Editorial October 2003 Issue

On The Road

Our dog-loving friends would do as much for us.

-By Nancy Kerns

My friend Jamie’s family is even more dog-crazy than my own. They obsess over the expressions on their dogs’ faces, I swear. I like to tease them about it. “Mark, stop the car! Pull over! Junior looks sad!”

So when Fran, Jamie’s mother, recently broke her leg, it didn’t surprise me that one of her family’s biggest worries was Fran’s little dog. Even in the ambulance, Fran’s main concern was finding someone to take care of Nori. Her hairdresser offered to take the dog to his home, where he and his wife have a small pet sitting business. That was great, but Fran wanted Nori to be with family as soon as possible.

When Jamie called me tell me the news, I offered to help her drive to Southern California to pick up Nori. I had heard a lot about the little dog, whom Fran had picked out from a shelter after her husband and their old dog had died. Nori was described by shelter staff as a Corgi/Pomeranian cross, but that’s a wild guess. She’s short-legged, with a thick black coat, and soft almond-shaped eyes.

Jamie and her brother Mark live in separate flats in a San Francisco Victorian. Mark has two big dogs and Jamie has another. The three dogs spend each day together, running up and down the back stairs of the Victorian, freely accessing the backyard and both flats. One more dog in the pack would hardly be noticed for a few weeks while Fran convalesced.

My own dog sitter was unavailable, so I asked Jamie if we could bring Mokie, my Chihuahua, with us. She didn’t mind, which made me feel bad, since I secretly hoped she wouldn’t bring her dog. He’s a giant-sized Wire-Haired Pointer whose beard is always wet. I didn’t relish the idea of 16 hours in the car with him hulking over my shoulder from the back seat. (Oh my goodness! I’m turning into a “little dog” person!) Fortunately for me, Jamie decided her dog wouldn’t enjoy that much time in the car, and left him with Mark.

After a long drive and a brief visit with Fran in the hospital, we went to collect Nori at Fran’s hairdresser’s home. Jack and his wife welcomed us in and regaled us with the life stories of each of their four dogs and four cats, all rescues. They also refused payment for their professional care, saying they were happy to help. What caring, generous people.

The next morning, Jamie visited Fran again while I walked the dogs around the hospital parking lot. Then we hit the highway for the 450-mile trip home. Back at Mark and Jamie’s house, with Mokie on my lap, and little Nori already bossing the three big perplexed male dogs, we called Fran. “I’m so glad Nori’s with you,” she said. “Now I can rest.” We all knew how she felt.

Our dogs are important.

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