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water jug
tangible reason
paper towels
water bowl
whimpers
time in my life
monotony
secret weapon
Traveling With Your Pet
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Traveling With Your Pet

Living in North Carolina, for the third time in my life, I must travel 200 miles to visit my family and friends. These trips are manageable for me because I have a secret weapon to help break up the monotony. Her name is Ginger and she will be 6 years old in November. Ginger is a white Boxer and weighs in at around 50 pounds. She loves to ride in the car and travel with me. Some of her "duties" while traveling with me is to let me know if the temperature in the car is correct or needs adjusting.

She whimpers until I adjust the heat or air conditioning in the car to just "her" appropriate temperature. I really don't get much of a vote. She also informs me if the car is not functioning correctly. She will whimper and whine if a tire goes flat or if the car is smoking or if another one close by is doing the same. I get a lot of laughs watching her and spending time with her.

Ginger is my constant side kick and buddy. She is known by many people and loves just about everyone she meets. I have to pack a kit for any trip, because traveling with her is like traveling with a child. I must take the water bowl, water jug, treats, a blanket, paper towels, her leash, collar, a few plastic bags, and a toy to keep her occupied if she get bored. She gets to go "Car Ride" and understands what that phrase means. She is a laugh a minute and I am lucky to have her. The rides can get lonely at times, but with my true friend and big puppy with me I can persevere.

I got Ginger at a time in my life when I needed a tangible reason to still be here. In 2006 I was retired medically from the Armed Forces and my Federal Civil Service jobs (for service connected disabilities). A few months later, I fell from the 2.5 story roof of our home and fractured fifteen bones. After a two week stay in the hospital I was released to come home to a nightmare. My spouse informed me on day 2 of my hospital stay that she wanted a divorce! My only daughter was to leave soon after for USAF Basic Training and I was going to spend a long time in a wheel chair. Yes, things were definitely getting rough at that point.

Then one day I literally saw a sign. I mean really a sign, one that said "Boxer Puppies For Sale". My daughter suggested a puppy to help me through this tough time. I was doing well in my rehab and physical therapy regimen and getting stronger in my faith, mind, and body with each passing day. I realized that having a puppy, one of God's gifts to us, could ease some of the anxiety and pain of the impending empty nest syndrome. She would be relying on me for love and affection and care. What an amazing journey it has been with my Ginger.

I am at a loss for what I would have to pay Ginger for her undying loyalty and unconditional love. She healed more than my body back then and she continues to bless me with her company daily. That is why she gets to "Car Ride" often and will for the rest of her life. She has "earned her stripes in the trenches" in more ways than one as they would say in the military. While on the many trips to Virginia, I use rest stops and truck stops to allow her to relieve herself. I always clean up the "doggie land mines" and am happy to do so for her. That is one of the ways I can repay her for her many kindnesses.

So, pack enough for the trip, get out every hour and a half or so, and stretch your legs and those of your canine companions. Enjoy the company and savor the companionship. Show your appreciation for your pet's many hours of antics and love. And if other people look at you weird, then so be it. Not everyone "gets" it.


Street Talk

I am new to SA and just read your article i have a boxer girl Bonnie and I know exactly what you mean, I have always loved Boxers they are a wonderful breed and its great to hear your heartfelt story.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

What an inspirational article Rodney. I would give my condolences for what you went through. I can tell you have made a complete life change and that is not always a bad thing. Enjoy your companion!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks, Ginger helps keep me honest and busy.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
Joan S  

I sure get it. Dogs haven't been called man's best friend for nothing. My dog was my constant companion, and he got me through a hideously rough time too. I know what you mean Rodney. Ginger looks very wise. I think dogs are angels sent to take care of us. Nothing but the best for Ginger. Love me, love my dog. Great article.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thank very much! Yes Ginger is a big part of my life.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Yikes! Ginger is certainly taking good care of you. How wonderful that you can return that with special treats that you both enjoy. An hour and a half driving is quite enough for me to take a break even without a dog. So Ginger's getting you to do good stuff for your body by stretching and walking... sorry for your losses. I know from personal experience that it's tough to go from walking to wheelchair and fight your way back to walking. Glad you and Ginger have each other:-)

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thank you, yes it took over a year for me to be able to walk a straight line again. And now I walk 2 miles every day just be cause I can and to help keep the weight off.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Good info and advice Rodney

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks, I try to help where I can.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Rodney you are a friend for the rest of my life... anyone that can love a dog like that and see it for what it is.. will always have my friendship... I guess you realise I love dogs... I like to study their every individual nuance.. great article Buddy.. Sorry about you wife and stay off the roof..

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thank you, Hey I lost the wife, but gained my best friend. I got the better end of the bargain! Yup! no laddrs or even thinking about a roof ever again!~

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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