Since we live on lake in the middle of nowhere, about once a week we have to make a trip to town, normally either Auburn or Montgomery. It’s about an hour to either one. Today we needed to go to Costco – we were out of dog treats! – so we were off to Montgomery.
For the past few months, Parker has had anxiety attacks in the car, which make him want to stand on the console between the two front seats and he kept a long barking commentary on just how much he hated the car. I had learned to go elsewhere in my mind, so the barking wouldn’t make me crazy. Years of meditation have paid off. Lately, Parker has been getting better about the barking – that is to say that he doesn’t bark at all, but he just barks intermittently. He still wants to stand on the console, but when I tell him to get in the back, mostly he does. (Lest you think I am a horrible pet parent, he does have a tether in the car, but I got very concerned when he started choking between barks, so we don’t always use it. Instead when he is upfront, I keep my arm securely on his mid-section. Not a great solution, but we are working on it)
Now when either my husband or I get out of the car, Parker will be barking very loud. Yes, People are looking from all directions, no doubt wondering why this dog is baying to the top of his lungs. The one getting out slinks quickly away from the car, so that no one thinks we are responsible for bringing this baying hound to town. I guess he has some separation anxiety too. Lately, although he barked, he has calmed down, until he spots one of us coming out of the store and howls his delight at our return.
After we run our errands, my husband and I will normally swing into the Starbucks drive-thru and get something. My husband started a very bad thing. Early on, he asked for a puppachino, which is nothing more than a small cup of whipped cream. This started an expectation on Parker’s part that every trip to Starbucks will include the whipped cream. You know how it can be with dogs – they have a long memory of every place they have ever gotten something they liked and Starbucks is firmly stuck in Parker’s mind. But today we took another step; Parker decided he would order his own. So when the young woman asked if she could take our order, Parker started barking loudly into the box. In between his orders, we managed to get our drink order in too. But as we approached the window, the young woman seemed a bit disturbed having a wild eyed hound barking frantically at her. He just wanted her to hurry up with his whipped cream, but she had no way of knowing that and was probably considering her escape should he decide to go through the window and get his own.
So then the next trick is distributing the whipped cream to the two other dogs, who are languishing in their seats, having been awakened by their pal Parker. This involves getting into a parking space and one of us exiting the vehicle in an attempt to make sure that Parker, having wolfed his down, does not get his tongue into the other dogs treats. Now I am thoroughly familiar with the concept that if you get your tongue on something, it becomes immediately yours. But our Lab Mix tends to get territorial about Parker and her food, and it’s not unlike her to lift her lip and let him know she is serious. So we do not want a test of power taking place in the rear seats. So here we are, trying for some kind of diplomatic détente while balancing cups of whipped cream. Eventually it works out, but I think Parker still gets in a few licks – his prevailing philosophy about food seems to be
“you snooze, you lose”.
Previously, we would be treated to another hour of non-stop barking on the way home. But lately Parker seems to want to sleep on the way home. Perhaps the fevered excitement of the puppachino has exhausted him. I don’t ask questions, I’m just grateful for the peace that holds until we get close to home. Then is it time to start hunting from the car by both coonhounds, and loudly announcing to the wildlife population that they are back on the case.