Survivor’s Guilt

I think I have survivor’s guilt, or some version of it. I don’t feel guilty for being alive exactly, which I know is technically what survivor’s guilt is all about. It’s not like Logan and I experienced some catastrophic event and I somehow escaped death and he didn’t. I’m just five years younger than he was and, therefore, always expected to outlive him.

When we were both a lot younger.

And I don’t feel guilty for enjoying a walk, or a sunny day, or a sniff around the barn while T is feeding. These are all things Logan would enjoy with me if he was here, things we enjoyed together over our seven years as partners, brothers, and friends (T has this Nitty Gritty Dirt Band thing.) I actually experienced more guilt going for a walk and having to leave him behind in recent months than I do now that he’s not here to leave behind.

Where the guilt comes in is when I enjoy something I might not have had the chance to do with Logan here, I see where my life has changed for the better. It sounds even worse when I put it into words on the page. But, let me explain.

Me as hotel dog in Red Deer for the horse sale.

Logan wasn’t a good traveller, he was noise sensitive, he didn’t like crowds, he got hot easily with his black coat, didn’t like being tied, and all these things added up to being left at home when it wasn’t a specifically dog-related activity because he was generally happier there. I, on the other hand, am a good traveller, am not bothered by most noises (except gunshots and thunder which are terrifying), love people (the more the merrier), have no issue with being attached to an immovable object by cable or leash, and stay quite comfortable on a hot day as long as I have water. But, to keep Logan company and, I think, to not create a double standard, I was most often left home with him.

I have been to Calgary, Strathmore, and other sundry locations more times in the past four weeks than probably the previous year, or even two. I know time of year has something to do with it, the weather is cool enough to leave a dog in a car, but I also know it’s because Logan is no longer here to stand at the door and watch me go somewhere while he stays behind. Funny thing about Logan was, no matter how many shaking, panting, over-heated, noisy excursions he went on, he’d still show up at the door, just in case it was something good, something dog-friendly, something fun. 10-Chico-guilt-ontheroad

Showing off my awesome travelling skills.

I love to be with my people, no matter the circumstances, and being an only dog, and a dog who is quite portable, has opened doors for me, doors that used to have Logan standing in them. Ouch, there it is again, the stab of guilt. Am I terrible?

I miss him, of course, we all do, every single day. T cries at least once a day, usually when she runs across another of his things—a toy, his desert walking boots, the blue and grey fleece jacket he wore most of last winter, his food bowl on stand that our friends gave him. And then there are the photos, oh so many of them, and he was such a photogenic guy.

He joins us in spirit on every walk.

I’m bouncing between missing my friend and enjoying the freedom that’s come with his absence. Maybe I should talk to someone. Anyone know a good dog psychologist? Then again, if Logan was here he’d just say, “Don’t be an idiot, Red. Get out there and enjoy yourself without an anxiety-prone old cripple with a heart condition holding you back. It’s what I’d do.” And that was the truth, Logan never missed an opportunity to do what he enjoyed, even at someone else’s expense (usually T’s or Nollind’s), and never suffered guilt.

Tagging along on a book event day in Okotoks.

So, my old and dear friend, in your honour, in your memory, I will uphold your credo, enjoy each day to the fullest, and live my best, guilt-free life.

~ ~ ~

On a whole other topic … Happy Fur-iday Birthday, Auntie Susan!  Celebrate by cuddling at least one dog today!10-Chico-guilt-sus


Hot Times in the Desert

On the heels of a colder than normal December, January, and February, March is making up for it. Our first day at Telephone Cove on Lake Mohave was cool and breezy but, since then, the thermometer has been 30 degrees Celsius (that’s 86 Fahrenheit) or better every day. For some of you sun lovers, that may not sound terribly hot, but try wearing a black fur coat complete with leggings instead of shorts and flip flops. I guarantee you’ll have a different hot weather threshold.


How I prefer to spend beach time.

I’ve always been a shade lover, unless it’s a cold day and I’m lying on the wood deck in front of the house. Even then, my ability to lie in the sun is limited. With the majority of the winter as cool as it was, I’ve probably done more soaking up the sun than in any of our previous trips, but it seems that my sunbathing days are over, the heat has arrived.


Moonlight is so pleasant.

Telephone Cove was our first hot spot, beyond that first day. The breeze off the lake was cool, but it eased in the afternoon, right about the time things were really heating up. Nollind normally parks the trailer so that the big windows face north in hot weather, keeping it cooler inside, but at Telephone Cove he couldn’t situate us that way very easily. By mid-afternoon, the trailer was like a sauna. Luckily, there was a lot of hanging out in camp at that spot so afternoons were spent outdoors in the shade. And, of course, there was the lake for cooling down. The water was pretty chilly after all the cold winter weather, but even Teresa went in for a swim on the last two days.


Cooling off in Lake Mohave at Telephone Cove.

From Telephone Cove we drove to Las Vegas for an overnight. It was hot there too and I was worried it would feel even worse in that asphalt/concrete jungle. What I didn’t consider was that RV parks have electricity and when we can plug Sid in we have air conditioning. What a treat! For twenty-four hours I didn’t have to think about how to stay cool.

Whitney Pockets was our next stop. We arrived at sunset with a cool breeze blowing off the mountains but the next day the thermometer climbed again. We did our exploring early in the day and spent the hottest part of the afternoon hanging out in the shade of the trailer with margaritas—well, the humans had margaritas, we dogs stuck with water. Water is a much wiser choice in the heat.


Morning hike at Whitney Pockets.


A shady, lazy afternoon.

I don’t like Teresa & Nollind to alter their plans on my account—normally—but when they opted to head further north into slightly cooler temps for my benefit, I didn’t argue. It’s still pretty warm here in southern Utah, the days getting up into the high 20s (80ish Fahrenheit), but it doesn’t feel so intense and it cools off nicely overnight. It helps that we’re camped at the top of a hill so there is almost always a breeze.


Leaving Whitney Pockets headed for cooler places.


Walking near camp in southern Utah.

I’m not sure how long we’re staying here or where we’re off to next. From what I’ve picked up from recent discussions, Teresa & Nollind don’t seem to know either. I guess we’ll all be surprised.


The desert sun leaving us for another day.

Busy Times on the Road

As you might have gathered from our blog posts, we don’t up anchor and move very frequently. Most of our stops are at least a week, often ten days, and sometimes two weeks or better. So, when I have three stops to talk about in one post, we’ve been busy.


Home for the first half of February

Okay, you got me there, if I’d written my post on Fur-iday as scheduled, there would have been only two stops. Or, if I’d written my post the next day, Saturday, like I said I would, there still would have been two stops. But, here it is Monday and we’re on stop number three since our last post.

Wickenburg. Wow. That pretty much sums it up from my perspective. Logan told you all about our Majestic Trail hike, the one where we all thought he was going to expire? Well, that was only a sample of our time at Vulture Peak.

Logan told you about the horse camp, but he didn’t tell you about the herd of mules that lined up right outside our trailer window to have their photo taken before heading off down the road. I’d never seen a mule before!

He didn’t tell you that our RVing friends Sue & Leon joined our camp at the 9-day mark and we spent many evenings hanging out around the fire together. We were so lucky to spend nearly three weeks with them this trip. We even helped them celebrate their 55th anniversary!


Hanging out in camp with Sue & Leon.

He didn’t tell you that we were included in two trips to Wickenburg. The first, for a coffee shop stop and a walk around the downtown, and the second for a wander across the Hassayampa Bridge and east toward the rodeo grounds.


Bridge across the Hassayampa River

And … this is an exciting one … he didn’t tell you how I rode shotgun when we were leaving the Vulture Peak camp. Yup, helped T navigate the side-by-side back to the main road where they loaded it onto the trailer. Now that I’ve been in it a couple of times I’m pretty sure I could handle a longer ride. There must be so many great things to see and smell when they head out on the trails. Toes crossed for next time.


Riding shotgun!

After fifteen days at Vulture Peak, we headed for the big city of Phoenix. We’ve stayed there only once before—on our first trip south when we camped at the race track. Now that the trailer is completely solar powered, we don’t need to plug in anywhere, so this time we stayed at the Desert Diamond Casino where they allow camping in their overflow parking lot. The casino camping is okay, but city stays usually involve quite a lot of waiting in the trailer for T and Nollind to come back, and this one wasn’t any different.


Morning walk at the Desert Diamond

The Phoenix list included a couple of visits with Alberta friends, doing the laundry, bathing us, and provisioning the trailer for our next desert stay. We dogs did get to go along on Friday, since it was bath day, but weren’t included in the other activities. By the way, the car wash had converted one of its bays to a proper dog wash so it wasn’t like we had to go through the spinning brushes or get sprayed with a high-pressure hose. Logan was definitely relieved. He hates car washes.


He almost looks relaxed!

With us bathed and the trailer stocked up with people and dog food, we headed west again yesterday, back toward Quartzsite. But this time we turned off before Q and came up here to Lake Havasu City. I’m excited. We haven’t spent much time here and I’m always game for a fresh adventure. We’re staying at a BLM 14-day area called Craggy Wash, a new one for us, and from our first walk this morning, it looks very promising.


Morning walk at Craggy Wash