|Chica Traveling Dog
Would you believe I’ve made it almost 7,000 miles so far and I’ve been
an “almost” perfect traveling companion? Our first stop at Jesse and
Erin’s (Gregg’s grandson and Jesse’s friend) was great fun because
I met Bowser, a mixed breed, and had some fabulous runs on the Vermilion
River (where Erin’s Dad lives on a farm) and even scared up a rabbit and
a group of deer. Wow, does that make my adrenalin run. Jesse’s AK-47 kind
of scared me but I got used to it. Jesse and Erin were real nice and they
let me sleep with Gregg in their apartment on the second floor. When I needed
to go outside, they let me run in a big woods right behind their apartment.
Chica Really Good Traveling Dog
We left Norwalk, Ohio and drove for 13 hours to Minneapolis. That was
my first experience at learning to just “kick back” and enjoy the rumble
of the car and the whine of the wind. About every 100 miles I’d nuzzle
Gregg or put a paw on his shoulder and he’d pull off the road for some
relief and exercise. I also learned that he’d chain me to the hook on
the front of the car or the trailer hitch on the back when he had to go
do something where dogs weren’t allowed.
Chica In Love Dog
Our stop at David’s (Gregg’s son) in Minneapolis was great fun. I got
to sleep in the room with Gregg and romp with Dawson, a big German Shepard.
We mostly played outside, but when no one was looking, we had a lot of
fun inside too. As I look back on it, Dawson really was my first love!
Dawson and I took lots of walks with Gregg and David, and Gregg’s grandchildren,
Michael, Alyssa, and Devin. Michael is pretty good at skateboarding and
at crashing his bike; Alyssa is really nice and petted me a lot; and Devin
loves to play games. Just hanging out with the kids, and lots of petting,
that was the best. I learned to hold still for David while he cleaned
up my feet before coming into the house. Only once I messed up real bad,
when I cut my leg and dripped blood all over his white carpet.
Chica Hiding Dog
Our next stop was in Omaha with Martie (Gregg’s sister). That was kind
of rough because the manager called and said “NO DOGS ALLOWED!” So I had
to hide and keep very quiet. Quietly, every night about midnight, I’d
slip out of Gregg’s room and go sleep on the big bed with Martie. I think
Martie probably misses me a lot. Only one bad thing, cause I got scared
when they left me in the car for too long to visit the Union Pacific Railroad
Station Museum. To get their attention, I had to chew up the inside of
Martie’s car. She was so sad about that, she even cried. Gregg had tears
in his eyes too, but that was because he was remembering when he was a
little boy and was there at the train station meeting his Dad who had
come back from the war. I think everything turned out all right because
Martie let me sleep with her that night.
Chica Bar Dog
Three times, while in Omaha, Gregg visited his friends Phil and Barbie
at “Cohen and Kelly’s” pub. Gregg chained me to the car but Phil said
“Come on in; I practically own this place.” So I cautiously entered. Heidi,
the girl behind the bar, right off gave me some delicious bean soup. Then
some people at a table gave me some chicken. Then Phil calls out, “a drink
for everyone from Chica!” Well that did it; from then on I was the princess
at C & K’s. Every time we’d go over, Phil would buy a round for everyone
from me! So I just started going around and welcoming everyone. The last
time we were there was the best because Phil and Barbie brought their
two longhaired dachshunds, Bridgett and Bunny. Bunny played with me a
lot but Bridgett wasn’t too friendly.
Chica Fickle Dog
I forgot totally about Dawson the minute we arrived at Mollie and Glenn’s
(Gregg’s sister and brother-in law) in Mead, Colorado to find Dudley,
another big German Shepard. Dudley was so strong yet kind. He growled
fiercely when I started to play with his special bone, but then after
he took it away he came back and gave it to me. I carried it over to his
bed, sprawled out, and nibbled on it. I was so sorry to see him go the
next day when I learned that he was really Nicki and Shawn’s dog, and
they had to take him back to his real home. Out at Joel and Jen’s ranch
I met Abby. We didn’t have a lot of time together, but riding around in
the back of a pickup truck, over bumpy ranch roads way back into the hills,
was exciting. Glenn and Joel seemed surprised that I could ride in the
truck with three feet on the truck rail and only one on the truck bed.
Hey, it gave me good balance. The bedroom at Mollie and Glenn’s was kind
of chilly, but I would soon learn that it was good preparation for what
was about to come.
Chica Shivering Dog
We arrived at Roger’s in Ogden, Utah with a foot of snow on the ground.
Gregg and Roger set about making me a little house outside right on top
of a sheet of ice! There I shivered through two nights before Gregg decided
to let me sleep in the car in the garage. That was much better. I had
to endure this because Roger is very allergic to my dander. The good part
about Roger’s was a mountain right behind his house, where every day we’d
go on a long hike. Much to my surprise, one day Ann appeared. I had forgotten
how much I missed my daily rubdowns from her.
Chica Backyard Dog
Our next stop was at St. George, Utah at the home of Rod and Marena. Again
I had to sleep outside, but it was much warmer and they had a nice fenced
backyard. And at least I could look through the big glass door and watch
them all eat and have a good time. I chewed up Marina’s watering bottle,
but other than that I was a good backyard dog.
Chica Bathroom Dog
The trip to Las Vegas was short, but I spent a lot of unhappy time locked
in the bathroom of the motel, while Gregg and Ann went out gambling. I
had one wonderful walk down the main drag, up escalators and over bridges,
but I had so much pent up energy that I about ripped off Gregg’s arm during
the walk. I think that’s when Ann decided to start training me to “heel.”
I get the idea, but they walk at such a slow pace and they’re so boring.
I’ve never seen them scare up or chase a rabbit, or taste stuff, of smell
all the droppings or anything.
Chica Beach Dog
I was really not prepared for the excitement of one of our next stops
at Del Mar on the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. As we walked toward
the beach I could see hundreds of other dogs running around. Suddenly
Gregg set me free and I ran toward the fray. There were dogs everywhere,
some chasing after sticks thrown into the surf, some romping around, some
just sitting calmly sunning them selves. I saw a small back dog running,
a whippet, and ran after him. I thought I was the fastest dog on earth,
but that little dog was like a bullet. For half an hour I chased him and
found I could keep up by cutting corners. Other dogs joined the chase,
but only I stayed with him until he finally just stopped, sat down and
let me smell and lick him. My tongue was hanging out about 6 inches and
my mouth was dry from that yucky water. Next I joined three black labs
that were competing to retrieve a ball whipped into the surf with a sling.
I got the ball once, but before getting back to the shore, they got it
away from me and carried it back to shore. Next I started tussling with
a very curious dog. When I’d give him a body push he’d just fall right
over. It was really fun knocking him over so easily until Ann came over
and scolded me for being so rough with a dog who only had one front leg.
Too early we left the beach but I still have dreams of that afternoon.
Chica Careless Dog
Then as suddenly as she had appeared, Ann disappeared, but Gregg is still
training me to “heel” a little bit everyday. But he still finds good places
where I can run free. I had a few surprises on my first run in the Texas
dessert. First I ran into a cactus while chasing a Jack Rabbit. It took
Gregg several minutes to pull all the spikes out of my nose and chest.
Then I got sand burrs on my feet and could hardly walk, until they were
pulled out. As if that wasn’t enough then I had a run in with some stinging
red ants. Oh, well I’m learning. Tonight I may dream of something called
an alligator. Gregg said that when we get to Florida, if I don’t mend
my frisky ways, I might be a good dinner for an alligator.
Chica Drinking Dog
We drove for two long days, from morning until night with only about 6
short stops a day. The best stop was a run with another dog at one of
the rest stops. There a guy offered to sell Gregg some paint thinner and
aluminum powder mixed with mountain dew. He said it was the best drink
in the South and that it helped calm dogs down too. Gregg bought a quart
of the stuff and we both got loaded (just kidding!).
Chica Sunshine Dog
Finally, late at night, we arrived at Will and Linda’s (Gregg’s friends)
in Margate, Florida. I was greeted by “ Boots” the cat with a screech
and claw across my nose. Then I met little Xiao Xiao, a Pekinese, who
is very old and sweet and calm but seems very, very tired. I’m keeping
clear of Boots, and just giving little licks to Xiao Xiao. As I write
this part of my story I’m laid out in the cool bathtub while Gregg is
typing and Will is taking a nap. Boy is it warm here in Florida!
Chica Canal Dog
We seem to be settling in here. Every morning Gregg and Will go down the
street and hit balls at each other. The good part is I get to chase after
Gregg on his bike while I drag Will along. They seem to get a big kick
out of this. Now and then I get one of their balls and have a good time
running off with it. Back at the house Gregg put a canoe in the river
behind Will & Linda’s house and threw me 5 feet down into the water.
I swam back to the edge and found that I could walk along the edge in
only about 6 inches of water. This river has concrete banks about 5 feet
straight up. I’m not sure yet if I can jump out or not. Three times I
climbed out on a ladder with a lot of help from Gregg and twice Gregg
pulled me out by the collar. We spent about an hour in the river and I
swam back and forth across visiting several dogs. Only once I jumped into
the canoe and tipped it over. Gregg just laughed, but he wouldn’t let
me in the canoe again. He also said that those animals called alligators
might be in these rivers!
Chica Surf Dog
I just learned to play hit the ball but now Gregg won’t let me play it
anymore, so each early morning I explore around the park where they’re
playing. I had to sneak in the apartment today when Gregg visited his
friends Al and Ann Wohl. They gave me wonderful food but Gregg left me
there for quite a while to go play bridge with Al. Ann had a friend over
and they took good care of me, but I mostly lay by the door waiting for
Gregg to come back. Then I got quite a surprise when Gregg came back.
He took me to another beach on the Atlantic Ocean. It was already dark
but we went in swimming anyway. The water isn’t at all flat, but keeps
sweeping in with big rolls of water. It was hard to swim at first, but
after I learned how to bob up with the rolls of water, it was pretty fun.
Chica Chica Dog
We went down to Little Havana in Miami where everyone speaks Spanish.
Gregg seemed to enjoy ordering our meal in a rundown outdoor restaurant.
I got to eat right there with Gregg and one guy talked to me a lot, but
besides speaking Spanish, he’d had a lot of beer to drink, so I didn’t
understand a word he said.
Chica Search Dog
Gregg and Will took off in the canoe and left me in the yard! I ran around
the yard for a little while and then went into the house and escaped through
the front door. I ran up and down the streets that went to the river.
I searched for about an hour before I saw them coming up the river. I
was so happy to have found them. Gregg got out of the canoe and walked
me home and Will paddled back on the river. When we got home Linda was
very upset that Gregg and Will had left the door open so that I could
escape. She had been out looking for me for over an hour. I don’t think
they’ll take off without me again.
Chica Psycho Dog
I was wrong. Now they’re leaving me in the yard every time they go play
tennis. I don’t understand why and I get very upset. I run around and
bark and get all sweaty. I was very surprised the other day when Boots
the cat came over and sat with me until they came back. Boots isn’t really
that fierce. The other night when she tried to take my food, I out growled
her, and ran her out of the kitchen.
Chica Free and Happy Dog
Wow, things are looking up. I’m still being left in the yard but everyday
Gregg takes me to a Dog Park that we found. There I get to run free like
on the beach in California and everyday there’s a new bunch of dogs there.
Yesterday I spent most of my time running/wrestling with a boxer/lab.
He was a little bit afraid of me but he never tired of our romping. When
he needed a rest he’d crawl under a table and growl at me. There was also
a Great Dane, another Whippet, a Bull Dog, two Boxers, a little wiener
dog and lots more.
Chica Everglades Dog
The other day we left the Dog Park in the morning and drove to the most
beautiful place of water, grass and trees. Gregg said this is where the
alligators live. We went out on a boat and saw dolphins and hundreds of
birds but no alligators. In the evening we drove down a dirt road and
stopped beside a channel of water. It was quiet and mysterious and then
I saw one -- like a big snake in the water, with just two big eyes peering
above the water, and coasting slowly and steadily right down the middle
of the channel. I stayed in the car and didn’t even bark. It doesn’t look
to me like an animal I want to get close to. In the evening we slept outside
by a pond. It was the most exciting night of my life. Gregg went to sleep
but there were sounds all over. Gregg asked me not to bark but I had to
let him know about several things during the night. First, two cats started
fighting and making a terrible racket. Then two birds swooped down on
the pond right next to us. Then a black bear came into the camp and started
tipping over the trashcans. I think my barking helped make him go back
into the woods. Towards morning, but still dark, a person came walking
by. And finally, near sunrise, a small alligator came swimming right by
our campsite. I stayed awake and alert all night long. Boy did I sleep
well when we got back to Will’s the next evening.
Chica Jailbird Dog
I’m looking through the bars on this cage, feeling very anxious and confused,
after a whole night here. I’ve been awake all night long and can now see
the light coming through the window. I don’t know where Gregg and Ann
went. I was so excited when Ann appeared again, out of nowhere. Then they
left me in the backyard and everybody took off. I got real scared all
alone and ran around the yard until I found a place where I could push
under the fence. Then I was so excited I ran down to where Gregg and Will
play tennis and then suddenly this policeman offered me some food and
the next thing I knew I was in a cage in his truck and taken to this cage.
So here I am wondering if Gregg and Ann will ever come back.
Chica Homebound Dog
Gregg and Ann finally came and picked me up. I think I was the most excited
of my whole life. They were so glad to see me and said we were headed
home. First we went to visit Ann’s Uncle Joe and Aunt Gladys in Daytona
Beach, Florida. I was the first dog to ever run around in their backyard.
Next I chased seagulls on a beautiful beach in Georgia called Jekyll Island.
Then we went and stayed the night with Gregg’s Cousin Craig and his wife
Mary in Aiken, South Carolina. They were so nice. I got to come right
in and run all over the house and sleep with Ann and Gregg in the bedroom.
That was a great comfort after my night in the cage. Near Aiken we visited
a town named Millett. Gregg said his great, great, great Grandfather had
founded this town. He seemed very excited about this. It wasn’t really
much of a town, only one old wooden building, a railroad track and a few
run down houses hiding in the woods. But the Savanna River that ran right
by the town was pretty interesting. Next we stayed in a motel in North
Carolina and then made it to New Jersey for a pasta dinner with two of
Ann’s second cousin’s, Katherine and Sophie. Although I had to stay in
the kitchen, they were really nice and let me share in the pasta dinner.
That same night Gregg decided to drive to Albany, and when I jumped out
of the car, here I was, back home. I ran all around the front yard and
all around the house and then all around the backyard. I had forgotten
that I had a home! I have to admit though, I’m very happy to be back,
but I will miss those new adventures almost everyday while I went traveling
with Gregg on our 61 day, 10,000 mile journey. I hope we do it again someday.