|August 2011, hanging out on the beach. Katherine’s Cove by Lake Superior.
Almost five weeks were spent travelling and on the road this summer. Tenting, driving, tenting some more, swimming and spending time with the kids – and with Pinot, who got to come along as a solo dog for the journey.
Maggio came along for a similar trip two years ago and after about 5 days, he told us very clearly and every single day, that he really did not like being away from home for that long and that he found it rather stressful. This time we made different arrangements for him – he spent most of the time on a small farm with friends and his good dog-buddy as well as some time at home here in Banff. When we returned home, he was happy, relaxed and I sincerely believe it was the right decision to make for him.
After the somewhat stressful experience of travelling with him a couple of years ago (and realizing HE was really not having the great time WE had hoped he would have), I was honestly not sure what to expect with Pinot and how she would find it to be on the road for such an extended period of time. But I needn’t have worried about her. She turned out to be the most fantastic traveller and blossomed, matured and bonded with all of us in more ways than one. It was truly satisfying to see the relationship blossom between her and the kids individually, and it was fantastic to see the kids all take such a new interest in her. Maybe she has lived a bit in the shadows of Maggio because he has always been there, too, since her arrival…now she was put in the spotlight.
I have reflected a lot over what the difference is; what it is that makes one dog so able to be such a great traveller and the other become nervous and find it so stressful to be away from the familiar? I speculate and guess – but think there are a few things at play that go way deeper than their upbringing and training. The ability to relax and turn “off” when appropriate and needed is just one. Pinot demonstrated this in a remarkable way on a daily basis; how she could be with us almost everywhere, all day long – but without becoming too aroused/ stressed or concerned with her surroundings…yet take it in, and then able to just turn it off and relax either in the midst of the commotion or as a result of it at the end of the day. There was a great balance; and it seemed that all the stimulation of continually being somewhere new, but feeling safe with us, just added to her content state – made her tired but happy. What a blessing to have this experience together! It was a great journey on so many levels. Many reflections, some new-found insight and also more questions; so much to learn!