This past October, we visited our son, Colin, and his family (Molly and Miles) in the Washington, D.C. area. Our grandson’s first birthday provided the opportunity, and off we went. Though we usually impose on them in their house, this trip was different. Molly’s parents drove up from Texas for the party and had dibs on the spare bedroom. Up until now, our Black and Tan, Easy, stayed with friends when we traveled. This time, we grabbed the chance to expand Easy’s horizons to include hotel life in the “big city.”
I looked and we were in the 3-4 star hotel category. Gloom filled the air. Then I found the Kimpton Helix hotel. A few short blocks from Dupont Circle (pix can be downloaded here) and 200 yards from Logan Circle, the 3-star hotel was in the middle of shops, attractions and dining and a mere 5 miles from my son’s house. The gloom thickened as I imagined the cost. I called anyway and the cheerful reservation person quickly ascertained my eligibility for discounts, offering a rate competitive with the pet-loaded rates at the other hotels. OK, now what can go wrong? Oh, yeah, the dog. I asked about bringing Easy. She said, “How big is he?” Expecting a fee adder, I sighed and said, “About 75-80 pounds.” Her response, “Oh, he’ll need a big bed. Does he want his own bowls?” What? He’s welcome! You’ll provide a bed and bowls? What’s his favorite treat? You’ve never taken reservations for a coonhound before and you’re excited! Free wine every evening? Okay, we’ll be there.
So now, the trip begins in earnest. Easy is in the back of the Subaroooooo and we are off. Only, he thinks we are going to nearby Otsiningo Park to tree squirrels and begins baying as we leave the driveway. Thirty miles later, he realizes his error and we now know why they have hound boxes in THE BACK of pickup trucks. The next 3 hours go by uneventfully and we pause at a Pennsylvania rest stop for a picnic lunch. Not just A rest stop, but THE BEST rest stop EVER. Why, you ask? Because the rest stop attendants have been feeding the squirrels around the trees in the dog walking area!!!! Hooray!!!!! Anyway, this recreational interlude gets even better when a second hound shows up to join the chorus. Back in the car and time for a nap.
Frankie and Easy
Now, it is late and time for the hotel…we arrive, 15 hours into our day and looking a bit bedraggled. We are met with an on-going full-blown party and a moment of wondering, “What happens next?” A hearty greeting and a pat for Easy and now, we face navigating the crowd and ….. an elevator. Luckily, for the uninitiated, a B&T coonhound looks enough like a Rottweiler that navigating the crowd quickly resolves itself. This would also prove true when walking the city streets. People respect your personal space when part of it is occupied by a serious dog. Back to the elevator.
Easy does not like new surfaces or wiggly floors. The vet’s moving table and scale are not popular places. Anyway, the elevator opens and two people get in, not realizing we are getting on, too. They look nervous and Easy freezes. Undeterred, I tug and Candy scoops and he is in. This was his one and only problem with the elevator. All further trips went without a hitch, although I can only imagine what went through his mind. “OK. There was this party and these people and we got into the little room and then the door closed and then it opened and they were gone and then we went to bed and got into the little room and the door closed and it opened and different people were there.” (I imagine Easy thinks in run-on sentences.)
A quick call and Easy’s very comfy bed and bowls show up at the (very nice) room and our first night begins. No issues except that he stares at the dog in the floor to ceiling mirrors and tries to look behind them.
The next morning at 7, it is time for the a.m. walk. We travel up to Logan Circle and quickly accomplish the mission… and discover that the circle and its trees are loaded with squirrels in desperate need of a fitness program. The new regime is announced with great gusto and much fanfare. Unfortunately, the ceremonies serve to wake those unfortunates who spend the night sleeping at the circle. There is much grumbling and rustling of plastic. I feel bad about this and resolve to avoid repeating it the next day, if possible. Their lives are difficult enough (pic can be downloaded here).
Breakfast outdoors at Caribou Coffee is another new experience for Mr. E. Coonhound. Still exhibiting exemplary behavior, he sits under the table and examines the passing parade with great interest. Different smells from different cultures, different vehicles and different foods all provide the same amusement as a morning paper … Until he discovers pigeons. They act like squirrels, make squirrel noises, flutter about and are annoying. A surprise bawl sets things aright and gives the other patrons something to remember.