For those of you new to our story, Tanner doesn’t like the car. ‘Doesn’t like’ as in used to puke every time he set foot in it. That soggy stage lasted about a year, then he calmed down (a relative thing) to only profuse drooling and shaking. It’s all chronicled in GIMME SHELTER: a Damaged Pit Bull, and Angry Man and How They Saved Each Other, which we hope will be available soon.
The past six months or so, however, he’s made a quantum leap. I used to sit in back with him whenever we went out but he now rides ‘up front’, with his butt resting on the rear seat, his back paws on the floor, and the bulk of his muscular torso stretched out on the console of our Prius. He still looks miserable but the barfing as stopped and the drooling has slowed to a mere trickle. This past Wednesday, we took a last minute trip to Palm Springs to visit Eugenie’s mom. Her 14-year-old Pug, Dudley, is failing and we thought it only right to say ‘goodbye’, especially since Dud spent a good portion of his first ten years living at our house.
|Tanner & Dudley 1/18/12 (Palm Springs, CA)
Tanner made it all the way to the Desert huddled in his new car pose, with me cupping his massive head in my free hand (I was driving!) and Eugenie cuddling him from the passenger seat. Eugenie’s mom was thrilled to have us and Dud greeted us like long lost pals. He looked like Methuselah – limp, gray all over, missing teeth – but much better than we’d feared. He took three walks with us, doing his best to set the pace like the old days, and he made sure to chase Tanner away from any and all treats. He’s on all sorts of meds that might be propping him up but, for the time being, he’s still here.
Tanner spent the night on his travel bed, sandwiched between Eugenie (sofa) and me (inflatable bed). At home, our mattress is two-plus feet off the ground which requires some effort on his part (and an invitation from us) to reach. But my inflatable bed was on the floor and he took full advantage of the situation to crawl in next to me for morning cuddles. Boy, was Eugenie jealous.
Tanner gave an encore performance on the ride home. He yawned and fussed a bit but he kept his food down. Eugenie drove this time and somewhere around El Monte, he began inching forward until he was curled in my lap, where he fell asleep until we reached our complex. It was a far cry from the days when a ten-minute run to the store left him wrung out and car reeking of vomit. Even with his new attitude, the journey left him gassed and he spent the evening at home, snoring away.