On this particular trip, we had our Welsh Corgi, Sophie, for not even a whole month. Our other dog, Chili, is a Yorkshire Terrier, and was almost 10 at the time. For some oddball reason I thought it would be a brilliant idea to take the dogs to New Orleans with us. My imagination always, always romanticizes everything to where the reality is generally a big disappointment. This time was no different.
When Breana was 4 months old, Boyd & I decided that was the perfect time to grow our family and add a 4-legged creature of fur. I mean, why not take on more than you can handle? Baby and dog meandering on the floor at the same time? How adorable! So one night past 1:00 am I get a call from Boyd who had gone out with friends, "Kristen, I found our dog. This puppy is walking around on the bar and it's meant to be. Mind if I bring home the bartender?" I mean, seriously, I know a baby can cause stress on a relationship and all, but I thought I was doing a pretty damn good job and for him to want to add another woman to the equation?! "No, Boyd, I do mind. We'll talk about this in the morning." I was honestly more pissed that he woke me from my slumber.
The following morning we talked and I agreed to have the bartender over with her puppy. There was no obvious need to worry once I met her- she was a homely thing, living at the Motel 6 near I-75 and Delk Rd. Along with the puppy she named "Precious", she also brought with her the dog mom and dog dad. All of her dogs were Yorkshire Terriers. The dog mom was a trembling ball of fear. Dog dad walked all over the tops of the sofa like a cat. And Precious was so tiny and sweet. (Precious would later become a healthy mix of trembles and cat walker) In my experience meeting with the low income Medicare market, I'm still curious as to why some people choose the same idiotic names over and over again, on repeat: Precious, L'il Bit (Oh God don't get me started on the L'il Bits of the world!), L'il Man, Princess, etc. I mean, what in tarnations? Is there a White Trash Book of Dog Names that I don't know about? Pardon me if you have a L'il Bit, but please entertain me and tell me exactly why you have a L'il Bit. Anyway, we adopted Precious and immediately changed her name to "Chili" as in "Chili dog" as in the delectable hot dog at The Varsity you get smothered in chili. I get a handful of people every year that say, "Awww her name is Chili? Like Chili Pepper!" No, dingbats, like DOG, because this... is a dog. (And I'm willing to bet that the name Chili dog is listed in that book, too.)
Chili has been through a lot, especially when she was a puppy and would always hover/tremble near our feet and we'd (accidentally) step on her. I used to take her to to a bunch of places because that's when Legally Blonde was still one of my favorites and Elle Woods accessorized her outfits with her Chihuahua. I wasn't this eccentric though and it was partly due to Chili's explosive bowels in public settings. She also hates kids and kids love little dogs, so the two have never mixed. "Hey lady! Your dog is mean!" Shut it stranger-child! How about you don't tug at her fur and then she won't snap at you?! I used to drag Chili to festivals in Atlanta but she never was one for the leash without sounding like a dying duck and she'd usually leave a trail of diarrhea on the busy path where all the vendors were set up and I'd be like, oops... I forgot to bring doggie poop & scoop bags! But there's not much you can pick up when it comes to diarrhea- maybe kick some dirt on it, I don't know- just smile apologetically at the judgmental stares and keep walking with your dog.
Actually Chili doesn't think she's a dog and we've often forgotten that she is one. A few years ago we decided to act like tourists in our own city and on a vacation return, we stayed the night in Atlanta. Chili was with us and the hotel allowed dogs. But how could we leave her when she was practically scratching down the door? So I grabbed Chili and put her in my purse. We walked to the Hard Rock Cafe, even though Pitty Pat's Porch was my first pick, and I was completely honest with the hostess, "Hey there, I have a dog in my purse."
"Awwww how cute! Right this way to your table!"
I was loving the Hard Rock. Chili sat beside me still in my purse but our server was so accommodating that I felt comfortable putting Chili in a seat of her own at the table. Our server brought Chili a small bowl of water and an extra plate so Chili & I could share a cheeseburger. Even the food runner loved Chili. Chili does have some good table manners. It was so nice! Until someone complained. And then the manager found out we were dining with a dog and we were told the old this-is-a-health-hazard bit. Check please! Also, Chili loves kicking back with the occasional cocktail. There are some random nights where she'll get in my face and do her "talking" and I know she's been fed, let out, etc and I'm like, "Ohhhhh, do you want a... Scotch?" She gets all excited and leads the way to the kitchen and I'll pour her a tiny amount to lick. It doesn't take long before she's sneezing and rubbing her face in the sofa, all happy and relaxed.
So back in New Orleans last December with both dogs... Chili still hates walking on a leash so this was a battle walking her throughout the city and her sounding like a duck being killed. The dog can certainly walk beside me without a leash but people can get uneasy when a dog is unleashed. Everywhere we walked it was, "Omg, your puppy is sooooooo cute! What is it?"
"Thanks! It's a Corgi- her name is Sophie." Meanwhile Chili was gasping for air, pulling against the leash.
"Omg, what a cute puppy! Is that a Corgi?"
"Why yes it is, her name is Sophie. Thank you!" as Chili was squirting her bowels along Royal Street.
We had had enough of the attention for one day so we left the dogs in our dog-friendly hotel and went out for lunch. Chili's 2 most anxiety-inducing events are thunder and football games. Thunder is obvious but during football games, people get passionate and expressive with words, often loud words. Boyd's favorite to yell when his team is in distress is "Goddammit!" and instantly Chili would fold her ears back and creep out of the room, not to be seen for hours. Usually we couldn't find her later on so we'd have to ring the doorbell and she'd emerge from underneath a bed, barking. Knowing this one word would quiet her down, we've used it on occasion even when football wasn't on. Leaving for lunch in New Orleans was sort of like leaving your kid with a babysitter for the first time- it took forever to get the "kids" settled. Sophie was cool, just chilling on the hotel bathroom floor, but Chili stalked our every move and followed us to the door with her sad eyes that have begun to cloud. I shut the door and as we walked toward the elevator Chili began with her obnoxiously shrill bark/whine/scream. Oh no, this is not happening. I am going out and you are going to behave! "Wait here," I advised Boyd & Breana at the elevator. I walked back to the closed hotel room door and shouted, "Goddammit!" until I was certain Chili was no longer whining. Later I would learn the man next door to us was on a conference call.
At lunch, a woman from the hotel called, "Ms. Tracey? You have a dog in your room? We've had some complaints about the noise..."
Oh Jesus, why did we bring our dogs to New Orleans?! Feeling like I had no other choice, I called our Vet but since it was Saturday, they were closed. So I called the emergency Vet, "Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me what to give to a 5 pound Yorkie to put her in a temporary coma?" They wouldn't tell me so I took my question to Google... Benedryl! But of course! And a super small dose since I do love Chili and eventually I'd like to see her awake again, just not now.
Before dinner that night in New Orleans, I gave Chili a small swig of people Benedryl. But dammit if the dog wasn't wide-eyed and alert, watching my every step like a hawk. So I gave her extra, like a 12-yrs-old-and-older extra. I swear she was even more alert than before. Just when I thought she was dozing off into a Sleeping Beauty-like coma with her sticky Benedryl chin, she'd jolt herself awake at my tip toe toward the door, giving me this judgmental cloudy side-eye. "Goddammit!" I yelled as I finally left the hotel room for dinner. And I turned my phone off.
Chili is still alive. Her paws still smell like Fritos and she brings hitchhikers (you know, those prickly little things that stick to you in the woods) home in her matted hair. Because she was born in a Motel 6, her long tail was never cut short like a Yorkie's should be. She loves her afternoon excursions outdoors where I let her venture into the woods unsupervised, she hates most foods and goes up to bed early with Breana while Sophie sits up late with me. But I will never take her on another trip again (I say that now). Aside from some funny dog stories, I brought home some other fun stuff from NOLA last year. One is this Alice in Wonderland print by a New Orleans artist, Ally Burguieres. She has a couple of galleries in the French Quarter and her work is so colorful and lively. The "Little Oysters, Little Oysters!" scene has always been a favorite of mine and Breana's- from the Disney animated Alice in Wonderland movie. I knew I wanted this for Breana's bedroom and since buying it, it has become the color inspiration for her room as a whole. This will be the only obvious, in-your-face Alice in Wonderland piece in her new room and will hang it above her reupholstered red and white polka dot chair (think mushroom).
Thanks for stopping by!