Monday, July 28, 2008

You can bring your dog


Last summer we took Isis on a couple of road trips. She does great in the car, but her nighttime barking was a major stressor. Even though we stayed places that allowed dogs (except for one sleazy place we sneaked her into. Sneaked. A German shepherd.), every time she barked, Rob said, "She's going to get us kicked out of this place."

I had forgotten this little wrinkle when I suggested she and I accompany Rob to the Kitsap Peninsula for a kettlebell instructors training. What fun it would be to take her to the beach and play all day while Rob was in class.

We booked a steal of a room, very close to the ferry terminal. They had two pet rooms, both of which were booked. They told me the only available room was a smoking room and it smelled "very smoky." This was a dealbreaker at first, but when I couldn't find another room on the entire peninsula, except one that was $120/night plus $30 for the dog...I thought, "Eh, what's a little smoke?"

I called back and the woman told me that there had been a cancellation and they had a nonsmoking room available. "It's not normally a pet room, but everyone wants to bring their pets these days." The room was $62/night with no extra charge for the dog. Which really, there should have been, because we left behind a ridiculous amount of dog hair. I don't know if it was the weather or stress, or what, but that dog was shedding like nothing you've ever seen. The red motel rug was coated in it. So I also left behind a $20 tip along with a note that said, "Thank you!!" and I drew a little paw print and signed Isis' name.

We got to the motel after 10 p.m. on Friday and were pleased that our room was actually in back, the last of three rooms on the landing. Meaning, there were only two other rooms on our "floor" and no one would be walking past our door.

After lights out, Isis was on heightened alert and so was I. Until that moment, I'd forgotten the trip to Portland where she woke me up every hour with a bark alert. And now Rob was trying to get some rest before a strenuous two-day training. What had I done? Invited myself along, assuming he'd enjoy having us there, not realizing that he may have thought it advantageous to sleep alone in a motel room, with no dog to disturb him. (He assured me later that he was happy to have us there.)

To take Isis out, I had to leash her, put on my sandals and a sweatshirt and walk across this creaky landing to a flight of stairs down to a grassy area. I did this perhaps five times in the night. Noting with irony that if we had been in one of those other rooms, and someone else creaked by five times in the night with a dog, that Isis would have gone nuts every time.

Thanks to Ambien, I fell back asleep easily after each trip outside ... and Isis' bark alarm only went off once in the night. One short bark. I said, "No big deal, Isis," and she shut up. Then at about six, she bark-bark-barked, and Rob said, "She's going to get us kicked out of this place," and I was like, "Are you kidding? I can't even believe how good she was last night!"

The second night, I only had to get up twice (which, let's be honest, I do at home) and she didn't make a sound. Plus, there was a dog in one of the rooms on the floor below us that woofed as we passed right before bed. Isis perked up, but didn't freak out. I thought, "Oh nooo. We're going to have a bark-off every time we go out during the night." But that was the last we heard from that dog.

Super-bizarrely, we only saw one other person staying at the motel, and actually, Isis barked her head off quite aggressively at him when he went up the stairs toward his room, on the same floor as ours. This was the first night and we were down on the grass at the time. I was quite pleased with my ability to calm her down, but didn't want to make eye contact to see whether the guy was equally impressed, or in fact, terrified.

Aside from the one bark from inside another room, and rumors (from the front desk lady) that the person directly below us had cats...there was no evidence of other pets staying there. And by evidence, I mean poop. I scooped Isis' and put it in the trash can next to the stairs. I peeked in right before check-out, and our bags of poop were the only ones there. I thought we'd have trouble using the facilities, if another dog were using the small patch of grass at the same time, but it was quite private.

Altogether, Isis is a perfectly delightful traveling companion. I had a lot of fun, and I think she did too.

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