And We’re Travelling!

Some of you are probably asking yourselves, “What? Haven’t they been travelling since late November?” That’s true, the 29th to be exact, but my “delicate condition” has greatly limited what we’ve been able to do. We spent five weeks in Quartzsite, for example, the longest we’ve ever stayed in any one area.

There was a lot of this in the first two months of the trip, many times a day.

T and Nollind were generous, telling me they wanted to stay there anyway, and I know they like Quartzsite, but I also know they wanted to get on the road. And then there were all those days when T stayed at the trailer while Nollind went into town. She’s easily entertained, and I’m pretty good company even when I’m sick, but I know she missed the outings.

Happier days.

So, the good news is that my digestive issues have resolved enough to allow more travel and day trips. The not-so-good news is that I still can only eat Natural Balance duck and potato canned food. I mean, it’s tasty, but I miss all the treats I used to get, dog and human.

What my food/treat cupboard looks like these days.

T found two kinds of Natural Balance duck and potato treats plus a bag of duck jerky. So far, two of the three have caused issues, but I think we’re going to try them again now that I’ve had ten days of no diarrhea or nausea. Ten days! And ten days would have been fourteen if not for the unfortunate “popcorn incident”. A bowl of popcorn got set at dog height and, before they could stop me, I’d wolfed down a couple of mouthfuls. I was so certain things would be okay the next day and we could add popcorn to my short list of approved foods, but no such luck.

This “Timbit” (Munchkin at Dunkin Donuts) experiment wasn’t a success either. Crap!

Meanwhile, back to that good news. In the last two weeks, I’ve been on a day trip into Yuma for a walk at the West Wetlands Park, another to a town southeast of Yuma called Wellton, a third excursion to dump and fill waste and water tanks, the journey from Ogilby Road camp to our current camp at the Kofa Wildlife Refuge, and a short day trip further into the refuge. That’s five trips in two weeks, all without my little blue pills and all without digestive chaos the next day. Yay me!

Walking at the wetlands park in Yuma.

I’m feeling a whole lot better, especially in the mornings, I’m putting on some of the weight I lost, and I’m able to do longer walks. Our last walk at Ogilby Road, I went a full hour, and here at Kofa on Wednesday, I walked forty-five minutes including a long uphill stretch. Since all of this started, I’ve turned thirteen, so I’m not expecting miracles, but it sure feels good to have a little more bounce in my step.

Besides feeling better physically, I’m happy to not be such a concern and focus for my peeps. For the first two months of the trip, I was such a wreck they spent a ton of time trying to figure out how to help me and what was triggering my IBD symptoms. There wasn’t a lot of opportunity to just enjoy being in this place I know they both love.

She looks happier, right?

Today we’re on the road again, headed for another short stay in Quartzsite and a visit with some snowbird friends from back home in Alberta. Now that I’m so much better, such things are possible without planning for “Chico down days” after each day of travel.

And with possibilities opening up considerably, to my favourite peeps, I say…
“This is the first day of the rest of your trip … get out there and enjoy it!” (But since the separation anxiety is still a bit of an issue … take me with you.)

And to all of you I say …
“Stay tuned for my upcoming posts to return to more adventures and fewer misadventures!”

Fate is a Cruel Mistress

Back in 2018, Logan wrote a post called “High Maintentance Mutt”. At the time, I thought that would never happen to me. I would never need the peeps to constantly arrange their lives around my needs or require a support team to sustain my quality of life. Ha! How naive is youth!

I was still invincible back in 2018.

When it happened to Logan, I thought he was just paying the price for a misspent youth of too much leaping and jumping. Even in my young days, I was never much of a leaper or jumper, so I figured I was safe from sports injuries plaguing me in my old age.

Human-assisted leaping.

But, as a friend of Nollind’s is fond of saying, old age does not come alone.

I was right about my limbs, they’re in pretty good shape. No limping for this old dog. But about a year ago I started having some unsteadiness in my backend and it turns out my arthritis is in my spine. How the heck did that happen? Murphy’s law would say not enough leaping and jumping.

And then in October, the digestive trouble started, and this above all else has been a game changer. This is the one that has landed me solidly in the “high maintenance mutt” category. I think I’ve even managed to outdo Logan when it comes to being a difficult travelling dog.

I travel great in my chariot.

The first problem with my condition is that it’s triggered by many different foods, meaning my diet has to be very restricted. And although I know this, I just can’t help myself from eating snacks I find around camp or out on our walks. One bit of beef or chicken left from someone’s lunch can undo days of good digestion. It also means I’m on what they call a limited-ingredient, novel-protein diet, which isn’t readily available just everywhere. So T and Nollind have been ordering online and dealing with the issues presented by receiving shipments while on the road.

Wearing my lunch on my chin during a pedi.

The second problem we’ve discovered is that my symptoms can be triggered by stress. Now I’ve never been a high-strung kind of guy and am generally more chill than Logan ever was, but I have become less emotionally sturdy as I’ve lost my hearing and strength. I just feel more at ease when I’m with my people.

Me when I’m with my peeps.

The other thing that happened somewhere along the way is that I’m not as comfortable in the truck as I used to be. I was always the star traveller and T and Nollind loved taking me anywhere and everywhere. Now I get diarrhea after a day of travel.

You can probably see where this is going. They can’t leave me at home alone and they can’t take me with them! If that’s not high maintenance, I don’t know what is. So, Logan my old friend, I totally beat your ass in the make-travel-difficult-for-the-peeps contest!

I don’t pant and shake like Logan used to, but my stress is real!

But I’m not celebrating. I’ve always prided myself on being “that guy” who can be left or taken anywhere without issue. Even now, I don’t bark or chew up furniture or otherwise act out, I just quietly stress enough to cause my Inflammatory Bowel Disease to flare up and cause next-day chaos.

No stress during cuddle time.

I don’t know who’s in charge of doling out old-age maladies, but whoever it is has a cruel sense of humour. Logan loved nothing more than to run—he was even named after a movie called Logan’s Run—and what happened to him? Arthritis in his leg that took away his mobility.

Me, I love food above all else and end up with a condition that can only be managed with a very restrictive diet. No bones, no treats, no new-and-different flavours, and no scavenging. Cruel, right?

There are two bits of good news in all of this, though. My duck and potato diet is still working for me and it is tasty. And a couple of days ago we tried a drug that made me very relaxed and sleepy for the trip to a new camp, which meant no diarrhea the next day. Yay!

Chillin’ by the fire.

I hear the peeps are planning a shopping trip to Yuma tomorrow and that I’ll be staying home under the influence of my new pills. I sure hope those little blue tablets give me enough of that sweet, sleepy feeling to keep the digestive system calm and cool. Wish me luck!