Do You Have the Dogs?

Since Shane was very small, he’s been a pug fanatic. I don’t know how it started or why, but he absolutely loves those pudgy, google-eyed dogs.

I don’t want a pug, but I found a way to (occasionally and temporarily) get some pugs for Shane. We transport rescue pugs for a local pug rescue organization.

Recently, we had the opportunity to drive three pugs from a small town in Virginia to a foster home in Maryland. To make Shane happy, I volunteered. We would be picking up the pugs about an hour from home, from another driver, and taking them to their final destination – a foster home, about another hour away.

According to Mapquest, the entire trip should have taken less than three hours.

But it was dark and raining, so the traffic was awful. It was like rush hour (on a Saturday evening) and our “highway” speed averaged a mere 30 mph.

We were only a few miles into the trip when I had a quick flash of flu-like symptoms, and determined that I was having a heart attack. What I actually had was a little wave of nausea, probably since I’d had a slight fever the previous day. But I went into a full-blown panic attack and started teaching Shane how to drive, in case I should suddenly pass out behind the wheel.

After a quick stop and some fresh air, I felt perfectly fine.

We arrived only 15 minutes late for our pug pick-up.

I picked up my phone to text the first driver, and got a barrage of group chat messages:

My GPS won’t work. Can somebody email me directions?

I sent directions.

Where are you now?

I am still here.

Do you have the dogs?

I don’t know where I am.


There was no explanation as to why the first driver wasn’t at our meeting place – or if/when the dogs would arrive.

We would have to wait.

So Shane and I had dinner and waited – a substantially longer time than it would have taken for us to pick up the pugs at their original location. We stood in the rain for almost two hours.

The first driver never arrived.

We eventually drove another 20 miles to pick up the pugs in a completely random location. There, the first driver offered no more than, “Sorry.”

We loaded up three pugs’ worth of stuff. Shane got in the back of the minivan with the dogs; then we drove them another 70 miles to their foster home – and then another 40 miles back to our house.

All of this happened in a steady rain, on unfamiliar roads, with huge patches of fog that never lifted. But we helped the dogs.

They hadn’t had any water, so we pulled over – in the downpour – and tried to get them to drink. Holding three dogs is no easy task, and these three constantly pulled and snorted and snuffled about. Only one of them drank water.

The dogs smelled so bad, we had to open the windows while we drove. They obviously hadn’t been bathed – maybe ever, and the smell was amplified by their wet fur. When we finally dropped them off, we raced to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts to wash.

I’d left the windows open so long that I had to mop the door wells, which had collected half an inch of water.

So it wasn’t a perfect evening.

But when I looked in the rearview mirror, as we were galumphing down the road with three pugs, Shane was smiling amongst those smelly dogs, utterly elated.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

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