I made it to Riverside. Even though I had a temper tantrum somewhere in Arizona, the journey went really well. No blown tires. No giant mishaps. No overheated engines. Couldn’t ask for better.

Moving with the dogs though, is a bit of an adventure.

See, my dogs reflect the two opposing sides of my personality. Eliot is the wounded poet. He has a lot of feelings. As a deeply emotional dog who hates change, the hardest part of moving for him is the packing process. With each piece of furniture I sold from my Austin home, Eliot grew a gray hair. By the time the boxes stacked up in the front, he began a hunger strike. Now it’s not like I’ve ever left my dog in an abandoned house, but that seems to be his greatest fear. The good thing about Eliot is that all of this panic goes away the minute he gets into the car. At that point, he knows he’s going with me and sleeps soundly… probably for the first time in weeks.

Pascale is a happy, extroverted southern princess. The only part of the packing process that upset her is when I gave away my king sized bed, and replaced it (temporarily) with an air mattress. Apparently my rescue mutt has gotten used to the finer things in life, and thought the air mattress was completely unacceptable.

I keep telling all the animals that budget cuts are coming, but nobody seems to get it yet.

Anyway, while Pascale doesn’t stress much in her everyday life she hates riding in the car. She sits in the same spot in the back seat, stress pants and sheds all her hair during every car journey. It’s never gotten better, but I mostly ignore it for quick barn trips. On longer treks though, I ask my vet for medication so she can relax for the drive. For our California move, my vet called me in a new pill that he said worked better than the ace tablets I had used previously. The morning of the drive, I gave her one of these new pills with breakfast and started packing up my car for the trip.

I knew we were in trouble when an hour before I was scheduled to pull out, and well after breakfast, Pascale was happily running laps around the car. Tired she was not.

Fitting everything in my car was a bit of a challenge. Since the majority of my items/furniture are coming with the moving pod on the 14th, I had to pack a lot of basic life essentials in my car like sheets, towels, some cookware, etc. I managed to fit everything by putting the seats down, packing 3/4 of my car to the roof with all my things and folding the 2″ memory foam mattress topper down where the dogs would be sleeping. They had the entire width of the backseat, and enough space for both of them to sprawl out and nap. Basically, a den of memory foam. I did not feel sorry for them.

As I predicted, Pascale’s new pills did nothing for her and she proceeded to stress pant directly into my ear for 19 hours. Mostly I kept my patience and didn’t yell at her to lay down, because she’s a good girl and can’t help that she’s not intelligent enough to realize that a rolling metal box flying 80mph down a highway in the desert for hours on end isn’t a reason to panic.

Actually when I think of it like that, I probably should have been stress panting too.

While Pascale afeared the end of days, Eliot slept. For hours he lightly snored curled up in the memory foam, and the only time he moved is when his sister stepped on him because he was in “her spot.”

I did the drive in two days, deciding to spend Thursday night in El Paso which is a little less than halfway. This would have been an uneventful stop not worth mentioning if it hadn’t been for the fact that my dog peed the bed all night long.

See, Pascale takes a medication twice a day that keeps the muscles around her urethra from relaxing too much in her sleep. It’s a problem that a lot of female spayed dogs have. In the madness that was packing my car, I buried the medication beyond retrieval and figured missing one dose wouldn’t make a difference.

It made a difference.

I woke up about every two hours to find a new pee spot, and my normally perfectly house trained dog looking at me like, who peed the bed? Of course Pascale likes to sleep right next to me, so each time I woke up I had to try and shove her away as well as make a pillow fortress around my dry island. By my 4:30am alarm the next day, I was sleeping in a little corner of the bed and actually looking forward to getting in my dry car.

Day two was much the same as day one, with a sleepy spaniel and a nervous dog panting in my ear. I had to make it to my apartment complex by 4:30pm in order to get my key before the office closed, so we hauled ass across the desert with little fanfare. I stopped in Arizona to let the dogs out to pee, and they looked at me like, Why is it so hot? Where is the grass? Why do you hate us? 

Their reaction plus the never ending drive through hot and dust and terribleness made me no longer care that the University of Arizona rejected me from their MFA program. Cacti can only be so interesting. Arizona… not the state for us.

We rolled in to Riverside and my apartment Friday night right before the office closed, and I spent a few nights on my air mattress surrounded by unorganized piles of belongings in my car. It feels weird to be here. My groove is totally disrupted. This holiday weekend means nothing to me, because I don’t have a job to return to in the morning.

I don’t think I’ve yet processed this massive life change I’ve undergone. When I’m confronted with something in life that I don’t know how to handle, I tend to tackle the problem with micro productivity. Each day I’ve been running errands to outfit my house. Trips to Target, HomeGoods, IKEA, a trailer park in Hemet to get used patio furniture. You know, normal stuff.

The only structure I have right now is my dogs, and I am so thankful for those critters – bed peeing and all. Each morning we go for a long walk and explore the area. It doesn’t feel like home yet, and I’m not sure it even feels like the new life it’s going to be… but I’m slowly getting there.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Totally feel your pain. Stella is Eliot but I have had a Pascale in my life… Glad you have their stability. I find caring for my dogs helps all other anxiety.

  2. So glad you made it, especially in time to get keys. Big changes usually seem surreal and temporary, for me at least, for some time. I guess at least Pascale didn’t sleep and pee in the car?
    The panting dog in ear thing used to drive me nuts as my Aussie tends to hover like a parrot on car rides. Im pretty sure he is trying to figure out how to finagle his 50lb arse in between me and the steering wheel for a cuddle.

  3. That nervous panting makes that long ride even longer. At least she doesn’t shriek and cry I guess? Artie does. I can’t move long distance while I own him I guess!
    Glad you made it safe and sound. I took my horses to college with me, and they provided that same stable feeling the dogs are for you. Glad you had them to move with, even if the actual moving part was rather trying.

  4. I won’t even begin to mention my feelings about U of A or Arizona in general. It’s not the state for me and my herd either.

    Glad you made it safely. Road trips are one thing. When there’s a timeline it just makes it suck trying to beat the clock.

  5. Great to hear your trip went well despite panting, pee, and heat. I hope you find a new routine to help you feel grounded soon! I remember getting Kenai in college and being really grateful for the new routines he helped me establish; those walks really helped me keep my head screwed on amidst the stresses of school.

  6. Hemeeeeet! They’ve got a really cute mini horse rescue up there (seriously, other than responding to Craigslist ads there is no reason to go to Hemet. Haha.).

    Glad you arrived dry and safe. Once again I apologize for the weather. We’re usually much drier. And cooler. And less on fire.

    No. That’s a lie. We’re always on fire.

  7. After discovering it yesterday (and I don’t even know how!) I have just completely binge read your blog. Start to finish! You made me laugh and you made me cry and wow! How much I admire you. Thank you for continuing this blog as this selfishly yours corner and thank you even more for sharing!
    I think, you may just have turned into one of my role models.

  8. Oh, boy, what a trip! Glad you and Stressy Pants and Snoozing Spaniel all made it in one piece. While I was reading my own dog was stress-panting nearby so it was all to easy to put myself in your journey.

    I have made the same “doesn’t matter if she misses a dose of Proin” mistake as well. No bueno. That stuff is an antihistamine, of all things, but thank the Lord for it and may neither of us ever run out again.

    It will take time… several weeks/a month… but before you know it you’ll feel a lot more at home. I didn’t move far away last December but it was still a massive upheaval and that’s about how long it took my daughter and I to feel somewhat settled. Having the pups definitely makes a difference!

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