VIOLA - I’ve been following Mom like a detective follows a suspect, and I suspect she’s leaving town again. I saw her pack her suitcase.
I’ve told Mom over and over again that I don’t like being left behind. I want to go too. After all, both Finn and Ruben have been on plenty of vacations. But Mom keeps telling me I won’t like it. How would she know?
Mom goes out to the car and I follow. She comes back inside and grabs a bag and I tag along beside her. I follow on her heels and when she stops, my face rear-ends the back of her legs.
It doesn’t matter that Mom holds her hand out to touch my ears and keeps saying, “It’s okay, girl.” Because it’s not okay. I don’t like it when she leaves me.
While I’m anxiously trailing Mom, my siblings are sprawled on the couch, not the least bit worried. Finnegan, the smallest of us, is making a horrible snoring sound. And Ruben, the newest to our pack, is stretched out so far that if Mom needed to rest she wouldn’t be able to fit on the couch.
“Finnegan! Ruben!” Mom calls out. No need for her to call me because I’m sticking to her like a burr. Finn and Ruben saunter in like they haven’t a care in the world. My ears perk up and I stand at attention. This is it. Doomsday. The part where Mom says, “You be good pups. I love you,” then walks out the door.
But she says, “Car,” and “Let’s go!” I’m going?! We’re all going. I’m the first one out to the car and into the backseat. Mom has our blankets spread out for us and Finn’s favorite bed on the floor.
The car starts moving and I turn and look behind me. The car is full! I can see coolers, Mom’s suitcase, even Papa’s duffle bag. Papa just got in the car too.
Papa says to me, “Téte, you’re going on vacation!”
Vacation? I’m going with you? Oh boy, I’m going on vacation with Mom and Papa!
Hours later, after a good hard snooze, I wake up and stare out the window, resting my head on top of the seat. I see trees, cows, a few horses, houses, and lots of other cars. I wonder if any of them have dogs in the backseat.
I start barking and Mom and Papa shush me. As usual, they point out that Finn and Ruben are sound asleep and not barking. Well, good for them. I’m barking and I don’t feel like stopping anytime soon.
Mom mutters to Papa, “Exactly why this is Téte’s first vacation.” Papa nods.
Hey! Yoo-hoo! I have to pee. How long is the vacation? Is this it—we just drive in a car forever?
Now Mom and Papa are ignoring me, so I try a long howl followed by a few ear-shattering yips. This gets Finn and Ruben all wired up and we begin roughhousing until Papa reaches as far back as his arm will let him and shakes his finger, saying, “Knock it off!” They do. But I start whining. Mom says, “Do you want this car to turn around?”
Yes. Yes, I do. I don’t like this vacation thingy.
Eventually I fall asleep again, and when I wake up there is more snow on the ground and more trees than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. Mom is excited and ushers us into a gigantic old stone house. We walk around and get a smell for the place, and silly Finnegan gets a mousetrap snapped on his nose.
Soon the car is unpacked and Mom and Papa take us for a long walk past two lakes, a pond, and so much snow that I can barely push myself through it. We discover a deer carcass and are about to roll in it, but Papa sees us and yells for us to “Leave it!”
Now, I’m starting to have fun. Maybe this is what a vacation is. But when we get back to the stone house, Mom and Papa settle into big chairs and start reading. Later they cook dinner and afterwards play Rummikub.
This is boring. I want to go home. I start barking again.
Papa says to Mom, “Téte thinks we’re going to head home now.”
Well, aren't we? I had a blast on that long chilly walk. I’m ready. I want my own bed, in my own house.
But no, we stay overnight—and the next, and the next, and one more night after that. Each day we go for long hikes through the woods and snow. I love that part, but I want to go home after hiking. So, I bark and cry a lot.
Finally, I see Mom get out her suitcase and start putting her clothes back in it. Papa carries stuff out to the car.
When we pull into our driveway, I’m so excited to see my real house that I start barking louder than ever, before the car even stops. I’m home, my favorite place!I can now say I've been on vacation, just like Ruben and Finn. But it’s not for me. I’d rather stay home and watch over the cats. I guess Mother really does know best.