Posts Tagged With: puppy

434– The First Leg

Whenever there is some new change in my life about to happen, it seems daunting.  When I take a long trip, sometimes it’s hard for me to believe I’m actually going to make it to the end.  As my husband will tell you, I’m slightly a pessimist at heart.  I just call myself a ‘realist.’  Regardless, the journey ahead of us upon leaving Clio, Michigan seemed almost impossible– until I got on the road.  That first turn of the wheels is always the hardest, I guess.  Whenever I thought I couldn’t make it, I always started thinking about those adventurers– Lewis and Clark, Amelia Earhart, Alexander the Great, etc– who walked or flew or rode horseback through their adventures.  I was embarking on a journey thousands of others have accomplished, on a road of asphalt, and in a luxury SUV– it wouldn’t be nearly as difficult as those early adventures.

Especially with these two

Route from Clio – Madison

Our first day of driving would come out to be about 434 miles (698.5km) and end in Madison, Wisconsin.  We started in Clio going I-69S, speeding away from a thunderstorm that looked like the start of Dorothy’s tornado in The Wizard of Oz.  S and I had discussed extensively about our rest stops because I have a tendency to guzzle my beverages and need to use the restroom every 10-20 minutes.  We were both really concerned about this because it definitely would put a damper on our travel time management.  Fortunately, I didn’t have anything to worry about.  I kept track of how much I drank and Callie took care of the rest– we had to stop about every 2-4 hours for her so it worked out great for me.

How can you turn these baby blues down?

Our first rest stop was at the Indiana Welcome Center.  It was HOT!  The temperature was around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity, and found out Callie hated high temperatures just as much as she hated the cool mornings in Michigan.  We also had to remember she was only 9 weeks old and hadn’t really had a chance to learn how to deal with different types of weather.

We stopped at a Panera Bread for lunch and quickly realized having Callie was going to make eating more of a process.  Even though we hadn’t thought it through for this first stop, we were fortunate because the Panera Bread was right next door to a funeral home that was closed on Sundays.  Behind the funeral home was a large grassy area with a big pine tree and we had ourselves a little picnic, let Callie eat, and tried to get her to play even though she was obviously not enjoying the heat.  Before leaving, I looked up pet-friendly hotels in Madison and made a reservation at Holiday Inn Express Madison for around $110 ($20 for pet fee).  This was the first and last comfortable bed and nice hotel we would get to stay in during our trip.

Just before Chicago, we saw we should have taken I-294 after Gary, Indiana (instead of staying on 94), and then 88E to 39N to bypass Chicago and Indiana’s multitude of toll roads.  I usually don’t mind toll roads so much, but there were so many of them and if we exited the highway for a rest stop, we had to pay when we got back on.  Also, although there were many that were manned, there were a few that were just to drop coins in.  Well, after the 7th toll, I didn’t have any coins.  I’m pretty sure S and I are wanted in Indiana due to toll violations.

I need to go potty, please

Callie turned out to be a wonderful travel dog.  She would just sleep for hours and then wake up and look like the picture to the right and we would stop and let her go to the bathroom.  She didn’t have an accident in either vehicle the entire trip.  It was definitely an interesting way to housebreak her as well.  It was good planning on our part that we started the trip immediately upon getting her, because she grew quite fast and we had to carry her from the hotel room to the grass outside whenever she needed to go to the bathroom, so it was nice she was kind of small during the trip.  I couldn’t imagine having to do that now– we would just have had a lot of accidents to clean up in the hotel hallways.  We did learn rather quickly to ask for a room on the first floor near an outside door when we made our reservations though.

Next– Wisconsin!  There were some beautiful stretches of road…(and I didn’t see ANY cheese!)

Categories: From Tennessee to Alaska | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the road again…

After so many “Goodbye’s,” packing our whole apartment up ourselves, and just dealing with the physical and mental stress of moving to the other side of the country (plus some), S and I were looking forward to getting to Michigan to have some stabilization time with his family.  We had these grand ideas it was going to be relaxing and peaceful and…well, like a trip to the spa for a week before our arduous journey to Alaska.

Ah yes…Michigan (in my dreams)

Little did we know we’d be dealing with this creature at 3AM…

Remind you of anything?

I quickly came to realize puppies are absolutely adorable– when you can pick them up and kiss them and watch them fall asleep and then get to walk away (like grandchildren).  Puppies are absolutely nightmarish when you own one and have to get up in the middle of the night to let them outside.  Or when you have to get up at 5AM and they want to play and you’re only allowed to have them outside or in the garage and your puppy is a priss about wet grass and chilly weather…okay, sorry.  I could ramble on forever about that.  What happened was, being in Michigan was not a week-long relaxing stop on our way to Alaska, it was an introduction into the world of being an adult and having another entity completely rely on you for everything.

Well, for some of us at least

At some points during that week, I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to be going to Alaska because I didn’t know if my husband would want me around anymore.  We were barely getting any sleep, we didn’t know how to schedule for who would get up at 3AM with so-called “puppy” (I think “monster” would be a better descriptor at that point in her life), and this was weighing on our normal ability to be kind and loving to one another.  Fortunately, we were still able to communicate and were rational enough to know what was going on and just stuck it out until we could get some sleep.  Unfortunately, sleeping well wasn’t really on the schedule for another 3 weeks.

All three of us did end up getting on the road on Sunday, May 27, 2012 (which also happens to be the birthday of the darling who brought S and I together– his beautiful niece).  I had my handy-dandy iPhone app, Pet Friendly Hotels, downloaded, Callie sleeping in the passenger seat, and my hot coffee ready to go.  I was ready for hotels, fast food, and one long road for the next two weeks.  I couldn’t believe I was about to drive 4,462 miles (7,181 km) all by myself.

What’s the longest drive you’ve ever made by yourself?

Note:  The Pet Friendly Hotels App is free and it was truly a life-saver.  I didn’t always make reservations through them, but it was really nice to know instantly which hotels in the area allowed animals instead of trying to find access to the internet and trudging through hotel sites and making phone calls.  I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone traveling with animals– no matter how far you’re traveling.

Categories: From Tennessee to Alaska | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Dream NOT Deferred

We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.  ~George Eliot

Some of the strangest moments stay with me forever while significant ones blow away into another time. When I was six years old, I was riding with my Dad in the car and saw something that should have only existed in the fictional books I constantly read.

“What is that?!”  I pointed vigorously and questioned my Dad in a high-pitched voice.

He slowed and smiled, knowingly.  “It’s a Great Dane.”

“What is that?”

“It’s a dog.”

My life was changed.  I couldn’t believe a dog could be that large.  It was beautiful, proportional, and muscular.  I thought of all the amazing adventures I could go on with a dog that size.  I instantly wanted one.  At 6, however, I had no concept of finances and couldn’t imagine dogs costing more than a few dollars.  Instead of my Dad explaining all this to me, he merely said, “When you grow up, you can have one all to yourself.”


So I grew up…

My husband, S, and I were separated in Afghanistan for 2011.  We left 3 months after our wedding and just around the time both of us were turning 26.  One day, shortly into the deployment, I asked S, “What kind of dog would you want to get?”  He hmmm’d and hawww’d and said he’d thought about getting a German Shepherd.  “Oh, ok,” I said.  “Why, what would you want?”

“A Great Dane.”

I think my husband fell more in love with me with those three words than he already had.  He never thought he would meet a woman that would want such a large dog.  Then again, he also never thought he’d meet a woman he wanted to marry.

It was a long, emotional journey to find a breeder.  I had grown up with my Mom bringing home shelter dogs that were about to be euthanized and finding homes for them herself.  Getting a dog from a breeder was a really tough decision for me, but S and I both wanted to know the temperament of the dog and be able to make it ours– mistakes and triumphs– from the start.  Fortunately, I worked at night in Afghanistan so the 12 1/2 -hour time difference was perfect to call people in the USA.  We finally found someone we were comfortable with and seemed to really care about what she was doing.  Her name is Maria Wilkinson ( and she turned out to be a dream come true.



S and I kept up with the pictures Maria posted on her website for the litter Moonbeam was having at the time and just dreamt of the day one of the puppies we would be looking at would be ours.  We arrived back home in January 2012 and had plenty on our plates, but constantly watched the website to see if the puppies had been born.  A week past the time of what should have been their birth passed and I called Maria, terrified something was wrong.  She assured me everything was fine and a huge litter of beautiful blue Great Dane puppies had come into the world on March 23, 2012.  Unfortunately, the mother, Moonbeam, had gone into shock an hour after and had died.  S and I had grown to love Moonbeam through the pictures we looked at and were excited to some day meet her.  We were distraught to hear the news and so heartbroken for Maria and Evan who truly loved Moonbeam as a part of their family.

Weeks went by and S and I looked at Evia Danes website every day hoping for a peek at the puppies.  Whenever we saw there were updates, we both went into a tizzy.  I had never been sure if I could adopt a child and still love it as my own.  Now, I understand it is completely possible.  I have never been so nervous and excited as the 8 weeks we waited to be able to bring Calliope Marie Lince home.  We drove to Knoxville, Tennessee to see the 5-week old puppies, Scorch, the surrogate mother, and Torch, the dad.

The next three weeks seemed like an eternity, even though S and I had plenty to keep us busy.  We were getting back into the swing of work, visiting family almost every weekend, and still trying to find time for ourselves all while planning a move to Alaska.  On May 20, 2012, everything was set for our move and we drove to Knoxville, Tennessee to finally pick up Callie to keep.  It felt like I had metal butterflies in my stomach, I was so nervous and excited.  I couldn’t believe it was finally here.  S and I had been thinking about this day for over a year!

S had gotten to hold Callie at 5 weeks and she had fallen asleep in his arms, so it was really no contest which puppy would be ours.  It was hard to leave all the other ones, but we knew they would be well taken care of.  Callie immediately found the truck to be her new home, and we began our long journey to Alaska with the sweetest, most time-consuming, and life changing thing that had ever come into my life.

The start of our journey

Categories: As an Adult, From Tennessee to Alaska | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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