Allie and I were headed to our training class in Hagerstown two days ago, motoring along on I-270, when suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard a tremendous ear-rattling crash that was way too close for comfort. The vehicle behind me had hit my car hard: hard enough to shatter one of the plastic clasps of Allie's seat belt and send her from the back seat to the floor, hard enough to send my car into the rear end of the car in front of me. Apparently the driver behind me was not paying attention to his driving. Instead, according to one witness, he was looking at someone changing a tire on the left shoulder of the interstate. The result is that not-so-nice picture.
Fortunately, Allie and I are both okay. I've got mild whiplash, which is being treated with prescription ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant. Allie seems fine physically, but is sticking closer to me than usual. And she's not at all interested in getting into a car again, thank you very much. I'd like to change that, obviously. So I'm using a clicker and high-value treats to try and convince her to give motoring another go. But it'll take a long time to get her there, I think.
Meanwhile, my former vehicle, known affectionately as The Allie Car, has been written up as a total loss. I've turned the title over to the insurance company (hence, the "former" characterization) and given the tags to Virginia's DMV. I should get a check in the next day or so, at which point I'll go out and get Allie Car Number Two.
As for Allie's broken seatbelt, I'm taking the advice of someone who wrote a product review of canine seat belts, and plan to invest in this clasp-less number.
A couple of people have commented to me that I've had an awful year so far -- what with brain surgery in February and now a car that's been totaled due to someone else's negligence. I can see why people would see my year that way. But I choose to see it differently: that these events have happened, yes, but I am still here. I'm not only surviving but thriving -- still -- and Allie's been right here with me.
Update, 6/26: Several people told me that the picture of my car didn't show up on the blog, so I've removed it. Probably just as well that it didn't show because, as my brother said, "my imagination already took care of it."
In better news, though, I bought a new car last night. Now I need to try to get Allie to like it as much as I do!
One of my pet peeves (pun fully intended) regarding writing about dogs and other companion animals is the insistence by many editors that any animal be referred to as "it" unless the name of the animal -- and thus, supposedly the gender, is known. As I explain in all my For Dummies books, any animal, even those who are surgically altered so that they cannot reproduce, is of one gender or another and deserves the dignity of being referred to as such. That said, I realize that any editor I write for is my client and, if I fail to convince said editor to make an exception to the animal-is-an-it dictum, I do what I'm told.
But this item in The Washington Post's June 11 "Animal Watch" column, which reports local incidences of lost, stray or otherwise errant animals, on June 11 really turned that dictum on its head:
"A person found a stray female Labrador retriever and took it to the police station. There were no identifying tags on the dog. It was taken to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter to await retrieval by its owner."
ATTENTION WA-PO EDITOR: DOESN'T THE FIRST SENTENCE IN THE ABOVE ACCOUNT SAY THE DOG IS FEMALE? SO WE KNOW WHAT THE DOG'S GENDER IS, YES? WHY, THEN, DOES THE REST OF THE ACCOUNT REFER TO THE DOG AS "IT"?
Air conditioning update: Three leaks in the brand new compressor were found and fixed, but a new leak occurred 10 days later -- this time on the inside coil. That is supposed to be fixed next week to the tune of $500. Meanwhile, we're getting freon hits as needed. So, at least for the present, everything's cool.
Allie update: Allie is great. She totally rocked the training class in which this training apprentice is supposed to gain and practice dog handling skills. Way to help me set myself up for success, girlfriend!
Family update: Dear daughter is home from college for the summer. Parents are thrilled. So is big blonde dog.
No, this is not a picture of me. This smiling face belongs to Allie, the eight-year-old Golden Retriever for whom this blog is named. I'm an award-winning writer who specializes in companion animal topics, especially those pertaining to dogs. In addition to my writing for periodicals, I've also written six books about dog care, including the best-selling Housetraining For Dummies. On this blog, I'll explore various aspects of living with dogs and writing about them -- with occasional detours into totally unrelated topics (because I can!). Enjoy!