Tank is a swell dog! And when he was not releasing smells that could fell a herd of rhinos or slathering my head with drool, I was comforted by his presence.
I’m heading west with my 20-something son. Previously, as you may recall, I merrily chirped about the glories of the trip ahead.
Today, I will candidly share the ins and outs of traveling cross-country with my son and his dog, Tank. If ever my words start to sound bleak or hopeless, if ever my spirit seems as broken as a one-eared mule, please don’t be alarmed. I’m OK. I am. It’s just that Tank was a last-minute addition and I was not prepared.
Tank, you see, has breath that could curl a train track. Around the house, I rarely smell it. But in the confined car? Holy halitosis. To make matters worse, the dog, bored and restless, often took to hanging its head between the two front seats. My nostrils are still fluttering.
My son, of course, who does not share my stellar sense of smell, thought I was crackers whenever I suggested that Tank’s breath smelled like rotting fish in a sweltering Dumpster. Plus, he took the criticism personally, as if he were responsible for the dog’s death-breath. That said, I knew to button up if I wanted to keep the chatter going.
Tank also has digestive issues, which grew worse with each passing state. Had I known sooner that Tank was coming, I would have swiped the arsenal of mini-perfumes that I tuck in my gym bag (you just never know!) and spritzed away. As it stood, I resorted to sniffing old potato chip bags and empty pop cans.
And even though I know Tank is a “licker,” I was driven to the brink every time that big wet tongue found its way to the side of my small dry face.
But don’t get me wrong: I think Tank is a swell dog! And when he was not releasing smells that could fell a herd of rhinos or slathering my head with drool, I was comforted by his presence. The West, though settled, still feels a tad wild to this Eastern gal. Speed limits are higher, hotels are few and far between, semis barrel louder and vultures are ever-present.
On a positive note, Tank took extended naps, which gave my son and me plenty of time to discuss important matters, play car games and see who could burp loudest after a big snork of Dr. Pepper.
In conclusion, I am proud I took this trip. It was not easy and I am tougher for it. That I occasionally sniff empty chip bags and still flinch at the sight of a dog’s tongue is a small price to pay for burping and bonding across the great USA.
Anne Palumbo writes for Messenger Post Media in New York. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.