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Poorest Travel Decision

About six and a half years ago, my then-fiancee Sally, her sons (ten and a half and twelve at the time) and I decided to drive from the Boston area, where we were living, to Washington, D.C. in order to attend the Summer Nationals (we are avid bridge players). As the hotel accepted pets, we brought with us our two-and-a-half-year-old toy fox terrier.

We made a couple of stops along the way -- basically bio-breaks for humans and canines alike. We even managed to inadvertently abandon the dog (no leash needed for this docile animal) at one of the rest stops. We had only traveled a half-exit down the road before we realized that we had left Speck (named after Pee-Wee Herman's dog in his Big Adventure movie) outside the restaurant. After recovering him, we continued on to the DC area without further incident (or so we thought).

There is a beltway that encircles Washington and the navigator (nobody can or wants to remember the culprit) missed a sign and we eventually ended up somewhere on the south side of the city, some 20 miles from where we wanted to be. We got out of the car at one of your typical greasy-spoon joints in order to reconnoiter. Back on the road again, we arrived at the hotel some 30 minutes later. We unloaded the car, checked in to our room and then realized that, again, Speck was not with us.

I departed the hotel with a friend (my now wife was too distraught) for the restaurant where we had last got our bearings. No sign of the dog. I went in and inquired if anyone had seen Speck. One of the counter help said they thought one of their regulars had taken the dog for safekeeping. I asked where he lived and was told that he was just down the road at some motel (it turns out that he and his wife were the proprietors). Just down the road turned out to be four miles.

We were able to find the place. The owner asked me if I was the owner of "Julian". This question absolutely floored me, as this was the name of our cat. It turns out that the motel owner had called the state of Massachusetts with Speck's rabies tag number and was informed that the pet to whom the tag belonged was named Julian. Thank goodness Speck recognized me.

We all had a good laugh as my friend and I left with our family's canine roommate. Sally routinely takes both pets simultaneously to the vet for their shots. Somehow I (or at least that's the way history will record it) had managed to switch the tags before installing them on their respective collars. Speck has recently celebrated his ninth birthday and is living with us in our new home. Julian is living with relatives on a farm in upstate New York and is much happier than being in the city.




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