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Sep 27 / Laurie Northrup

The day I learned to hate dogs: Westfield and Northampton, MA

I am only writing this out once.

I’m part of a group of people who convoy animals from a shelter in Kentucky up to another shelter in the Boston metro area, where they have a better chance of being adopted. Each car shuttles critters, one or more depending on its capacity, between predetermined meeting points along the major highways. The entire relay takes two days.

I had done this two times before, with my friend Sarah, using her car because it’s a wagon. This week, there was a Monday/Tuesday transport, passing through New York on Tuesday afternoon. I have the privilege of not having an 8-4 weekdays work schedule, so I volunteered to drive the leg from Albany to outside of Springfield, MA.

Since I was solo and the other car driving my leg was a couple, they took the smaller, more active dogs and I took the larger, calmer ones.

Their names are Gabby (black and white) and Radiance (brown and white.) They were each maybe 45-50 pounds.

We set off, and my two new friends settled down.

About a mile in, I smelled something. “Hmm. One of them must have farted. Oh, dogs are so gross,” I thought affectionately.

The smell got stronger. And stronger. It was exactly like what comes out of Zoe when she eats some canned food that doesn’t agree with her. In an enclosed space, it was completely foul. Opening the windows and moonroof didn’t help. One of the dogs began whimpering: my puny human smell receptors were overwhelmed and I was gagging.

I called the other driver on my leg for help, and we pulled over to clean up my car and the dogs. Radiance had had the accident. Both were smeared with feces, as was Maggie’s blanket that I had spread across the backseat and parts of the floor. We cleaned up as best we could with water, I borrowed towels from the other car, and we took off again.

The smell never went away. A few miles down the highway, Radiance began to gag. I glanced back over my shoulder: yep, semi-digested kibble vomit. I wanted to throw up, too, but the convoy had to continue. When I glanced back again, before I could pull over to clean up, Radiance helped me out by eating her barf.

Thanks, girl.

She kept her meal down this time and the rest of the ride passed uneventfully. Except that all of us were miserable from the smells. Gabby laid her head on the back of my seat and whimpered.

I handed over the dogs at the meeting point, but not the smell. Sigh. Taking a brief rest, I remembered seeing a sign that pointed to Northampton. It hadn’t ever occurred to me on previous trips, but that town was less than half an hour away. Northampton is a nice little town, but aimless wandering wasn’t what I had in mind. I wanted to go to WEBS.

There aren’t many things worth spending an extra hour in a feces-infused car for. But WEBS is definitely up there. I had never been there before, and I even included it on my 30 in 30 list because it’s so close but I’ve never been.

I understand why people travel from so far to visit that place. The retail store is lovely and has a selection far superior to any small local store. But I’m cheap. For me, the real treasures are in the warehouse in the back. That’s the physical location of Grampa’s Garage Sale, the closeouts, and more yarn in one room than I could wrap my head around. It had almost as high a yarn-to-space ratio as my mom’s bedroom.

Here’s my haul, mostly clearance and closeouts of some kind:

So, okay, I gave myself a nice reward for a miserable afternoon. I helped some dogs, even if they were pretty tired of car travel at that point. And I have a car interior to shampoo tomorrow.

At least I got out of the house.


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  1. Barb / Oct 18 2011

    This reminds me of this:

    … which I’m sure you’ve seen before. But I always enjoy reading it again.

    • Laura Northrup / Oct 19 2011

      I could read this every week and never get tired of it.

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