In these days of cell phones and computers, people are rarely out of touch with those at home even when off traveling. After spending money for a cruise and having put in all the time for booking the cruise, planning activities, scheduling excursions, and anticipating all the good times, if something happened at home while you were away would you want to know? Would the bad news ruin your vacation?
Recently I took a cruise to Alaska with my sisters, leaving my husband at home with Isabelle, our dog. Isabelle was 14 years old and had some health issues, but she seemed fine when I left. A couple days after I had gone she took a sudden turn for the worse. She’d been on medication for a tumor inside her spine for several months and on a day where she took her usual walk with nothing seeming wrong in the morning, she came home from the dog park practically unable to move in the afternoon. She left this world the next day.
While my husband dealt with the tragedy on his own at home, I obliviously happily enjoyed my cruise. Different people he talked to had differing opinions on whether or not he should let me know. On most cruises we sign up for some sort of internet package, but on this particular one my computer stuffed up before completing the sign-up process. I figured if I couldn’t even get signed up without issues then buying internet time would be a waste of money if I watched the swirly thing go around while my dollars ticked away. Whether the ship’s internet was not up to par or the problem was in my computer itself I can’t say.
Meanwhile since this was a mostly domestic cruise I figured on having my phone in port, but at every port while my sister’s phone worked fine, mine said no service. I thought it was the provider until I got home and discovered the phone (which had been on the fritz for awhile) had finally given up. So the only way he could have reached me would have been to text my sister, which he knew because she sent him a text letting him know I had neither phone nor computer going.
After much pondering he decided not to tell me. In this instance I think he made the right choice. Had I known instead of making happy memories on a long-anticipated cruise with my sisters, I would have been sad and not enjoyed it. Knowing would not have changed anything with the dog and there was nothing I could do about it.
In different circumstances where there was a choice to be made and the decision couldn’t wait until the trip was over then of course people would need to know. Since that was not the case here, I think not ruining the trip with devastating news was the best way. Knowing would not bring Isabelle back to life and postponing the news until I returned allowed the cruise to go as planned. If I had known and been sad my sisters would not have had as much fun either so by not knowing we all got to enjoy our cruise.
Meanwhile at home John was sad and lonely and eased his grief by looking online for dogs at animal shelters. How things have changed since we got Isabelle 12 years ago. All the shelters were full of dogs then and she was lucky to have spent 9 months in one of the few no-kill shelters around at the time for anywhere else a dog nobody wanted would have a very short life span in a shelter.
This time the local shelters had just a handful of dogs each. Many of the dogs listed as being at local shelters were actually in a far-off state with an expensive adoption fee that included flying them in from wherever sight unseen. He was entranced by a video of a dog named Piper at a shelter within the general area, but not all that close. We have a thing for the dogs nobody else wants as this one had been there 8 months. While Isabelle had no backstory having been found as a stray, Piper they said had come from Iowa. Whether that meant she had been brought by someone who moved from there, or was flown in from a kill shelter we don’t know. Either way they said she had been surrendered by a young girl with a small apartment who kept her in a crate – something bound not to go over well with an active 3-year-old dog.
We were told she had been adopted and returned by someone who decided she wouldn’t get on with their cat, but it seems there may be more to the story. A shelter with only 4 dogs in residence not being able to place one in 8 months seems a bit odd. The fact that the people there told Piper not to blow it this time, put on the papers she could be returned for the full adoption fee back, and called multiple times the first week or two wanting to know if we were keeping her pretty much pointed to multiple returns they were afraid to mention.
Piper herself was quite clingy for the first week or so before settling down and feeling at home. If the shelter had been nearby she may have been returned before we even got home though. We stopped at a pet store to get her a doggy manicure on the way home and she got out of the lead the shelter sent her home in and was all over a dog bigger than herself. It looked like an attack, but the dog had slobber only and no bites. (It about broke my heart when the people called that dog Izzy as they checked her over.) After getting to know Piper better and seeing how she reacts to things we think it was really just her herding instinct (she’s a blue heeler cattle dog) and a desire to play without having any idea how to relate to other dogs.
She’s fitting in fine now, and learning how to get along with other dogs. Helped greatly by the can of air I learned about in her first doggy class. She’s very good about a lot of the things dogs learn in those classes, but being around other dogs in a controlled environment was my main reason for signing her up. The can of air makes a noise like a hissing snake that stops her in her tracks. One spray near her and she’ll go from jumping insanely at something to slinking past it trying not to get noticed. Initially she barked loudly when going crazy over whatever excited her, but after a couple times of hearing the air spray she is more likely to quietly give a half-hearted and easily stopped jump rather than losing focus on anything else and getting totally out of control.
Yup, Piper’s a keeper. Dogs that nobody else wants work fine for us. She even has a middle name – we heard the lady at the shelter call her Piper Louise while we were there. Funny thing is I picked Isabelle and she always liked John better. He picked Piper and so far she seems to like me best.