Monday, January 11, 2021

Puppies and Pandemic Road Trips

  By Thomas Kies

I was going to do a sequel to my blog “Recipe for a Thriller No One Would Believe” about the insurrection at the Capitol in Washington DC, but I just couldn’t.  It’s just all too sad and I’m embarrassed for our country over it. 

So, I’ll write about something much more fun.  Lilly, our Shih-tzu and my writing buddy, passed away in September.  No, that’s not the fun part.  That was heartbreaking. 

Starting in December, my wife Cindy began searching for a Shih-tzu rescue to come live with us.

The pandemic has created a remarkable demand for pet company and the results are that there is a shortage of rescue dogs available to adopt.  My wife worked hard at trying to find a rescue. 

Finally, Cindy found an adoption agency that was looking to place a two-year old Shih-tzu named Annie Willow that had been rescued after being abandoned at a kill shelter.  They vetted us and on Thursday they told us we could come meet the girl on Saturday morning in Charlotte, North Carolina.  That’s a five-hour drive from where we live.

We packed our bags and took off on Friday to stay overnight and then meet Annie Willow the next morning.  

Now, this was the first overnight trip we’ve taken since March, when the pandemic began its horrible march throughout the world.  Things have markedly changed.

Starting with choosing the hotel.  It used to be comfort, location, and price that was how we decided on where we’d stay.  Now it was how they disinfected their rooms.

Then it was the drive.  Before, I looked forward to stopping off while on our journey where we’ve never been for a leisurely lunch.  Now we packed our lunch before we left so we could eat in the car. 

We did stop once to get gasoline and use the restroom.  In the convenience store where we were, they weren’t selling coffee.  Another result of the pandemic. 

Once at the hotel, what few people who were guests, as well as employees, wore masks (thank heavens) and discourse was kept at a minimum.  Distance was observed.

Here’s where I want to say something about writing, since Type M is a blog about the process.  In particular, about writing dialogue.  I have always enjoyed listening in on conversations so I could catch both discourse and dialect.  Now, however, there’s little of that to eavesdrop on. And what I do hear sounds like little more than mumbling.  

Back to our trip.

It was no surprise that we discovered that the bar was closed at the hotel and the bistro where you could get breakfast was also shut down.  There would be no hotel waffles for us in the morning.

When it came to getting something for dinner, we called a nice Italian pizza place in the neighborhood and had dinner delivered at the hotel.  

The next morning, we met the representative from the adoption agency and the woman who had been Annie Willow’s foster mom.  Everyone wore masks.  I never saw their faces.  That seemed so sad.  I’m sure we were all smiling from ear to ear.

Although, when I asked how the foster mom was doing, she told me, “I’ll be crying in my car in a few minutes.  I’ll be missing Annie.”  It must be difficult to foster a puppy, loving it, knowing that if you’re successful, you’ll be handing it over to someone you don’t know.  It must be like losing a piece of your heart. 

It was also when we met Annie Willow, who’s a cutie with the energy of an overcaffeinated ferret. She is definitely going to keep Cindy and me on our toes. 

It was a bright spot in an otherwise abysmal week.  Two friends of ours tested positive for Covid-19.  One is in the hospital but recovering nicely and the other has had mild symptoms.  

Unfortunately, thousands of others are dying every single day.  Hospitals are stretched to the limit but vaccinations, while slow and chaotic, are coming.

And then, of course, there was the insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday at the urging of a sitting President of the United States.  I never thought I’d ever write or say those words.  Never.

The nation is divided, the possibility of a second impeachment is imminent, and I fear for what could happen before the inauguration of a new President on January 20.

It’s no wonder so many of us have looked to the unconditional love of a puppy. 


Sailorbuoy said...

Annie Willow is extremely lucky to have found the very special Kies family as they are to have found this cutie. We feel the love!

Unknown said...

Love this piece, Tom! What a great name for your new pup ~ Annie Willow. I am so very happy for her to have found your loving home. Welcome home, Annie Willow!

Tanya said...

Congratulations on your beautiful, sweet, baby Annie Willow! Through all these depressing and anxiety-producing months, the love of animals is a true saving grace. I continue to depend on my cats for hugs, cuddles, and more sense than many humans seem to have. Wishing peace and happiness to you and your family!