As we approach Thistle we hear a rumbling noise. It's a throaty, growling, roaring type of sound emerging from within as we slide the door open. Wiggles, twists, rubs and a mouth full of toy greet us. The tail wags violently throwing the entirety of pup Benton into twisting circular merry-go-round cute. We laugh. "We're home!" we say laughingly. Benton circles each of us with his enthusiastic I-though-I'd-never-see-you-again greeting.
Travelling in Thistle has led to a special kind of communication. Often it's an unspoken kind of language. When one of us changes location, we all adjust. Benton jumps into action first as he scrambles for cover, especially when Mr. Ed is on the move. His eyes look slightly frantic, his ears back and down, as he tries to avoid being stepped on. There is no safe haven and his unease is palpable. Finally he settles again on the bench seat next to me, curling into the smallest ball he can turn himself into. Feet and nose tucked in tightly, out of danger.
On other occasions he turns into a gleeful helper, like the morning dressing-of-Fran. This help, played out in the tiny 3x3 galley, has become a morning ritual of dog and woman giggling, clothes flying. "Oops" throws Benton into mad crazy action as he grabs my socks from the floor handing them to me with gleeful wiggles. Nothing on the floor is safe. Benton hands me anything he can find -- Mr. Ed's shoes, the dish towel, his leash.
The highlight of a traveling dog's day is escaping the vehicle. Sniffing. Running. Swimming. Chasing. Peeing. Ears back, happy grin, tail-spinning pleasure. Fun begins with the leash and then gets much better with no leash.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
~ Will Rogers