Some people have noticed that I haven't mentioned my dogs in a while, so I thought I should give a little update. I've also been thinking about the fact that I've avoided mentioning them. Is it suddenly too personal to share now that they are the only thing I have?
My dogs--all dogs--are sticks in the mud. They really don't enjoy adventures. But the three of them have been amazingly patient.
I keep thinking about how Sula ran away the morning of the evacuation, and what would have happened to her if I hadn't been able to catch up. She kept going and going, running past all the men hammering boards onto houses. She doesn't like men with sticks in their hands.
In Hattiesburg, the three dogs loved Jennifer, the first person we stayed with. But they weren't so crazy about her cat. Still, when the tree came through the ceiling and the six of us had to huddle together on the floor until the storm was done, the dogs forgot about the cat. When they started barking at him again, we knew the storm must really be over.
At our second house in Hattiesburg, the dogs stayed in the living room, in their crates, while the rest of us tried to figure out what to do: where to find water, how to cook food. One day we sat out front playing the Worst Case Scenario survivor game. There was no air conditioning and the heat index was above 100. I walked them early in the morning and that was about it. In the afternoons I came home to find them panting, dehydrating, but there wasn't a lot of water, so I pulled them away from their bowl before they could finish it.
Then we drove 11 hours to Atlanta. I wasn't sure if the roads were clear or if we would find gas, so I loaded the car with dogs, the remaining dog food, some cans of spaghetti, and jugs of water that I had "purified" with Mountain Fresh bleach. In Meridian I spent so much time waiting in line for a money wire that never came, I worried that the dogs would be dead in the car when I returned. I fed them chicken McNuggets. When we arrived at my friends place in downtown Atlanta, Zephyr ran out of the van into the street. I caught her just as my friends came down from their loft. Everyone took a dog and began walking them. To Sula this must have seemed like a carjacking. She broke free and ran down the street to me and Brando, lept at me, and the next thing I knew the two of them were in a fight, locked onto each other's faces. They wouldn't let go. After all of this, I thought, now we're going to die. We'll kill each other. Zephyr, already down the street with her walker, turned back. Finally they let go, with barely a mark on either of them. That's when I began to hyperventilate and collapsed on the street.
This was the worst of it, thank god. My friends had planned a celebration for that night, for my birthday. It didn't quite happen. It was clear my dogs and I were a mess. We spent two days hiding out there,then headed to Tallahassee. Spent four or five days with Case and Kathy, who Brando immediately chose to worship as the top dogs in the house. (He also liked Jeff and Lisa in Atlanta--and once even ran to Jeff and leaned against him when I was trying to get him into his crate.)
Now we are "housesitting" on our own in a house with a great, walled yard, here in Tallahassee. We all slept for the first two days. I'm trying to figure out how to get Brando and Sula's clomipramine prescriptions refilled. Now isn't the time to go cold turkey off of separation anxiety meds. But no vet here will fill it without a visit. And again I think...what if it was something more serious? What if they were children instead of dogs? What if I was the one who needed medication?
And now its time for a walk.