Barbara and I volunteered to house and dog-sit after our son’s wedding while the newly-weds honeymooned for a fortnight and three. I thought seventeen days in Oregon’s Columbia River gorge in early fall would be a relaxing kick-back vacation. I was wrong…
The wedding of our son Hector to his bride Melissa was a wonderful “life event” and a thrill to witness. I’ll have to create another post just to savor that day again.
Barbara flew to Portland on Wednesday September 12th and I drove the distance and arrived the following day. The Hood River wedding preparations were in full swing and they included meeting our new daughter in-laws’s family for the first time. We were also introducing ourselves to the two dogs we’d be sitting for the next eighteen days. Fiona, a small furry Yorkshire terrier and Stella a brindled Boxer pup.
Fiona was a bit stand-offish and wary but Stella was beaming with energetic joy for the pleasure of meeting a new person. Fiona would just growl under her breath while Stella would bend her body in half to show us her smile and stubby wagging tail at the same time. She’d then smother some or any part of my body with wild tongue licking. Boxers are known for their long tongues and o’boy did we get a licken’.
It wasn’t long before each dog was trying to impress us with their skills. Fiona loves to be indoors cuddling and once she’s found a warm spot she’ll defend it against all intruders. Barking and nipping at anyone, especially children who arrive to play and pet. On ocassion Fiona would fetch a rubber duck or bird that squeaks and show us her fearsome rat terrier attack techniques that included violently shaking it in her teeth until the squeaking stopped. Then she’d drop the offending toy nearby and encourage us to throw it for round two.
Stella’s skills could best be demonstrated outdoors where her impressive running speed and leaping ability made us think she must be a greyhound/deer/jackrabbit mix, and still very much just a child. We were glad to find out she’s potty trained (well…almost). She loves exercise and I don’t think I’ll ever tire her out just walking on a leash. Fortunately, the backyard area opens to an orchard where Stella could run, run, run until she’d exhast herself and return to flop on the floor. This was after lapping enormous amounts of water and ringing door bells (bells hanging from the door handles, front and back) then thankfully back outside again to relieve herself.
We were fortunate to be near Sorosis Park in the Dalles where we could make early mornings walks a daily routine. The park was rated “3 Paws” in a book we’d read on Oregon’s pet friendly places. It was all the exercise Fiona needed for the day but it only seemed to stimulate Stella into craving more activity. Fortunatly there’s an abundance of Oregon and Washington states parks within an hours drive. We really liked the White River Falls and Wahclella Falls areas for scenery but the dogs would rate the areas by giving each and every tree a thorough “smell” test. We knew how much they liked it by how hard it was to get them back in the car. We were blessed with great weather as autumn crept along.
Well it never felt like a vacation until we were both back in California with time to reflect on how much we missed the granddogs. It was a working retreat and its only with hindsight and photos do I genuinely appreciate the adventure. I rate it….”A Good Time”….and its going to be fun when we get to revisit the granddogs to see if they remember us…