Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Dakota Sunshine

"Just living is not must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." 
-Hans Christian Andersen

Traveling thousands of miles across the country with four full-size humans and eighty-three pounds of big red dog in a Honda CRV is difficult, you might expect.

But it's not.

Gracie is a model traveler.

We stash our bags up in the rooftop carrier so that Gracie has most of the back space for herself, which she sometimes uses to stretch out and sleep but mostly sits up and looks out the rear window, watching the world roll by. She is endlessly entertained.

We lay down a soft bed of old towels and blankets, which she promptly rearranges into her own happy lumps. She has strong opinions about things.

We tuck her water bowl securely into a corner and keep it half full of water, which she tidily sips as we drive along. She can never get enough to drink.

We stop at lots of rest areas and put her on her long leash so she can stretch her legs in the pet zones, which she truly adores. And when she is running through the lush green grass, she is -in a word - adorable.

This evening romp off I-90 in the middle of North Dakota is a perfect case in point. 

She'd been cooped up for hours without a complaint, but the moment we invited her out of the car and set her running, she was in pure heaven. 

My two younger daughters and I delighted in Gracie's antics, snapping mad pictures as she gallivanted in the grass, making the most of the fresh, cool air and the low evening sun.

To our delight and surprise, we soon realized we were not the only ones.

A young man - probably in his twenties - leaned against his car, watching our girl run. 

And as we walked deeper down the length of the pet lawn, we saw him scoot behind the building and slip along the sidewalk closer to where Gracie was playing.

Then he pulled his phone from his pocket, and snapped a few pics of our girl. 

My daughters and I pretended not to notice. 

But as he slipped the phone back in his pocket, and lingered just a few minutes more to watch my dog play in the Dakota sunshine, I saw him smile.

And I smiled too. 

* * * * *

Road Trip 2019: read all about it.

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