As nice as our visit in Colorado was, we nearly didn't make it out the door to get there. We left on Davan's actual birthday - Friday the 16th, which was because she actually wanted to be traveling on her birthday. She likes road trips. Turns out, she didn't like road tripping so much that day...but we'll get to that.
Things were going fine up until midday on Thursday. I wasn't packed yet, but we'd bought all of our travel food as well as gifts I was giving and laundry was done. I still needed to make copies of keys for pet sitters, pack, wrap my gifts and finish up ripping CDs to load up the MP3 player.
Davan and went out to get the keys made at the kiosk in our nearby Fred Meyer's. We came home to find that a) the keys didn't work and b) Ranger had gone through the stocking Davan had put together, eating all the food therein, which included a large dark chocolate bar.
At first, Davan was mightily angry at Ranger, but, after I asked her about any chocolate that might she might have eaten, called the vet and was told to take her in right away, Davan got really upset about having endangered her. I think she'll be a lot more careful about it in the future.
I took Ranger right over to the vet where she was scheduled to stay for a few hours. They gave her an injection to make her throw up and then gave her some very expensive charcoal to sop up any chocolate she didn't throw up. They also have her IV meds to make her pee a lot, as the caffeine, which is, apparently, what's dangerous to dogs in chocolate, will be reabsorbed if it sits too long in the bladder. She was supposed to come home at 2pm.
I got on with my to-do list. Davan went out to replace her eaten treats and then got on with her to-do list. I was out working on the key issue again at 1:30, when I got the call that Ranger was still getting sick to her stomach and they wanted to keep her until 7pm. Bummer.
We kept going, with the strong hope we'd still make it out the next day. At 4pm, the vet called again, saying that Ranger was still not keeping fluids down, even though she was very thirsty and wanted very much to drink, but she was also pretty upset unless someone was sitting with her petting her, so they wanted to send her home. Davan and I went to get her.
Saying she was thirsty was an understatement. Ranger wasn't even very excited about seeing us, she wanted out the door and to find puddles to drink. I paid the bill to the tune of $325 (yikes!) and we headed home, nearly constantly pulling Ranger away from standing water.
Thus began a long and difficult evening. Ranger, indeed, wasn't keeping anything down. Even tiny amounts of water was too much. And, when she did throw up, it was black from the charcoal. She mostly did her throwing up on the wood floor, but we'll have a spot in our room to remind us of that lovely evening for all time. It's pretty faded, as I scrubbed at it, but it's still there.
Anthony and Davan went to see the Zoo Lights, as they'd planned for months, so I was left home alone with the dog, which was mostly rounds of taking her out to pee (once I didn't take her out for 40 minutes, but she peed on the floor, so 30 minutes was pretty much the max time inside), which consisted of walking her until she dropped her load while pulling upward on the leash to prevent her from licking the ground, even when it was just wet without a puddle, in her extreme thirst and cleaning up her puke. And, the one time, pee. Fun, fun, fun.
We were supposed to walk over to Peacock Lane after Anthony and Davan got home from Zoo Lights, but I was just not up for it - not so much the walk, as it's close, but dealing with crowds. And I still needed to pack.
Ranger finally started laying down for periods of time around 8pm. She'd been pacing and whining up until then. We all finished out packing. Anthony decided to camp out in the living room with Ranger, rather than having her sleep on Davan's bed or in our room with the carpet.
We all went to bed around 10, still planning on leaving in the morning, but also knowing we might have to put it off if Ranger were still puking and/or if we didn't get enough sleep to drive on.
I woke up around midnight to the sound of someone tossing their cookies in the bathroom. It was Anthony. He'd been awake with stomach pain and nausea since we'd settled down and it culminated in him puking. Who knew Ranger was contagious? (Just kidding, of course.) Ranger, meanwhile, had settled right down and was still sleeping.
I offered to switch with Anthony, but he said I should go ahead and sleep. I did. Mostly. I woke up at 6am and came out to the living room to find out what was what. Was Anthony up to traveling? I was pretty sure Ranger had slept all night, being a seriously light sleeper and not having heard her go out.
Anthony had thrown up that once and then gotten some sleep. He was okay with going ahead and driving. I gave Ranger a little food and water, then took her out to walk and to pick up bagels for our driving breakfast. Luckily, she seemed totally recovered.
Back at home, Anthony and Davan loaded up the van, including a drop cloth on the floor by Ranger's seat just in case.
We loaded up and off we went.
Davan was clutching the box of bagels. She was very excited about the bagels, as they were to be our first in three months. The gluten free trial was a bust. We had no improvement in the areas we'd hoped it would help with. This was our first day of eating gluten once again.
Ranger was pouting. Not really - just looking out the window. As you can see, it was still dark at 7:40 when we pulled out.
But we didn't get far. The fully loaded MP3 player, with a playlist of Christmas books and Christmas songs personally designed by Davan and I to last all the way to Colorado plus several alternative books in case the Christmas books didn't pan out and for the trip back home and some general music...didn't work. The player said there were no playable songs. No playable playlists. We were less than a mile from home. We turned back.
Turns out that I'd overloaded it and it had no free memory to actually play anything. It took awhile with the computer having been totally shut down and Windows Media Player not able to handle the situation (I had to just use Explorer to remove a couple of orphan folders and then all was well - but it wasn't the first thing I tried). Then we left again.
By then - 8:15, it was light and we were really on our way.
I did most of the driving, as Anthony was in pretty bad shape. He wasn't able to eat much all day and was pretty much looking like he'd been run over with a truck by afternoon, but he was a trooper and we did our usual long first day.
Davan also ended up being sick, but not to her stomach. She sat in the back, blowing her nose all day and feeling fairly miserable. At least she was able to partake in the birthday bagels and Newman's O's.
Ranger? Ranger was just fine.
We stopped at a Motel 6 just inside Wyoming, where we'd stayed once before and had found it to be adequate, if not, you know, nice. But that night? Well, that night was pretty miserable. They were pretty full and we discovered that not only did our upstairs neighbors sound like a herd of elephants every time they so much as shifted, but our next door neighbors, who checked in at 11pm and spent about 45 minutes getting settled in, sounded like they were standing by our bedsides having their conversation, rather than being in the next room. We didn't get much sleep - particularly Davan and I. Anthony got more, but mostly because he was so tired from being sick and being up puking the night before, I believe.
Even with all that, Anthony felt much better the next day. This was good, because I was wiped out by sleep deprivation. Davan was, too. I drove some, but Anthony drove most of that day.
We were even more glad than usual to arrive in Colorado Springs at my parents' house in the mid afternoon. It was not our best road trip ever. Nor was it Davan's best actual birthday by any stretch of the imagination.
Oh and, our Christmas books? They ranged from mediocre to terrible (in which case, we did do some skipping of books), so they didn't help to pass the time as well as one might have hoped. We might have been better off just switching to a non-Christmas book, but we kept trying and, besides, we did want to hear our Christmas songs, interspersed with the books. If I had it to do over, I'd have probably set the playlists up differently...At any rate, I really don't recommend anything by Mary Higgins Clark. Sorry to the fans out there.
However, we had made the trip. Things looked up a lot after that. :)