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Butterfly’s Day Out

My best friend from high school lives in Israel, with her husband and four kids, but she came to the states to visit family in the Catskills this summer, and I decided to take Mom and the dogs up for a visit.

            We packed up the car, with dog beds and treats and snacks and cd’s, for the drive upstate. We were prepared, with doggy Xanax (for Cricket), and Pepto Bismal (for Butterfly), and paper towels (for their maid, me).

            Cricket snuggled in behind my neck, and then behind my back, with her nose behind her grandma’s shoulder. Butterfly unhooked her seatbelt in the first ten minutes, with Cricket’s help, but stayed in her bed on the back seat, car sick. She only threw up twice on this trip, compared to the seven times she threw up on the trip to Washington, DC, in January. But I found two large chunks of chicken treat, and a ribbon of rawhide, floating in the puke, when we stopped at a rest area to clean up. Feeding her before a trip is a mistake. Now I know.

Butterfly, keeping an eye on Cricket's back

Butterfly, keeping an eye on Cricket’s back

            We reached Monticello, New York, late in the afternoon and checked in at the “best” local motel. One of the bedside lamps didn’t work. A floor lamp, the fridge and the microwave had to share two outlets. The door to the room didn’t quite close, unless you slammed it, repeatedly. And the bathroom light only stayed on for a certain amount of unspecified time. I won’t describe the carpets. But there was a grassy area next to the motel for the dogs to pee on, and beds to sleep on, and a TV to watch, so we were set.

Watching TV with Butterfly

Watching TV with Butterfly

Cricket guarding the door to the motel room

Cricket guarding the door to the motel room

            The next morning, I met up with my friend and her newest baby, not quite two months old, and only ten pounds, in her little pink footie pajamas. I had a chance to hold the baby while her mom and I caught up and, thankfully, she didn’t have that new baby fragility anymore. New babies feel like they’re barely held together with scotch tape, and a slight wind could break them apart, but this baby was gelling nicely.

Then we met up with the rest of her family at their bungalow colony, and Mom and the dogs arrived, and we were immediately swarmed with kids, some related to my friend, some complete strangers.

I saw Cricket getting a little antsy with all of the attention, despite her anti-anxiety medication, so I picked her up and held her for a while to help her calm down. Butterfly, on the other hand, sat patiently, while the kids took turns petting her back, and followed willingly when they led her around on her leash. She even took on a steady dog show trot to show off how well she conforms to Lhasa Apso breed standards.

How many hands can fit on one Butterfly?

How many hands can fit on one Butterfly?

Walk number thirty two.

Walk number thirty two.

            Before I put Cricket back down on the ground, to help meet the doggy love demand, I made sure that the kids knew that Butterfly and Cricket were different dogs. If Cricket ran under the picnic table to hide, I told them, it would not be a good idea to reach your fingers under the table to try and reach her. The kids adapted well, learning quickly that Cricket could be tempted with sticks, and would keep chasing sticks until her mouth was filled with four or five sticks at a time.

While the rest of the kids lined up to walk Butterfly, my friend’s seven-year-old daughter chose Cricket, who ran her every which way, to her father’s great amusement. Cricket is as bossy as the bossiest little girl, and managed to drag her new friend through the swing set, under the hammock, and into the woodsy area behind the house, until they were both dizzy, and smiling.

Happy Cricket, leading the way, to the water.

Cricket leading the way, to water.

Eventually, even Butterfly hit a wall, and scampered under the picnic table to rest, while I held Cricket, who had hit her limit a while earlier. The kids didn’t understand how the dogs could be done playing so soon. They had only been running for four hours, this way and that, with a crowd of children. Why would that be exhausting?

            Everyone gathered around for pizza and some kind of blue drink that even the kids found suspicious. The only sign that Butterfly was anxious was that she didn’t take pieces of pizza crust when they were offered to her, but Cricket didn’t mind eating a double share.

My friend’s children started to beg for a dog of their own, generously offering to trade in the new baby for said dog. I was a little worried that I’d brought discord into the family with my fluffy children, but my friend reassured me that the kids, and her husband, had been pointing out dogs everywhere they went, making a not subtle case for dog ownership, long before the fourth child came along, and long before my furry children offered such visceral temptation.

            It was nice just to sit there and take in the experience of seeing my high school friend, with her kids, and her husband, on a sunny afternoon in the country. I could feel her happiness; it was this quiet, solid fabric and her whole family was wrapped in it. And for a few hours, I was wrapped in it too.

The dogs slept well in the car on the way home, and through the next day. I don’t know if dogs relive experiences in their minds the same way people do, but I think Butterfly will always remember running like a show dog, with a long line of children waiting for the chance to be close to her. She was a star for the day, and she loved it.

Butterfly, after a long, but very good, day out.

Butterfly, after a long, but very good, day out.

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

50 responses »

  1. Quite the full.. and exhausting.. day! (for both the dogs & their Mommy) 🙂

    Reply
  2. I thought the Catskills were closed. There’s still entertainment to be found there, you just have to bring your kids and dogs.

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  3. Sounds like Butterfly & Cricket did just great around so many kids. Even I would have wilted!

    Reply
  4. Wonderful post – I could feel your enjoying the day with your high school friend and her family. I’m glad you made the effort to go. I had to laugh at the motel description because I think we’ve stayed in those same ones more than once. But the funniest picture was your chair propped against the door – Pretty always insists we do that when we stay in “questionable” motels! She said her mother always insisted on it when she went with her family on trips! The first line of defense…:)

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  5. What a lovely post…Such beautiful words when you said being with her family felt like being wrapped in a blanket!!!! That first pic of Butterfly….adorable!!!! So glad you had such a pawesome day!!!! -Hugs

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    • I love being around families who don’t worry me. I have a habit of noticing kids in trouble across a crowded room, and being around four kids who were absolutely fine, just felt so good. Butterfly loved it too.

      Reply
  6. Great post 🙂 It must have been good for the dogs to get to experience a family gathering. Sounds like they had a great time and delt with their anxiety. When my dogs have a good time and after nap their feet and mouths go a mile a minute. They are very expressive phyiscally and vocal.

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  7. Goodness I think I would have been exhausted, never mind the dogs. My two are not used to children and we have a few problems when my son and his partner turn up with the children – they want to play and the little man, in particular, can only put up with so much before he gets cranky. Then I tell the girls that it’s best to leave him alone for a while. Great post – loved the hotel :o)

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    • Cricket has had some serious to-do’s with her human cousins, because it took the boys a while to understand that poking her and dragging her by the neck might make her angry. Now they have a sixty pound black lab who likes to poke them and drag them by the neck, so, Cricket is laughing.

      Reply
  8. You have beautiful dogs 🙂 I love the names 🙂

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  9. hello cricket its dennis the vizsla dog hay i bet yoo wer wayting for room serviss werent yoo??? i hope they brawt yoo sumthing gud!!! ok bye

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  10. BUtterfly looks real sweet in that first picture. I read that giving them a teaspoonful of minced ginger before the car ride can help with the car sickness. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Your motel description sounds like like motels I’ve stopped at in the Catskills. Was it along Route 17?

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  12. What a great couple of days and well done on the journey home! Ruby is constantly taken for ‘walks’ when there are children around and she too collapses at the end of the day – too much stimulation:)

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  13. I love your pups! Your Butterfly looks like my Bailey! LOVE. 🙂

    Reply
  14. Lovely day out they seemed to enjoy their day out also. Funny sometimes when they dream they are running , feet going.
    Love the story
    hugs x

    Reply
  15. It’s amazing how much running they do while they are sleeping….:)

    Reply
  16. What a cute doggie! Thanks for stopping by my site, too, by the way. We writers have to stick together! -Stephanie at http://www.thewritesteph.com

    Reply
  17. Thank you for stopping at my site again. I do so enjoy your posts,

    Reply
  18. I love this post! How do you keep your car so clean? Millie and Pearl have very kindly re-upholstered my car seats in fur!

    Reply
  19. THAT’S what I need….doggie Xanax!!!

    Reply
  20. Woooohoooowooooo an adventure!

    Reply
  21. Great post as usual….gave me a laugh and a warm glow!

    Reply
  22. Tweeted this lovely post, and two others equally delightful 🙂 Best wishes.

    Reply
  23. I just tweeted this and another two posts, and I hope that you get lots of extra visitors. 🙂

    Reply

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