June 26, 2014
Warning: This blog post contains content that might be unsettling. Do not read while eating!
When Tammy called me she was about a half-hour away from our meeting spot along northbound I-75. Her voice held a hint of panic. "Bring more towels and cleanup stuff!" she begged.
She was late coming from Leader Dogs for the Blind and had two special puppies tucked away in crates in the back of the van. FLD Farley, a male yellow lab, and FLD Eco, a male black lab, were to be delivered the next morning at the Baraga Correctional Facility. Farley was sick and Tammy had to wait for the Leader Dog vet to do a Parvo test (it was negative) and get some medication together before she could leave.
On the road the poor little guy squirted "liquid diarrhea" all over the inside of his crate. Tammy stopped to clean up but ran out of towels. "I had four and a blanket," she said when we finally met up. I brought six more, a roll of paper towels, a container of sanitizing wipes and a bottle of Nature"s Miracle.
It was more than 500 miles from the Leader Dog campus in Rochester Hills to Baraga at the west end of the U.P., a trip that should take about eight hours (without puppies). It promised to be a bit longer. "I hoped to get to our hotel before dark," Tammy said. She was thinking we'd probably be washing Farley in the hotel sink at midnight.
We stopped frequently - in St. Ignace, Chocolay Township, Ishpeming. About dusk, prompted by whining puppies, we pulled into a little roadside park somewhere along M-28, next to a small lake.
|FLD Eco was happy to get out of the van. Again.|
|FLD Farley is still pretty cute, even if he isn't feeling well.|
Big mistake. The mosquitoes of the U.P. are infamous. Withdrawing back into the van was no relief - we were swarmed! The inside of the windshield was just as smeared with bugs as the outside.
|FLD Eco doesn't seem to be bothered by the mosquitoes.|
We arrived at our hotel 15 minutes shy of 12 hours after Tammy left Leader Dog. It was 10:15 p.m. Luckily, Baraga sits on the west edge of the Eastern Time zone and light lingers longer in the north during summer. "The last glimmer of daylight," Tammy sighed.
Crating seven-week-old puppies together cuts down on the crying, but we had to keep Farley separated from Eco in case he was contagious. We were glad I brought FLD Baker along. (Baker is a female seven-month-old lab/golden mix I was puppy-sitting for a few days.) She and Eco got to play in the room while we kept Farley quarantined.
|FLD Farley wishes he could play too.|
The medicine seemed to be working. We took Farley out to "park" several times before bed but he never pooped. About 2:30 a.m. I thought I heard something, but went back to sleep. At 3:30 we learned I should have gotten up after all. Farley had spray painted the inside of his crate brown. Again. Lights on, park time, clean up time.
Up again at 5:30 a.m. there was no going back to bed. We were expected at the prison between 8:30 and 9:00. Thanks to Farley we finally showed up on time!
|And here is FLD Baker. This photo was taken at my home.|