thinking of dogs and guilt and grief while flying above it all.

Janet Bernson 
Here I sit, comfortably in the LAX Admirals Club lounge, waiting for the carbon-definitely- not-neutral jet to take me on the first leg of my August journey. I have left a trio of unhappy dogs, my canine children, in the capable hands of roomies. My eldest dog, Dot, now 17 and an outright miracle (so sayeth my vet) proving the benefits of homemade cuisine for longevity, is depressed. This morning she refused to walk with me and her larger siblings, lying miffed upon her cushion. I considered the past year, actually one year ago when her litter mate brother, Dash, developed an awful infection from which he succumbed, all whilst I was traveling. This was especially difficult since he passed close to the two year anniversary of my beloved Max’s departure from our plane of existence. Grief is mostly not fun, unless your are prone to masochism, which I am not.

Needless to say, but say it I will, Dot might decide to travel to the doggie great beyond this time, though I am probably only channeling Greta Guilt Tripper who is saying ” yeah, go ahead and leave your poor frail aged dog while you jetset yourself hither and yon!” To which I say “Fa! She will survive my absence….this time.” I hope I am right and Greta sucks eggs.
Husky – Buck and Chocolate Lab Mocha spent the past week tailing me like private eyes on the prowl for adulterous wives. Buck occupied my morning by alternating his position between my legs with a carefully placed paw on my right foot and the sofa and between me and the kitchen cabinets. Mocha lay behind me or on me… Though temporarily captured by conniving canines I managed to grab the head of each and tell them in pictures (Hey I can do that) “I’ll be back in14 days! You’re going to be fine. There are wonderful surrogate mommies, Klaudia, Suzi, Lili and Suzy there to make your life easy while I am gone. I love you.” All the while shedding a few tears, wiping my wet face in their fur as I hugged each one, including Dot who finally came to cuddle. Any thoughts of taking a longer trip are cast aside, I owe my life and gratitude to these gentle creatures who are my “pack”. They saved me and what sanity I had left when Max departed.
Travel. It’s always a bit of a surprise how no matter how much time I’ve had to prepare for a trip, I still find myself madly working to the last minute to complete projects or tidy up. This time was no exception. I had a list longer than both of my arms, each item I dutifully checked and lined thru as completed. There was the mundane: putting toiletries in bags, the tedious: preparing and freezing 28 days of doggie meals, and the more complicated, to figuring out why my i cal was not adjusting to time zones. In between all of this I managed to repeatedly pat and kiss all my dogs’ heads, and trip over Mocha at least ten times. It was the night before departure when I had slashed thru 95% of the scroll of tasks by 10pm, took a shower because I was stinky, (Did anyone mention it was ridiculously hotter than fuck in LA?) then rolled my suitcase to the front door.  
Oh yes, and before hitting the sack I did a load of wash and woke to dry it at 5am so I could fold and put it away before I left. If you think I’m somewhat retentive in the anal sort of way, I believe I’m not. I do, however, like to return to an clear desk, clean hamper & house, and so I washed and dried, late and early respectively. Okay I suppose I am a little bit, retentive.
And now I find myself standing in line, waiting to board. I glance around and notice all the people glued to their cell/mobile/handy phones. What did we do before them? In airports we would “chat” with other passengers, read actual books, play games (solitaire with real decks of cards that were the size of today’s cellphones), stand in line for the pay phone and nap.

Admittedly, I, too, am looking at my phone here and there, sending a text to my roommates who have agreed to look after my hounds in my absence. It’s a big thing leaving my cherished furry pals in the care of those unrelated. I pause to reflect how I was when my kids (now in their thirties) were young and I had to travel for work, that old yucky feeling washes over me… anxiety. Blah!

Time flies, and so do I. I have spent three plus days in the warm arms of my family (lovely), the soft cuddles of grandson Levi and grand dogs (sweet) and the oven-like temperature of Austin, Texas (barely tolerable). I have had a great time.

I am now, once again up in the air, enroute to Chicago (2 hour layover), before heading to London, jolly ole England, and 2 plus days of hanging out with friends. 

Texts from home have informed me my pups are in tender caring hands. I am relieved knowing this, and thankful for so many things, like my life in general. To be continued.

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