I’m writing this on the balcony of an inexpensive “resort” in St. Pete Beach, Florida, which is about 15 minutes from our apartment. “Resort” is quite a stretch. It’s just a hotel with a small bar by the beach. No restaurants. No real amenities. There are lots of sweaty adults and happy (or whining) children down on the beach. The inexpensive cost is what attracted us and, when we’re at the beach, we have no interest in doing anything else but enjoying nature anyway.
The boys have excelled in their homeschooling classes this year and their tutor is on vacation in Georgia this week. So, the timing was right. We sent Coco the dog to our daughter’s house for the next 10 days but, for Rambo the cat, I had to break the rules. Rambo is a very good kitty who just likes to lounge around, and be rubbed and scratched. I have never, nor will I ever, “board” my pets. If they can’t stay with a loved one, they come with us. Why couldn’t Rambo go to Ali’s? Rambo is an indoor cat, and has been since he was a kitten. Ali has two doggie doors and she and her husband are at work five days a week. If Rambo figured out how to use the doggy doors, we might never see him again.
We have occasionally, when traveling and moving, been forced to bring our pets where they weren’t allowed. While I understand some places have rules for liability and maintenance reasons, and while I would never take a biting dog or a destructive cat to a non-pet-friendly place, Coco and Rambo are well-behaved and quiet, and they don’t have accidents. Nobody was available to keep an eye on Rambo so we had to bring him along. The resort does allow pets, but only on the first floor. We requested a pet-friendly room but there were no more available. They put us on the 6th floor.
Here’s the problem. Rambo does NOT like his kitty carrier. When we put him in it, he meows until we let him back out again. Trips to the vet are a cacophony of, “MEOW!!! MEOW!!! MEOW!!! MEOW!!! MEOW!!!” [“Let me the bleep out of this bleeping box!”] How were we going to smuggle him into the “resort?” I told Richard I’d start singing the Purina Meowmix jingle very loudly if Rambo started making noise. He rolled his eyes. He really didn’t think I could pull it off and his plan was to quickly walk away, and pretend not to know me if I got caught. I was pretty sure I COULD pull it off. I just needed a creative plan. So, I bet him $100 that I could successfully get Rambo from the car to the hotel room without one meow. He laughed, and enthusiastically agreed to the bet. We shook on it.
My elaborate plan began to take shape. We have a jumbo size container of catnip for refilling the tiny, stuffed mice that Rambo plays with. First, I’d steal one of Richard’s socks. (Hey, I was already knee deep in my felonious plans. What’s a small theft to add to the mix?) I’d fill the sock with a healthy dose of catnip because Rambo has quite an addiction going on with that. (We all have our vices…)
We have a large duffel bag that unzips on top. I pulled it out of the closet, and put it next to the kitty carrier. Would it fit? Yes, it would! So, I decided I’d put the kitty carrier into that, and leave it wide open on the top. That way, nobody could actually see the cat carrier and Rambo would have plenty of ventilation, and be able to see his surroundings.
The second part of my plan was to stay in the car with the children while waiting for Richard to check in. Once we knew where our room was, I’d figure out the stealthiest path to the door.
Rambo the Junkie was so involved in licking his large catnip sock that he paid no attention at all to being in the camouflaged kitty carrier. I had to walk past three large buildings, and even enter and exit an elevator, and angelic (I mean “high”) Rambo never made one peep!
In order to keep our smuggled furry family member on vacation with us, one of us stays with him in the hotel at all times. So, Richard and I split our time taking the children to the beach during the day. Max (age 15) would rather pull out his own fingernails than go out to dinner with his boring parents so we take Mason with us. We then send Max pictures of the menu, order what he wants, and bring it back to the hotel room. It works perfectly!
The next morning, Richard noticed one of his socks on the floor of the hotel room, round and fat on one end, and tied in a knot on the other. Chubby Rambo was snoozing sweetly next to it. Curious, Richard reached down to pick it up, and quickly dropped it when he realized it was soaked with Rambo’s saliva. His rumble of “GROSSSSSS!” woke us all up.
Now, on what should I spent my $100?!?! I’m thinkin’ it’s time for a new boogie board! And, I might swing by the pet store. Rambo’s running low on his stash.
Hugs to all!
Angela Hoy lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
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