarian female human screaming in an unarticulated anger. We turned in unison, in the direction from where the strange voice came, to examine the commotion only to discover that it was not a human at all. It was the Boston Terrier! He stood four square screaming with a wide open mouth at the top of his lungs. We three stood for a moment staring in disbelief. He seemed to be screaming at me – but why!? Not a soul understood his language but he made everyone present, including my puppy raisers, laugh out loud.
My puppy raisers had sensed my increasing desire to test the waters! I experienced swimming for the first time in my thirteen months here on earth! The weather was perfect, I donned my brilliant red life jacket, and we set out for a swim.
We drove down the road to the Patapsco Valley State Park where I met members of the Maryland Conservation Job Corps. After socializing, they walked to the shore to observe my swimming lesson.
Cautious at first, running into the water and out, soon I instinctively performed the doggy-paddle.
On Friday, June 15, 2016,
at forty-two minutes and four seconds after ten o’clock in the morning,
I, Louie, swam.
Traveling to my third baseball game was an adventure. To avoid feeling like a sardine on the silver tube my puppy raisers and I deliberately set out to catch the silver tube after the rush hour. Best laid plans is a fitting phrase.
The Silver Spring station’s portal, commonly know to humans as an elevator, was not in operation nor were there steps to climb. There were only moving steps known as escalators which we all know are to be avoided at all times. Instead, I rode a transport shuttle from Silver Spring to Takoma where its portal was operational.
After exiting its portal, I entered another silver tube. The red line on the wall of the silver tube led me to a mysterious circle named Gallery Place where I exited to walk the steps to yet another silver tube. This treasure hunt was similar to the game find it!
With another portal inoperable, no steps near by, and with an unflinching determination, I walked to the center’s opposite side, climbed steps back to the upper floor, and walked back to the original side to where I rode a final silver tube to the game.
Since this adventure took one and a half hours, I had ample time to practice back and down-stay on the silver tube as well as on the transport shuttle. I walked up and down steps, and rode the portals like a pro.
I was able to visit several of my Hero Dogs buddies at Nationals Park because not only were the tickets generously donated, the donor thoughtfully grouped all of us together!
After accompanying several buddies back to their transport vehicle I then walked against the flow of exiting fans like a fearless city canine cutting a path through the crowd… like a salmon swimming upstream against raging currents… “Against the Wind,” I was on a mission. I walked like a pro, and as I walked many humans voiced positive comments. One human said ‘well behaved’ as I passed. My puppy raiser heard this and thanked him, and agreed that I was well behaved, but then the human said he was referring to my puppy raiser!
My puppy raisers gratefully accepted a ride directly back to the Silver Spring station in therapy dog Archie’s transport vehicle. Despite the hiccups it was a fun adventure! With beautiful weather and a crowd of 34,050, the Washington Nationals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 8 to 1.
Could that have been heaven? I returned to the river where I learned to swim to practice my doggy-paddle and best flying-fish imitation. This time, not only did I swim, but I also hiked and ran along the river’s edge. I saw ‘trees of green, skies of blue, clouds of white,’ and joyful teen humans leaping into the river. ‘What a Wonderful World!’
Rounding out the month, I spent time settled on a carpeted dressing room floor and practiced paws up on a counter in a shop where the human ladies requested my return. I celebrated two humans’ big-numbered birthdays, visited a restaurant with friends, practiced sit-stay while witnessing a windshield replacement, and grocery shopped at the Fort Meade Commissary for the first time. And of course, July provided plenty of play time which included running and playing with Ruby and four new buddies!
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
It is now bedtime and I must bid you adieu. I will devour my bedtime treats and practice lap as I am tucked in just before brushing my teeth. I thoroughly love ‘lap,’ my last treats of the day, and my toothpaste. My puppy raisers’ good night hugs and kisses will leave me content, secure, and warm and fuzzy. Tonight, perhaps my head will be filled with dreams of running, swimming, singing, and of adventures to come!
July was Jubilant in every sense of the word!
I am Louie, Louie I am, and I wish “all y’all” a Good Night!