July 30, 2006


Part 1 - Long Day's Journey

They tried to tell me, but I tend to trust my nose and eyes and experience over the endless verbosity of humanity. As all the animal kingdom knows, humans tend to talk and talk and then talk some more. They talk when greeting, talk when parting, and talk most of the time in between. They turn on their televisions to watch other people talk and, when they're done with that, they listen to talk on their radios and iPods and computers and engage in more talk on their omnipresent phones. It's all about the conversations and exclamations and intonations and declarations and insinuations. Oh, let a dog bark at a stranger at the door and we're told to pipe down, but the humans chatter away like mad squirrels 24/7 as if the rotation of the world depended on it.

So, I didn't listen. There was just too much else going on. There were suitcases, sure, which usually makes me sulk in a corner with my chin on my paws. But there was also the beach bag. The magic beach bag, which holds only that which is good in the world! The sweet tang of sunblock, the lovely grit of beach sand, the large striped towels that are used to dry the Labrador and the big bottle of water that quenches the salt-chapped lips of dogs and humans alike. Best of all, of course, the beach bag holds my well-worn Booda Soft Bite Floppy Disc, my boonest of beach companions. My joy, my love, my very heart's desire.

Yes, I couldn't quite tell what was going on, but I knew it was no time to sulk. When Mike put on my harness, I was as sure as a dog can be that this was going to be a fine day, suitcases or not. And so I lept into the packed station wagon, the very incarnation of panting anticipation.

They tried to tell me, but the wind was whistling through half-closed windows and my tongue could almost taste the beach in the breeze, and so I could not listen. I huffed and puffed and sat upright and ignored what Molly was saying. But then time went by, a lot of time. The back seat was getting hot. I figured this was going to be the best beach trip ever, because it was the longest ride I'd ever been on. Still, it should be soon, I thought. I would not lie down. I would not stop panting. Because this was going to the Mother of All Trips to the Beach, I was sure.

The exasperated humans asked again and again if I were going to pant all the way, and I looked at them and panted some more. Why not? I always pant all the way to the beach. It is my habit, my nature, my very job. And yet the job became harder through the hours. I still panted as the sun set, having been to the beach in the darkness before. But perhaps I panted less now. I was getting tired. I still sat up. I would not be cajoled into lying down, even as the car sped through the darkness.

But I was beginning to lose my confidence. Perhaps, just perhaps, there was to be no Big Beach at the end of the road. My eyes half closed and I had a strange impression, perhaps a dream, that this was the whole of my life -- indeed, the lives of many, many of us. We speed through darkness toward grand adventures and great expectations and yet somehow never arrive. A human bard once said, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” And so it is during this inexplicable odyssey, sailing fast in hot metal ignited by burning gases, that I missed the fleeting moments, failed to see the landscape transform right beneath my nostrils. Perhaps life isn't a beach, I thought. Perhaps it's here, now. And so I stopped my panting, finally, and began to breath in the mystery of new places. The adventure, however strange and sometimes frightening, had finally begun.

Just B-R-E-A-T-H-E, Hank ;).
Can't wait for Part II, Hank! Glad to hear from you again.
welcome back, hank, welcome back... and not just in the physical sense, but in the literary, too. -- endo
Oh, Hank, your words are music to my ears. We pugs over here, know how far it is to the vet so if we go past that much time we feel safe.
hi hank! my name is hershey and i found you on my friend copper's dog blog. you are a good writer. i wish i could tell my stories as well as you do. please come visit me at my blog
Hank! What a beautifully written story! I do hope there's a beach at the end of the road for you.

My Simon loves water so much he can smell it from far away. We know we are closed to water when he starts barking in the car. Or we are getting closed to somewhere he has been before. Either or.
Hey Hank. Thanks for visiting my blog. You are such a good writer. I will vist again. I can't wait to hear if you get to the beach.
Hank, I understand the doggone anxiety that can come from packing up and moving on to a new place, even if it's just for a short time. Like a simple car ride.

My dogs, Beau and Archie, love the car, but get so excited they cannot relax for a moment. They pant and drool and whine and even though it's from excitement, I worry that the pleasure of the ride might be too painful for them.
It's those darn humans again .. don't they know we dogs can't be teased? Beach toys = beach. Not long rides to nowhere. Grrrrr
Nice Reads!!
Your doing fine ,I cant wait for part 2,woof.

Lots of Licks
Hi Hank,
I sure like your blog!

Just wanted to say hello.
You're from Florida? How cool my dad is from South Florida and my friend Buster is living large in Florida.
Take care,
I think that when dogs stick their heads out of car windows, they can absorb and memorize the many smells of places for the first 10 miles, but after that they go into sensory overload. Then new smells will record over the old ones, and it gets awfully confusing. But they live in a world without Google Maps and GPS.
Doodles can't wait to find out if you really went to the beach!!! You must tell us all about it!!
Where did you go, Hank? I'm dying to know. Hope you had a fabulous adventure. BTW, I'd love to know what you think of Cesear Milan the self-proclaimed "Dog Whisperer."
Hank, are you still sitting in that car? Come on! It's time to get out of the car and finish this story.
Big Wags,
/bark bark bark

people talk too damn much. got that right hank!
enjoy the ride......

Hank, I hope you brought your laptop on the road with you...the suspense is killing me!
Our cousins once took a road trip from Southern California to Mid Oregon. They meowed the whole way and Buddy ended up with bloody claws from scratching the cage so much. It was terrible! Traveling sound so scarey.
Hi... Your posted was get my attention on what you wrote, its well informative as what I’m looking for, it’s kind of relative in my Pet Fences that well give a benefit on my field. Thank you for sharing this and keep up the good work...
Dear Hank, I am trying to raise money for the Furrytale Farm on Bainbridge Island, WA through Parade Magazine's America's giving challenge. Can you help get the word out? I need more peole to donate in order to keep the sanctuary open!
Nice stuff! Keep up the work on posts like this....enjoyed it.
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