My family and I just returned from an almost 2-week stint at our family’s shared lakehouse in Shelburne, Vermont. It was more or less 10-days altogether and since we seldom separate from our dogs and cats, it would feel an eternity to put them in other care. So of course, 2 horses, 3 dogs and 3 housecats went with us! The house-cats were an after-thought, I admit. We had lined up some farm care to oversee the horses(3 left), sheep, turkeys, layer hens & layer chicks, ducklings & the fatties.
The fatties are the 50 Freedom Ranger meatbirds that I came home to process midway through the vacation. It was their time. So now, you see, I actually was away about 8 days all told.
Anyway, that is certainly long enough that we were not able to separate from our house-pets. We were in three vehicles – Jody & Sarah Jane in the Focus with the 3 cats, Jim & Charlotte in the truck hauling the horses, and me in my VW Bug with the three dogs. Yes, there were bikes, sewing machines, grain, clothes, pillows, the vacuum cleaner -all the usual vacation accoutrements, but I’m willing to guess we had some non-garden variety items stowed as well. You get it – we’re the Clampetts!
The loading and ride there would’ve been uneventful except that Ruger Jac, Sarah Jane’s horse, did not want to load. After a couple of hours of trying on that first day, the team gave up. He really didn’t want to load and it was hot and we’d been packing for most of the day, trying to prep our home for the family that was going to come and stay while we were gone, trying to prep the farm for our absence…so we swapped him out for Izzy, my horse, who stepped right into the trailer and joined Char’s horse, Max, like it was nobody’s business! Poor Ruger had to be left behind with Lunah & Nite Nite. Apparently, though, he had a good time with the family that cared for him as they indulged him with apples daily!
The vacation was lovely excepting for Ginny, our ginger kitty, experiencing some sort of weird kitty-acne which turned her chin into a black-goatee, and the horses getting loose a couple of times, and all three dogs getting their usual ear infections from swimming so much in the lake. The cats very quickly acclimated to the new surroundings. Schilling, our big Maine Coon cat, had been there before and knew instantly he was in for a 2-week nap on the furniture. Jill & Ginny took a keen interest in all of the mousing to be done, as there are no neighborhood cats that apply for that job. We hardly saw the two of them as compared to the big Schill’s blobness gracing the furniture.
The three dogs love it at the lake and are endlessly chasing sticks and balls in the water. The difference between the location of the lakehouse and the location of our home, though, makes for a lot of barking. We are set back from the road in our southern Vermont residence, whereas the lakehouse is in a neighborhood with very beautiful properties immediately left and right of us. We jokingly call ourselves the “White Trash” of the neighborhood because of the animals, cars, people, bikes, Wonder Bread wrappers, etc., in our wake. At any rate, the dogs think there is cause to bark at every remote sound they hear while we are there, such as the neighbor speaking on their telephone or to their garden-staff, or to their house-staff, or to their staff, in general, that are the only signs of life that we can usually find of the neighbors at all.
Back to the pets. We were very glad we’d brought them. We were complete. But going home was another snafu-filled-event as the family packed and prepped for the drive back and of course, lost one of the cats in the process. Sarah Jane had felt unwell in the second half of the day and so she and Jody were trying to expedite their exit. I think that if we’d been more careful, Jill would not have taken the opportunity to fly out of sight and disappear for a couple of hours. We sent Jody & Sarah Jane off with the other 2 cats while Jim, Char & I finished the rest of the packing. I finished household packing while Char & Jim went up the hill to load Max & Izzy with all of their barn-things and then drive south. Unfortunately, later when I did finally manage to lure Jill back to the house and then stuff her in the VW with the three dogs, I discovered Char & Jim still at the barn loading and cleaning. They’d run into a snag with the horses and well, that is where the undoing of the chicken-coop area comes into play.
Apparently Max & Izzy thought they’d have a little afternoon entertainment and figured a way into the chicken yard/stall by undoing the fencing. Char was at wits’ end. I asked if I could stuff Jill into the truck, knowing that when I finally stopped for gas I risked losing her on the side of the road(we don’t have a cat carrier). They obliged though there was very little room in the truck cab and off they trucked with their horses, cat, and cargo. I cleaned up the barn and the paddock and almost an hour later, headed south with my merry-band of 3 dogs.
Yes, I put the top down after that. It was necessary to my sanity to get some fresh air with 3 hot, panting pups in such close proximity.