THE TRAVEL CHECK

The travel check

By Karyne Prayal-Brown

Some people seem to find that our life style is great. They obviously don’t live with it. My mother is a breeder. We live in a fairly large house out in what I would call a subdivided country area. In a place called Hammonds Plains, about 30 minutes away from Nova-Scotia’s capital; Halifax. I could say I enjoy it here quite a bit. We are lucky enough to be living by a lake, with about one and a half acres of land. Our neighbours to the left, from the road are very understanding of our work. So we carry on with our  “hobby”, as some might please to call it. But it’s much more than a hobby; it’s a life long commitment to raising and taking care of soon to be family members. It’s hard work but we take much pride in what we do.

 

With 14 dogs, 2 cats, 3 birds, and uncountable number of little rodents living with my sister on the second floor, you could very well call this house a zoo! My dad often pleases himself to do so. I have reason to think, that given the circumstances, any other 16 year old would have found it hard to adapt to this way of living. But I can truthfully say that my parents have done a good job at keeping us independent and shown us the importance of being able to rely on ourselves. My parents work both essentially two jobs. My father is a forest engineer for Parks Canada, and my mother is a teacher. Their second job consists of the breeder business. This obviously affects the amount of time they have to spend with my sisters and me. But given the fact that they do indeed have a lot of work on their hands, they have been able to shadow an important presence in our lives.

 My sisters and I, in my opinion, have well adapted to this life style. We find great comfort in these loving little balls of fluff. I often find myself talking to Cléo, my favourite. I had also begun training with her. However Cléo is a very shy dog. She doesn’t do well in groups, especially with dogs. I remember the obedience classes quite well. She would stay close to me, hidden under my chair or behind my feet, starring madly at the door, as if from it would come salvation (which in this case would have been my mother). Nevertheless, I continued training with her at home. Without being arrogant, I believe I have done quite well in teaching her one or two tricks; she’s at the point where she anticipates what I will ask her to do now. If I tell her to sit, she will automatically start to spin around sporadically! As for telling her to lie down, the automatic reaction to that is lying down and rolling over.  It’s quite annoying at times but it seems to amuse the several guests that come and go from our home. She’s a very smart dog, as all, or most of the rest of them.

 My mother prides herself in owning the top rare breed Canadian champion; Polana Doman. She attends to many dog shows and seems to like the aspect of travel. If we are lucky, we might get tagged along too. I personally enjoy the trips because I get a break from the usual routine. And of course it adds plenty of travel tails to the book. I still think that the yet to be matched tails of travel still remains as fallows;

 It was my “turn”, if you might say, to travel with my mom. Woodstock, Ontario the destination. The plan was to spend the night over at my grandmother’s house in Charlesbourg, Quebec, and head off early the next morning. As planed the next morning, we depart for Ontario. After 9 hours of drive, 4 pit stops and an uncountable number of coffee and hot chocolates (I’m not a great fan of caffeine, but chocolate does a good job on me), we finally arrive in Woodstock. My mother had entrusted me with the map reading. Good choice since I know how to get around with a map. But my mother seems to not comprehend the concept that when you give someone else a job that you are not particularly fond of, you let him or her do it. The bottom-line being that when I told her to go left… she went right… many times.

We had finally found the exposition site and had gotten installed in the motel. And what a motel it was! Anything to make you never come back again!! I have a habit off jumping on a bed when I first enter a new room. As I did so in the motel, little did I know that a mattress that could be compared to a wooden box would receive my landing. I then went crashing on the carpet, which was off a, well, say interesting brownish colour. A very unpleasant shock which accompanied the meeting with my surroundings. I then turned my attention to the intriguing device, bulging out off our window: an air conditioner. Considering that we were in the middle of summer and that it was quite muggy outside, we decide to investigate on the functioning off the machine. It’s a good thing that it’s cooler at night. How we could have slept with that kind of noise would have been nothing short off a miracle!! Ok so maybe apart from the granite shower stales (yes granite), the rock hard beds and the box on the window that was supposed to be a “silent” air conditioning unit, maybe it wasn’t that bad.

The exposition itself went on flawless…. Well almost I had been asked to return one of our dogs to our tent, seeing that her show turn was over. We hade with us a mosquito tent, it gave us a reasonable amount off shade but still let the bugs in by the small lift on the bottom. We hade put the dog crates and improvised cannel inside. As I pick up Micha to set her in the pen, she jumps over my shoulder landing anywhere but in the pen. Just as I turn around to catch her, she leaps under the tent, and before I had time to catch the leash zipping under the tent, Micha was running like a mad dog in the field adjacent the show ring. Imagine the face off my mother when she see a black and white charging hair ball zooming at full speed towards her (and not to mention the other breeders and spectators!)!! It took her a split second to realise just who this mad racer was. Micha, had to take a second look. She circled the field once again, just to go strait into my mother’s arms. Lucky day!!

The next three days were a little calmer but another lesson was yet to be taught. We finally left to head back to Quebec. The whole trip, my mother had been constantly nagging me about leaving the van locked with the keys on me. We had stopped to eat on one of the stops on the Trans-Canadian highway, (you know, the ones that just pop out in the middle of nowhere’s land) and I had gotten out to fetch the meal. I returned once to drop off half of it and went back to get the rest of the food. As I return, I noticed my mom looking through the window of the van looking a little distressed. As I got closer, I had a funny feeling that the teacher had become the unapplied student. Arriving to the van my doubts were confirmed; my mother had locked the van… with the keys in the ignition. It’s a good thing we are registered member of the CAA. We called the agency and sure enough, we were back in our van with our semi-heated meals. What are the chances of having a CAA van on the Trans-Canadian that just happened to be going the same way as we where? It was a lucky day indeed. Sure enough, I’ve kept good memories of this trip and hope to gather many more in the not to distant future. Till next time!

Toodles!