Last summer during one of the ebbs of the corona virus I took Dea away for a four-night trip to Connecticut, for the first time out of New York City. It was ideal weather and I couldn’t wait to get a short break from the city. On the second day there I had a freak accident of which I still don’t understand why or how it happened, but the joint below my big toe became so swollen and inflamed, I couldn’t walk and even lying down in bed was too painful. I was in agony and it was as close to level 10 pain as I had ever felt.
I was alone with Dea in a hotel in Ct.! For the first time ever, I hadn’t brought with me any of my usual “what ifs” such as Advil or even Tylenol, and the hotel concierge said that I needed to go to the ER because I was in too much pain. Dea came with me in her Sherpa bag, and we were in the ER until 5 AM-finally being sent home with one pain pill and an incorrect diagnosis (it was not pseudo- gout) but rather “trauma” to the joint. That same morning, we returned to NYC. It was awful, scary and exhausting.
Last week, Dea and I bravely travelled back to the same hotel in Ct. for a new two-and-a-half-day getaway. That may not sound stressful in the least, but for me it was a necessary do-over otherwise I might continue to think about the dreadful experience from the previous summer and never go back. I have become the kind of person who needs to get back up as quickly as I can after a figurative fall or a real fall so I knew it was fundamental to return to this lovely get away an hour from the city. I had to rewrite the script of the last summer, no matter what it took. Some people thought it was brave including the wonderful hotel manager with whom I had become friends. She couldn’t believe that we would ever return there after what happened last summer. We did.
However, this time, I packed all the usual “what if’s” I could think of for both me and Dea. I felt as if I had packed an entire pharmacy. I was determined to not let anything hamper this needed two-and-a-half-day trip. I even packed a can of special food for Dea just in case she had any stomach disturbances. She didn’t.
Nothing was needed. We had the most splendid time and Dea was the belle of the ball, acting as goodwill ambassador greeting everyone with her knee hugs and ear kisses. She adapted perfectly to our hotel room, curling up on the bed with me, playing with the new green and turquoise dinosaur squeaky toy that the hotel manager so generously left for her and she never made any peeing mistakes. I always worry Dea might not eat while in a new environment, but she did.
Dea loved smelling all the new scents in Ct. She seemed to especially like the smells of the fragrant pink and purple flowers that were in abundance around the hotel grounds and the smells wafting up from the shimmering Long Island Sound where we took extensive walks looking at all the million-dollar yachts that were docked there.
We had lunch at the hotel’s terraced outdoor restaurant with friends and Dea sat on my lap, behaving as perfectly as any dog owner could wish for. She was in doggy paradise as her nose twitched from smelling the tuna from our salad niçoises’ and the restaurant patrons marveled at her good behavior. There was a woman who even waited to meet Dea, after our lunch, thrilled with getting a wet slurpy kiss and a knee hug! She thought Dea was the most obedient dog she had ever seen. Yes, that’s true.
For the first time in more than a year masks were not mandatory. During the height of covid with everyone wearing a mask, Dea had become an expert at distinguishing smiling or unfriendly eyes. Now she could see people’s real smiles so she did not need to guess.
That afternoon the hotel manager took me and Dea out on a boat ride with an entertaining sea captain who told us stories of who lives along the shoreline as he was pointing out all the mansions to our left and yachts to our right. The weather was perfect. The Sound was calm with just a slight ripple and Dea loved being on the boat, the wind blowing her ears as I held her in my lap like a two-year-old child facing outwards so she could see and smell it all.
Dea and I got through our short break with flying colors. A success all round and no ER visit. Interestingly enough, with my adversity last summer came a blessing. I met some new people, became friends with the hotel manager and succeeded in changing the script from last summer’s bad memory. This was truly a redo for our pack of two.