Jellyfish and Psycho Stalkers
Jellies at the Aquarium of the Smokies- Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Canon G3/manual)
Today is my birthday; I’m 44!
I have a roaring migraine.
But, given the circumstances, it’s not surprising. I could write a book on the (mis) adventures of our vacation in the Smokies, but my head won’t let me and I have to start on homework soon. Right- on my birthday-with a migraine. I’ll keep things short.
As we were leaving Maggie Valley in North Carolina on the 15th (Sunday), putting along down the interstate, my Mom’s car died. On the interstate. We pulled over off the highway and sat on the roadside. (It was 3:00 p.m. or so.) Numerous calls were made to AAA- hours went by- my daughter, Heidi, was violently ill and my Mom, who is almost 70, was exhausted. People needed to pee and we were making very little progress with AAA. More time passed. More calls were made. (More waiting. More calls.)
Finally, after being stranded on the interstate for 7+ hours, our guy pulls up in a (very) small tow truck. He then tells us that he can’t tow more than two people and we were basically screwed. I was able to pull a few strings and he called his buddy (unbeknownst to AAA) who owned a double cab who promised to come and tow us to a hotel and auto body shop.
More time passed. It was now pitch dark and we were on the side of the highway in a black car and a dead cell phone. Nice.
Finally, after much cussing and praying, our 2nd guy pulls up and tows us to safety and a Comfort Inn in Ashville, N.C. After hanging out on a small hill the following day, among the sweet smelling pines for several hours, we were told that the mechanics had found the problem and we would be on our way soon.
By this point, I had incredibly bad “highway hair” and could feel my head slowly cracking; I just wanted to prevent “the migraine”.
After returning home that evening, I was informed that our dog, Chance, had run out when Brianna left that morning. Naturally, I couldn’t receive text messages on the road because my cell phone had died hours before. After I was told that he had run outside 10 hours earlier, I was crushed. Josh and I spent the next few hours combing the city; whistling, calling…we didn’t find him. I was devastated. I couldn’t blame Brianna, of course. Chance no doubt wanted to be with us and might have run out to try and find us, but really, he’s a “bolter”. He loves to get out and run- full blast!
I didn’t get much sleep that night and cried, so much. Chance is my baby. I’ve trained him to fetch things, to give me a kiss, and he’ll chew on Josh’s beard, as if to groom him; it’s totally adorable. He’s been our baby for 10 months now, which makes it especially weird when I received an email from his former owner’s girlfriend, telling me that they received a call that Chance had been picked up (when we were broken down in N.C.) and at first, I was glad to see her email, as we have stayed in contact with each other, remotely. She has written me several times asking for updates on “Willy” (his previous name). I had felt a bit uncomfortable with her wanting to stay in contact with us (regarding Chance), but didn’t see any reason not to send her a few shots of Josh and Chance out at parks, etc. and share some information on how he’s doing. (Big mistake.)
After spending the night searching for Chance, crying- exhausted from being stranded on the highway and just exhausted in general from not eating and sleeping properly because of the whole chaotic “stranded situation”, I continued reading her email, and quickly became outraged. She had the audacity to tell me that they received a call that Chance had been picked up, and that she and her boyfriend were going to go and get him on Thursday (tomorrow), and that, “We are going to pick Willy up from LHS thursday and he will not be given back to your custody.”
After keeping her updated on his well-being and even sending her cute little pics of him? What the hell is wrong with people? They’ve lost their decency and ability to exhibit a smidgeon of compassion anymore it seems. She had no idea we were stranded, or that we’d all just been through 2 days of highway hell. (Yeah, and his name is not “Willy” lady! It’s Chance. Get it straight!)
When Josh and I got Chance from her and her boyfriend (also named Josh), they failed to mention that we would need to register Chance’s microchip with us. They gave us no information on it at all. It’s not absolutely mandatory and it has no bearing overall on actual and legal “ownership”. It’s a good idea for new owners to do that, but if the new owners choose not to, that doesn’t mean that the dog still belongs to the previous owners simply because his microchip number still bears their contact information. She could have chosen to contact us in a civil manner rather than outright threatening us. Not the best idea.
After researching microchip ownership and conferring with an attorney, I discovered that many animal shelters refuse to let a new owner register the animal’s microchip in his or her name, because often, the animal will wind up right back in the shelter and the shelter gets tired of having to (re) register the new contact information over and over again.
I would have been completely willing to continue to apprise the former owner of Chance’s well being and maybe even share a few more pics, but certainly not now. I believe she’s a bit unstable and out of touch with reality. Who would give you a dog and then tell you almost a year later that your dog is still named what they named him?
Things are slowly returning back to normal now; Josh is in the living room playing the guitar and singing, our feline and canine family are lounging around enjoying the music, and Bob is at the table with me- he wanted to come and see me for my birthday- it’s a treat. :0)
In other news, Carl is losing his fight against feline AIDS and although he’s still eating voraciously, the food is just going through him so quickly- like water- he’s wasting away. Brianna has made the executive decision to have him put to sleep tomorrow; she doesn’t want him to suffer further. She’s being incredibly strong right now and I’m so very proud of her.
Even with the migraine, the crazy mishaps in the mountains of North Carolina, and the psycho- former owner of my dog threatening to “dognap” him, I can say that all is well still: I’m alive and still carry a smile.
(selfie in the Smokies)