Meet Maxine – the real life dog star of this true story
Read What Happens when a Soft-hearted Couple Take Their Dog on an Overnight Trip
On our way out the door to begin our doggone holiday, we waved good-bye to our trusty dog Maxine, who regarded our departure with her usual I-love-you-so-much-please-don’ t-go face.It was my husband’s idea to hop in the van that bright summer afternoon to “drive somewhere far away and stay overnight.” Spontaneity is exhilarating, especially when it’s genuinely intended to make your heart beat a little faster, and your life a little more enjoyable.
The image of him and me voluntarily stranded in some remote motel room far off the beaten path stirred something romantic yet primitive in me. “When do we leave?” I asked excitedly.
He smiled, his blue eyes twinkling. “How about right now?”
As soon as his words were uttered I began to dash madly around the house, grabbing essential things like the cell phone charger, clean underwear, a camera, a well worn deck of pinochle cards, and a handful of DVD movies in case we accidentally ended up in a semi-luxurious room equipped with a DVD player.
As the abovementioned assortment of odds and ends were being frantically stuffed into the first suitcase unlucky enough to cross my overzealous path, my husband snuck up behind me with a question he sometimes asks.
“What’s all that stuff for?”
“Just a couple of things to do in case we get bored,” I answered as nonchalantly as possible.
Grinning with anticipated delight he replied, “Oh, I doubt if we’ll get bored.”
As we were backing out of the driveway an important thought struck me and I shouted, “Stop! We forgot to feed the dog!”
Maxine wagged her tail happily when I put the bowl of food in front of her. As I slipped back out the door, I felt relieved that we hadn’t overlooked the needs of this wonderful, loyal and loving animal. That’s when it occurred to me how would the dog get outside to do her business for the next 24 hours?
Fifty miles and one hour later, the dog looked a little van sick.
“Do you think we should pull over and let Maxine run around a little bit?” I asked anxiously.
We located a clearing by the side of the road and let our 80-pound black dog refresh herself while we sank deeper into the murky swamp of doubt.
“So do you really think this is going to work?” His question hovered thickly. I quickly calculated the odds of the dog peacefully existing all night in the van alone in a strange place.
As usual, I was a willing victim of my own optimism. “I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
Dusk was creeping across the summer sky as we pulled up in front of the only motel in sight.
“It’s a good thing we found a restaurant in the last town or Maxine would really be in trouble,” my husband joked in the worst possible taste.
Too road-wear to comment, I just nodded.
While we parked, Maxine continued to stare at the white styrofoam container in my lap. She’d caught a whiff of steak leftovers the second we climbed into the van after dinner, and her silent gaze had remained affixed to it ever since.
“I think that with this delicious food, some water, and a lot of positive reinforcement, the dog will be fine tonight.” I set the steak-filled container in front of her, poured a bottle of water into her bowl, and rubbed her behind the ears as she devoured her food. The heat of the day had been briskly replaced with a cool evening breeze, so I knew she would be able to sleep comfortably inside of our spacious vehicle.
“Be a good girl,” I instructed quietly as I closed the van door. She looked up at me adoringly, with love emanating from her soft brown eyes. I thought I heard her say, “I will” as the door latched shut.
My energized husband dragged our weighty, spontaneous luggage to our third story room, while I waited in our love nest, watching intently out the window to keep my ever-watchful eye on the van. I was wishing and praying that the dog would settle into sleeping mode and allow us the privilege of being somewhere anonymously sleazy for the next eight hours. I saw no sign of movement, so there was a spring in my step as I waltzed into the dank shower stall.
Ten minutes later I slinked across the room to my husband wearing a lacy, short black dress. (I was wearing the dress, not him.)
Within seconds, we evolved into a complicated tangle of arms and legs.
The harsh ringing of the 40-year-old phone in our room broke the bewitching spell. I nearly jumped out of my skin, and my husband calmly picked up the receiver.
“Okay thanks,” he said, then hung up and looked at me regretfully. “That was the guy at the front desk. He said that the dog won’t stop barking and we need to get her off the premises.”
“Can I wear my dress on the way home?” I asked.
“You better. If I’m going to drive this mutt 80 miles to get home I need something good to look at,” he replied wearily.
We trudged back to the van and opened the door to face the barking culprit. I reached inside to pick up the Styrofoam leftover container, but it was gone. She had eaten it too, probably for a snack after her main course. I studied Maxine as her tail wagged half-heartedly, looking for signs of styrofoamitis. There were none.
So we drove Maxine home and let her frolic in the back yard for fifteen minutes before we let her back inside for the night.
Not wanting to waste our precious room investment, we hopped back in the van and arrived back at Hotel Rundown at about 2:47 a.m. My dress was wrinkled from seat sweat, but we marched back to where it all started because we were determined to have an unscheduled good time.
Minutes later, we collapsed on the bed, too tired to do anything but sleep for the next five hours.
At sunrise we awoke and rushed back home to let the dog out again.
To this day, the dog is waiting for another spontaneous vacation. She said it was the most fun she’s had since the day we forgot and left a bag of garbage in the shed where she sleeps.