Persnickety: Adj. 1. Placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy 2. Requiring a particularly precise or careful approach
Traveling with RoofTop Chalie takes a bit of preparation and planning. A retired racing greyhound, Chalie still craves the type of strict schedule that was the norm at the racetrack. And at home, we fill that need on a day-to-day basis with set times for eating, toileting, and sleeping. But when we travel, things do have to change….at least a little bit. But RoofTop Chalie wants certain things to stay the same. He is …..persnickety.
And when his schedule does gets off-kilter, like when he travels with us…..Chalie begins to channel The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper. Sheldon’s character desires a set routine to the point of being obsessive. His character is meant to be comedic, though, and we laugh when he insists on sitting in the same seat every night, or when he has his roommate sign a lengthy “roommate agreement” that goes so far as to specify that they will eat pizza every Thursdays, from a particular pizza joint, and that on Friday evenings, they will watch the television show FireFly together. Sheldon wants things “just-so,” and he makes sure that this happens for him…..contractually.
On our recent vacation to Maine, RoofTop Chalie’s travel woes began before we even left. Chalie watched with dismay as Joe disassembled his crate. The crate is normallly a fixture in our bedroom and Chalie spends most days there while we work, and sleeps there at night, and even retreats there when he is upset by thunder or fireworks. In short, his crate is his safe haven. And while Joe disassembled it, Chalie’s face looked like that of a man who was watching a wrecking ball crush his family home.
“Don’t worry, buddy, Joe said to him. “We’re taking all your stuff with us. You’ll be fine.”
Ten minutes later, after we all rushed around and packed the car, one of the kids asked about Chalie’s whereabouts.
We found him in the bedroom, standing stock still in the space where his crate once stood. “C’mon Chalie, let’s go,” someone said to him enthusiastically. But his posture said it all. Chalie wasn’t planning on going anywhere. He was staying right where he was…..waiting for us to follow our normal routine and to close him in his crate……..his invisible crate.
Traveling with greyhounds can be a challenging experience. Chalie can be anxious and moody when he feels uncomfortable or unsure and we have to take extra steps to be sure he feels reassured.
But traveling with a greyhound can also be a wonderful. Greyhounds are naturally curious and they are loyal dogs who want to be with their special people. And in spite of protests, they are in fact, extremely adaptable. After all, every rescued greyhound adapted from a purposed life of racing at a track to the world of being a part of a family.
When Chalie, our persnickety traveler, feels safe and he knows we are taking care of the IMPORTANT details, he can relax and be the curious vacationer that he wants to be. He relies on us to make things “just-so” for him and we do our best to comply. And luckily, he has no opposable thumbs, so he hasn’t insisted on a written contract…..at least not yet!