I always went home to Aunt Jo’s for Thanksgiving since there was no way I was cooking a turkey for just myself. Alena’s mother, “Aunt” Trixie, always invited us to her home for a traditional feast in exchange for a few side dishes and helping with post turkey coma clean up. In the past all I needed to do was throw a few things in a bag and rush out the door Thanksgiving morning for the hour drive, but Roscoe added a new degree of difficulty to the proceedings.
I dragged myself out of bed in the chilly pre-dawn hours to get my energetic boy his daily two mile walk in hopes of wearing him out enough to just sleep in the car. Fortunately, Roscoe appeared to love car rides on our brief trips within town, and he accepted the car harness I insisted he wear to prevent traveling to the front seat to help drive. The big guy seemed to know that something was up because he rushed through his morning kibble even more quickly than his usual Hoovering, which I couldn’t believe was possible.
“Hey, Ros,” I cooed as he danced eagerly around me. “Life will be simpler if you JUST HOLD STILL.” I dug through my stash of dog supplies to double check that I had everything: spare leash, poop bags, treats, pet first aid kit, car harness, car seat cover, Roscoe’s favourite toys, several days worth of kibble in individually packaged servings. “I think that’s everything we need…I just need to throw my bag in the trunk, and we can go for a ride. Who wants to go for a ride?”
My black pittie boy bounced like a jack in the box at the word “ride” and barely managed to restrain himself as I attached the harness. “I just hope you enjoy all the dogs at Aunt Jo’s as much as the trip,” I muttered nervously.
I fretted over dog introductions as we headed down the expressway toward my aunt’s small town. According to the shelter Roscoe was extremely dog social, but his rough, over the top play style put off a lot of dogs. I also hadn’t made an effort to introduce him to any new dogs in the few weeks that I’d had him in my home. Aunt Jo also currently had somewhere between six and ten dogs, so the odds of someone getting pissed off by Roscoe’s bull in a china shop demeanor were disturbingly high.
I also hadn’t introduced Roscoe to any new people yet, and while my friends knew I’d adopted a big black pit mix, none of them had met Roscoe. This weekend promised to be a lot of firsts, and I wasn’t sure I was entirely ready.
The stench of partially digested kibble jerked me out of my thoughts, and I looked over my shoulder. Drool poured out of Roscoe’s mouth, and he looked miserable as he horked his entire breakfast across my backseat.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I exploded. “You get motion sick if we drive over a certain distance?”
Thwap, thwap, thwap his tail wagged weakly against the car door, and I looked for a spot to pull over, so I could clean up the mess before my dog attempted to re-ingest his pre-chewed meal. Nothing was immediately available, and I looked around me more carefully.
“We’re about FIVE MINUTES from Aunt Jo’s!” I whined. “Why couldn’t you wait to barf until we’d arrived?”
I dragged my drooling, nauseated dog out of the car the second I pulled into the drive, flinching at the cacophony of barking greeting me from the front room. “Aunt Jo, I have to clean dog puke out of the car! We need to do dog intros fast!”
My aunt’s short sandy head popped around the edge of the house. “Isn’t he a lovely boy, Portia! Hand Roscoe here, and I’ll deal with the pack. You go clean the mess.”
“Are you sure?” I asked nervously. “He’s really high energy…”
“How many dogs have I brought home over the years?” my aunt grinned. “I can handle one bouncy pit bull.”
I reluctantly handed over Roscoe’s leash and headed back to the car. I rolled up the car cover and dug through my supplies to get poop bags to gather the barf that had rolled onto the floor. As I ran to the garage for paper towels and water I listened for any signs of a fight or difficulties, but other than a few barks the house was eerily quiet. I scrubbed the paper towels over the last remnants of kibble bits on the floor mats and trudged back to the garage to put my car cover in the wash.
“Everything okay in there?” I hollered as I stuffed the blanket into the washing machine.
“Oh, you just have to see this, Portia,” Aunt Jo called back. “Let’s just say that Roscoe is very submissive with other dogs…”
I rushed inside to find my huge black pit on his back being sniffed thoroughly by a flotilla of small and medium dogs. Clara, a tiny dachshund mix, climbed on his chest and licked his muzzle happily causing my boy’s whip like black tail to beat a cheerful rhythm against the floor boards. The larger dogs hovered around the edges watching the odd display.
My eyes widened, and I grabbed the door frame. “Well, I never…”
“Go to the kitchen and start working on the salad,” Aunt Jo said, lightly grasping my arm. “I’ll stay here for a few minutes to make sure everyone is really okay.”
I shook my head in disbelief. “I guess it’s a Thanksgiving blessing…but I never would have thought it.”
“The salad won’t make itself, so get going! Things will be just fine.”
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!