Chapter 23 
(July 2018):

Róisín's Savoir Vivre

Suitcases came down from the attic. Mummy and Daddy started making piles of things to pack. Finally my brush and comb went into my duffle bag. Would I be going with them or to the kennel? I wasn’t sure until Daddy said the magic words: “Are you coming along?” Am I ever! Zap! And into the car I hopped.

The first two days were mostly driving, me in my car crate on the folded down back seats to make room for luggage. We had a couple of piddle stops and I always do it on command. The second evening we were in Amboise on the Loire River in France, where we slept in a real honest-to-goodness cave for a week. It was damp and cool but they brought my blanket in from the car for me to sleep on instead of the stone floor. Mummy and I slept like rocks in our rocky den. Our rental house was built up against this cave and the latter was accessed from the living-dining room via a little walled-in courtyard, where we ate their meals. Aunt Uschi and Uncle Gregor joined us, coming 10 minutes by e-bike from their campsite on a Loire island below the town. We spent the days checking out Loire castles and cooked together in the evening. I was always along except for one museum 100 yards up the street from our house, where I stayed alone for two hours for the first time in my travels. Otherwise they took turns holding my leash while the other couple went inside a castle. I’m glad I have a godmother!

One day Daddy and Mummy took me to the River Loire in town and let me off the leash on the shore with a crystal-clear backwater,where there was no current.

I had a fabulous time, galloping around in the water, which never went above my belly, the red line which I don’t voluntarily cross. Next time they brought my frisbee, which I promptly killed. Mummy bought me a French one. I killed that one, too. I always fetch it and mostly bring it back, but when it lands face up on the sand, I have to pounce on it to pick it up. Crack! Somebody has to invent a Frisbee that always lands upside down so that I can grab the rim. The last day I got my foot caught in the crack I had made in the Frisbee and it hurt! Now I don’t like that toy even though Daddy repaired it.

After a week on the Loire, we moved to Britanny. This was a stone house with a yard I shared with two dogs from Dortmund in the adjoining house. It was complete with a modern kitchen (as was the one on the Loire) with washer and dryer, meaning that my towels from bathing me in the ground-floor shower would be fresh and dry for reuse the next day. L  

Daddy drove us along the north coast of a peninsula and the first two beaches had signs: no dogs. But the third was free of all restrictions and down we went. It was paradise: sand, shallow crystal-clear water to frolic in (I even went in two inches above my belly!) small waves and some rocks to climb on! My agility trainer Annika should have seen me!

We did the markets and I showed my best obedience behavior, cool as a cucumber and stepping gently beside my mummy. We got stopped by so many people who wanted to admire me or ask the breed. Waitresses brought water for me immediately.

They found another place for me to get in the water in the harbor right next to the fish market, which gave me even more chances to paddle around, the fish market being their daily haunt. I loved the rocks and Daddy held his breath while I ran around on them like a mountain goat, doing the long jump from one to another. Mummy held her breath when I found an L-shaped stone wall sticking out of the water like the dog walk in agility and ran along it to say hello to some humans. Annika should have seen me!

Our three weeks together were over and we drove home for two days. As always, I was an angel in my car crate. I make up for my car-maniac predecessor. Back home it was time to get ready for more Rally and agility trials and celebrate Mummy and Daddy’s anniversary at a restaurant, for which we took a train and a bus to Bremen, which I hadn’t done since my puppy socialization. Summer is a busy time.

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