On My Own with Seven Dogs

Today has been a rather exciting day dog-wise.  You’d think that I’d be pretty used to handling seven all alone by now, but the fun of having so many is that there are always surprises in store! We left Kupres around noon so that I could make my way to Sarajevo without having to be rushed to get Travis tomorrow.  Okay, actually made these hotel reservations right when he left thinking that we could spend two days exploring when we got back.  Except I got the dates wrong, and booked for a night early.  When I tried to cancel or reschedule, they wouldn’t refund me, so I figured if I’m going to have to pay either way, I might as well use the reservation.  So here we are.

Getting here was something of a challenge though.  First, even though my six dogs have been travelling around in my Subaru Forester together forever, and basically living in it and the caravan for over four months now, it always seems to be a huge ordeal to get everyone to find a space.  I used to put the seats down so it was just one big space, but Wasi and Moomkin tend to get snarly over who fits where, and there’s really nothing fun about a fight between those two.  So instead, I keep the back seats up, and ideally, three go in the back, three in the trunk, and one up front (since we have an extra right now).  Like I said, we’ve been doing this forever.  But every single time, it turns in to a brawl of growling and nipping back there because no one can seem to find space (never mind that there is plenty of space if they would all just lay down where I put them).

Eventually, the mastiffs and Nefsi settled in the trunk, Syn, Wasi and Kova got the back, and the Little Man Raj managed to claim the front seat for himself.  Everyone settled and away we went… for about thirty minutes.  At that point, Nibble decided she didn’t like the trunk anymore (as she often does), and proceeded to spend the next fifteen minutes manoeuvring her way in to the back seat.  This is always an entertaining show to watch, since Nibble is neither graceful, nor subtle.  First she sticks her nose over the seat, casually, like she’s just getting some air from the cracked window.  Then one (undoubtedly filthy) paw will show up, and a few minutes later, the next.  Before you know it, her head has somehow come to rest beside the drivers seat headrest (always the drivers side), though the rest of her body is still in the trunk.  Eventually, she manages to scramble her back legs over the back seat and her whole body comes sliding in to your back.  Dignified she is not.

Mind you, while this is happening, Syn, Wasi and Kova are being unceremoniously shuffled farther and farther to the other side, where room is quickly becoming scarce.  Syn, being the boss, then proceeds to yell (there is no other word to describe Syn when she’s telling off another dog) at Wasi because he’s in her space, even though he doesn’t have any other place to go.  Wasi then tries to climb in to the front seat with Raj (our dog guard has been broken by Nibble and replaced too many times to count now, its a losing battle).  I’m of course screaming at Wasi to go back, Raj is lifting his lip in a very not friendly smile, and Syn is yelling every time Wasi tries to step back.  Surprisingly, Kova doesn’t seem to mind Nibble’s intrusion or all the chaos, and actually just climbs back over her to sit primly in the space left between Nibble’s bulk and the door.  She spends the entire ride happily gazing out the window, even though Nibble sits on her multiple times.  For the record, this does not happen when Travis is here because while he is driving, I can handle the dogs.

It takes a while, but everyone finally settles down, and we manage to make our way in to the city limits of Sarajevo without any more issues.  Of course, by that point we’ve been on the road for three hours, and Nibble is getting restless (anyone else noticing that Nibble is not the best traveller?  Yeah, when I got her, she pulled out all the weather stripping from my back door and ate the side airbags.  She also likes to pull all the control knobs off the centre console when she sleeps in the car so we can’t change the temperature settings… she’s a riot… not). Nibble decides its her turn in the front seat, while I am attempting to navigate Sarajevo’s tiny, narrow, hilly streets with a GPS that can’t reroute because I have no internet connection.  Picture this: Nibble has her head and paws basically at the hand break, I am elbowing her in the face to keep her from coming up any further and getting near my manual gear stick, Raj is growling warningly because she about to step all over him, I can’t see the GPS and miss two turns and then, my car just stalls out, as we are going down hill and I lose power steering.  It’s like a reality TV show sometimes, I swear.

We do eventually make it safely to a hotel.  We get to a stop light and I manage to shove Nibble back where she belongs and continue on our way.  We will try another dog guard, but I’ve never yet found one that can keep Nibble from going exactly where she wants to go.  It’s pouring here in Sarajevo and all I want to do is get the dogs all pottied and fed dinner so I can go inside and warm up again (I’m freezing because Nibble took the control knobs off again and I can’t change the temperature).  I manage to grab Wasi and Nefsi, and am trying to convince Moomkin to get back in the car and wait his turn when Kova makes a break for it.  She hasn’t got a leash on, and she has no recall.  Moomkin flatly refuses to get back in the car, Nefsi is wandering away towards the street, and Kova is god knows where.

After literally picking Moomkin up and throwing him bodily back in the car, I grab Nefsi and go chasing after Kova with him and Wasi.  The streets are all cobblestoned here, and I think I already mentioned that its pouring rain; the two combined mean that its like walking on ice.  Wasi is on his flat collar, which means I have basically no control, and Nefsi is perfectly happy to match Wasi’s stride.  That leaves me literally skiing along behind them, screaming for Kova who is ignoring me completely, and trying not to fall flat on my face.  Kova manages to avoid being run over twice (thank god for street dog smarts), and turns a corner where I almost run into a group of people who are laughing openly at me as I struggle to stay on my feet while Wasi and Nefsi run full throttle after a dog I am now equally openly cursing.  Just when I was starting to wonder if it was a lost cause, Kova decides she needs to poop… typical isn’t it?  We’ve run almost a mile straight downhill by then, and I’m panting and sweating while she is wagging her tail, having emptied her bowels and is now perfectly happy to accompany us back to the car.

I’m happy to report that I am now snuggled up in the hotel, all dogs having been pottied, fed, and settled until their final bedtime break.  Unfortunately, I’m also starving and there is no room service, or pizza delivery (which just seems wrong).  But the thought of having to handle driving around this city in the dark while seven dogs once again fight over space just is too much for me to handle.  I will never have been more excited to see anyone in my life then I will be tomorrow when Travis gets off that plane!

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I'm an animal lover, avid reader, permanent student, and enthusiastic traveler. I want to share the journey of taking my twelve pets with me and my cousin as we spend a year travelling through Europe. I know it won't always be easy, but it will always be interesting, and that's enough.

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