My First Road Trip


Welcome back. I hope you enjoy reading about my first road trip with my new parents. It has been a little over a year since I’ve been in my forever home, and everything is going great. I love my new parents even though they tend to gush over me sometimes.

In August, we left the Texas heat behind and I went on my first road trip. When my parents loaded me into my 4Runner, I expected to go to the park, maybe Starbuck’s, or lunch at an outdoor café, but something was different about this trip. They had spent a day packing my SUV, and that seemed odd. The last long drive I had been on was when Grandma Jane rescued me in Madisonville, Texas, and drove me to her home. I thought she planned to keep me, but four days later she put me in her SUV and drove me to my forever home.

Are we there yet?

Back to the road trip. I was getting worried when we rode for a really long time and it didn’t look like they planned to stop anywhere. Then I saw a sign for a town called Decatur. I had never been in this part of Texas and I felt a bit nervous, especially after they pulled into a rest stop. But my dad patted me on the head and my mom filled my water bowl, while I hopped out to sniff the freshly mowed grass and to leave a few scents of my own.

A short time later, I jumped back into the hatch of my 4Runner, and off we went to continue our journey—and a very long one it would be. I dozed as mile after mile of grasslands, cotton fields, and milo flitted past the windows. Along the way, we took a few more potty breaks, and every time they put me back in my 4Runner and we kept going. By now, I had come to the conclusion that they didn’t plan to leave me anywhere, so I was feeling pretty good when we filled our gas tank at Clines Corners and Mom sped up on US-285 toward Santa Fe.

Mom loves this stretch of highway, and I could see why. I sat up to take in the view—a sea of green dotted with cholla cacti, and on the horizon the landscape butted to an orange mesa, the flattop scraping a turquoise sky. No wonder Mom surrounds herself with coral-colored and teal-colored stuff. Must remind her of New Mexico. “It has been a wet winter,” said my dad, which was why the trees were so green.

Just beyond the subdivision of El Dorado, Mom jetted up the on-ramp to I-25, and we motored up the freeway to the St. Francis Drive exit. We cruised through Santa Fe, blew by the Opera House, and began our ascent toward Española, headed north on NM-68. Leaving Velarde, we entered a narrow canyon with a two-lane road—the mountains to our right and the fast-moving waters of the Rio Grande River to our left. “Good snows and rains this year,” said my dad.

“Horseshoe coming up,” Mom alerted us as we climbed and climbed, then dropped into a wide U-shaped canyon and almost immediately crested the rise for a breathtaking view of the Taos Plateau and the Rio Grande Gorge. I stuck my nose to the open window and sniffed the dry air. I wanted to hang my entire head out the window, but they wouldn’t let me. Ten minutes later, road weary and hungry for dinner, Mom parked in the garage and the unpacking began. But they fed me first.

Dusk fell, and soon darkness enveloped the house. In the distance, I heard a strange yelping. “Coyotes,” said Dad. But I was too tired to care, more interested in curling up on the sofa, and wondering what tomorrow would bring. More adventures, I hoped.

I was a big hit in Taos on my first visit. Almost every day, Mom and Dad took me to the plaza to walk around or to the local park. People of all ages stopped to pet or hug me, and I socialized with other dogs. I even ate at restaurants with Mom and Dad. Everyone commented on how well behaved I was, so I guess they were happy to have me there. They always gave me fresh water and treats. And when we showed up for a table at our favorite eatery, they made sure we had a big one, giving me plenty of room to stretch out without anyone stepping over me.I sure am looking forward to my next Taos visit.

Next time I post, and I’m not sure when that will be, I’ll write about my second road trip. But for now, we plan to take a break from posting and will be back soon with a new series starting with Pat’s Canadian rail-train trip. Sounds like fun, so watch for updates on her website and on Facebook and Twitter.



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Working Dog: Rise of the Riesenschnauzer

Photo courtesy of workingdog magazine. STL Joseph Garcia and one of his working dogs. STL stands for Special Team Leader.

When Pat designed our website, she said I could have my own blog. I did post a few articles, but being Darcy’s canine sidekick is a full-time job. And life is about to become really hectic as Pat, Darcy, and I embark on a new adventure in CLON-X—book four in the Darcy McClain and Bullet Thriller Series. I’m still trying to catch my breath from Genocide, and here we are—off again.

I’m writing today’s post to dispel the idea that I’m starring in a cozy mystery series. Some prospective readers thought, “Dog on the cover—cozy.” I love a good cozy, but the only time I’m cozy is at night when I want to hog the bed or if I need attention. Then I’ll cozy on up to you. That said, when you think GIANT schnauzer, think WORKING DOG!

Most breeds were created for the express purpose of performing a specific task, which means canines are designed to have jobs, even if that job is cuddling! Since I’m a rescue and Darcy isn’t that familiar with me yet, she has no idea how talented I truly am. Only Paco, my former owner, knew I had the ability to become a great detection dog given the right handler. In CLON-X, Darcy’s best friend Sam, who has some experience in scent detection, will take my skills to the next level, helping Darcy to realize just how smart I can be…with the right handler.

I thought about doing other tasks such as service or assistance work, but I’m not patient enough. And can you imagine a giant as a guide dog? I could excel at herding, agility, or even water rescue, but I ruled them out along with being a show dog. My real interest lies in detection. Training for search and rescue piqued my interest, and I can certainly imagine myself tracking a missing person—picking up a human scent, sniffing the air as well as the ground, following the person through the wilderness, braving hazardous weather, swimming through debris-infested water… Sorry, I digress. With my keen sense of smell, I can definitely see myself as a detection dog, especially a cadaver detection dog.

So while Pat and Darcy work on plot points, I’m dividing my time between reading workingdog magazine and watching videos of STL Joseph Garcia train his Riesenschnauzers. Rise of the Riesenschnauzer. Love it. Check out this link to see what real working dogs look like: https://www.facebook.com/STL-Joseph-Garcia-393921155117/

These days, my favorite motto is: Throw me to the wolves and I’ll come back leading the pack—Sinead Imbaro:  https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/detection-dog-magnus-achieves-search-and-rescue-recognition/

Now that I’ve explained what a working dog is, let’s tackle BBD. Black dog syndrome, or big black dog syndrome, is a disputed phenomenon in which black dogs are typically passed over by adopters in favor of lighter-colored animals. I’ll tackle BBD in a lighthearted way in next week’s post via a guest spot by Emily Bruer.



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