Sam went to a sleepover the other night.
It was far more nerve-wracking for her owners.
My wife and I were heading out to the Galena, Illinois area—a three-hour drive from our home in suburban Chicago—for a friend’s hog roast. We had plans to stay over one night. It would have been too much to take Sam along. The friends have a farm. There are cats, chickens, and goats. You can imagine.
Knowing our plans, a family member jumped at the chance to take Sam for the night. A doggie sleepover. We knew it would be good for Sam. She’d be walked, most likely several times. She’d play with another dog at some point in the 24-hour stay. Socializing is good. A perfect little vacation.
The morning before leaving for Galena, my wife drove Sam to her overnight destination, feeling like the mom delivering her daughter to her first sleepover.
Is she going to be okay? Will I get a call at midnight to come get a crying little girl?
Sam stuck her head out the car window, allowing the wind to remind her of how lucky she has it.
Sam’s leash was attached and packed away in a tote bag were her sleeping blanket, her treats, her chew bone, her brush, and her food. The handover went smoothly. My wife knew Sam was in good hands. Still, it was like dropping your little girl off at camp.
Many hours passed. We arrived at the hog roast. Ate pork and beans, and drank a few beers. Then later that evening came the photo and text:
Walked. Peed, Pooped. Chillin’ and she just dropped the ball at my feet.
And would you look at that? Content as content can be.
What little trepidation Sam’s owners had been carrying with them most of the day was now fading fast. Just like our own children, Sam was strong enough and assured enough to find her own way, to adapt and settle in to a new experience. She would be a better dog for it.
Her owners would be better for it, too.
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Walks with Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening will be published in August 2020 by John Hunt Publishing, UK.