Our little man pukes in the car. A lot. Hence the name. His best work to date was when we took him camping last year at a spot about two hours from home. He made it all the way through the first hour just drooling, lots and lots of drooling. Hour two was devoted to vomiting, lots and lots of vomiting. He was so sick that once we finally arrived at the campsite he spent most of his day collapsed under the table instead of playing with the other dogs or trying to sneak a bite of roasted pig when the humans weren’t looking. Sad times for Ralphie.
Side note: while discussing last year’s camp adventure with my total bad ass husband (PTST), he had no recall of any of the above, even after I showed him the picture. He claims it was so traumatic for him he has blocked it from his mind. Except for the part where he ate the pig tongue; this part he remembers.
As camping season is once again upon us, we have dedicated ourselves to easing the Nugget into long distance travel in hopes of preventing a repeat of last year’s events. So last week we took him to Coopers Rock, which is about 20 minutes from home. Firstly (yes, I know that’s not a word), I am happy to proud parently (again, not a word) report he made it there and back without getting sick in the car. And once he got to the park and out of the car, there was flat out too much joy. So much joy that of course he pooped, leading Mike to repeat “Poopers Rock” over and over and over and over for the rest of the journey.
Then off we went to the overlook. Ralphie was feeling good feeling strong until he got to the wooden bridge that leads from the rock fully connected to the earth to the one hanging off the edge that could topple any second straight down into the river nine billion miles below, not that I illogically fear the possibility of that happening. Anyhoo… once Ralph hit the bridge, he went into doggy stealth mode, looking like one of those ceramic crouching panther statues. (Get yours today on Amazon!) Not sure if it was the change in earth textures under his feet or the being suspended in air that made him think it necessary to go all commando crawl on the bridge, but as long as he kept moving and I didn’t have to carry him who cares.
Since it was a Tuesday and there weren’t many people in the park (bum advantage: mid-week park visits), he was free to explore the big rock. On a leash of course, lest he slip and fall over the edge by accident. Or, more likely, chase a squirrel off the side of the cliff. So after a few minutes of sniffing the rock—most importantly the pistachio shells someone left—while Mama sat as far away from the edge as possible with her sphincter in a clinch, it was time to wander about the surrounding area. (For those of you unfamiliar with West Virginia, it is called the Mountain State for a reason. So exploration can also be defined as ‘’up the hill, down the hill.’’)
And so began what I refer to as the volcano sprints. Explanation: having held tight to my ‘’never marry, never breed’’ life philosophy for many years before being tricked into matrimony, I was well into my forties before I discovered it is impossible for a man to see a mountain and not feel the need to travel at the speed of light to reach the top. And because I am not a woman of moderation, I learned this at Mount Vesuvius. I was taken aback when what I expected to be a slow paced hike to the crater turned into The Amazing Race of fat American tourists. Mike morphed into some sort of Usain Bolt – Billy Goat hybrid and headed up the volcano like a bat out of hell, as did every other human with a penis on the trail. Lesson learned. Ergo, at Coopers Rock I was not surprised to find him standing at the top of every hill staring back down at the dog and me with complete disdain for our disregard of the importance of the volcano sprints.
So after a few volcano sprints, a few bird chases, a few thousand sniffs, and a few frights from blowing leaves, back into the car went our little Ralphie Nugget. Side note: as soon as those birds stop knowing how to fly, Ralphie promises to become a master bird catcher. After another hurl-free ride, it was time to curl up in a sunbeam and sleep away the afternoon, with muddy little paws frantically moving while our intrepid hero dreams of adventures to come…