so much to be thankful for

We had such a great trip. Tala especially had the time of her life. She loves the car - no, that's not quite it, she's obsessed with the car. This is the only dog I've ever seen who loves to leave the dog park, because it means more car time! This trip included two trips of more than 10 hours each, plus several shorter drives. Tala heaven.

She still barks furiously at every passing car on the highway, but on longer trips, she'll give up and lie down for long stretches of time, before popping up and resuming her game. We have some sedatives - only the second time we've ever used them for her - but even with the drugs, the first hour or three is solid barking. We've done extensive training to try and correct this, but after working for weeks to see a microscopically small improvement on training trips - only to see that gain wiped out in the first 30 seconds of normal car travel - we gave up. Hey, no one's perfect, not even Tala.

In addition to her mega car time, Tala had three trips to a dog park near my mom's place (hooray for the internet), ran after a football being tossed around in a backyard, and soaked up tons of attention as the only dog among a whole lot of dog lovers.

Our mini-vacation was perhaps less exciting than Tala's, but great nonetheless. Because she was with us, we didn't go into New York City at all, so we missed seeing some friends. But my great friend NN came to New Jersey for breakfast, and Allan and I spent much more time relaxing than we usually do, which was very welcome. We had our usual two Thanksgiving celebrations - one at a restaurant with great food and wine, and the other a big casual gathering full of yummy, home-cooked, organic food.

I know I say this every year, but say it I must. When you grow up in not the happiest of families, holidays and family gatherings are nothing to look forward to. As you may know from your own experience, whatever crap your family goes through only gets worse. As a child and young adult, my holidays were occasions of stress, anxiety and fear. But now our family gatherings are pure fun and love and joy. My standard line: "Death and divorce? You say that like it's a bad thing!"

And every year, our US Thanksgiving ends with one great joy: coming home to Canada.

I have two details to share from our drive home - one complaint and one recommendation. Next post.

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