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Tag: encounters

Roadside Encounters: Betty

Name: Betty

Breed: Boston terrier

Age: 14 years

Encountered: At Heart of Gold, a jewelry store in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Backstory: Ace and I were sitting outside a coffee shop when suddenly I felt my seat start moving. I’d looped Ace’s leash over the back of my chair, and he moved it a full inch before I turned around to see what he was trying to get to.

It was a Boston terrier. She did her business in the pine needles and disappeared as quickly as she had appeared.

Ace whimpered, insisting, it seemed, that we go find her. He pulled me into Heart of Gold, where the owner was packing up — going out of business after nine months.

Despite the situation, she was happy to talk about her greying old dog, Betty, who comes to work with her every day.

She got Betty as a pup in Florida, part of a litter sired by a pedigreed Boston terrier who went by the name Willie B. Cute.

Betty’s owner, who’s moving to Texas after the shop gets packed up,  happily agreed to me taking Betty’s picture, but — not wanting to be in any pictures herself — handed the dog off to her employee.

The result was a photo that captured — if I do say so myself — both the quiet dignity of old age and the joyful energy of youth.

After our quick photo session, Betty, who’s going deaf, was returned to the floor, where she immediately began scooting her butt across the carpet. She was scolded only mildly and continued scooting. That’s one of the things that comes with the dignity of old age — when you have an itch, you scratch it.

(Roadside Encounters are a regular feature of Travels with Ace. To see them all, click here.)

Roadside Encounters: Underdog

Name: Underdog

Breed: German shepherd

Age: 3

Encountered: On I-40, then at a liquor store parking lot in Maumelle, Arkansas.

Backstory: When a pickup truck was passing me on Interstate 40 in Arkansas, I did that quick little sideways look we all do — or at least I do. I’m not sure why I do that. Is it to see if it, against all odds, it might be someone I know? Is it in hopes of making a love connection, or at least some eye contact to break up the interstate monotony? Maybe it’s just to check and see if that person is giving me the sideways look.

In this case, the eyes that looked back at me were those of a German shepherd, sitting in the passenger seat. When the pickup he was in pulled off at the next exit, I followed, all the way to a liquor store, where, in the parking lot, I parked alongside it and asked the driver if I could take a picture of his dog.

Underdog’s owner, who appeared to be on a run to secure some New Year’s Eve essentials, runs his own company, called, according to the side of the trailer his truck pulled, Leaf Removal & More. He used to live in Little Rock, but recently moved to nearby Conway.

“I got me a house by the lake,” he said. “I’m happy there.”

Happy New Year to Underdog, and all underdogs everywhere.

To see all of our Roadside Encounters, click here.

Roadside encounters: Buddy and Peggy Sue

 

Names: Buddy Holly (named after the performer) and Peggy Sue (the fawn-colored one, named after Holly’s hit song)

Breed: Pugs

Ages: Buddy is 3; pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty Peggy Sue is 4

Encountered: At what’s billed as the largest free-standing cross in America, located near Interstate 40 in Groom, Texas.

Backstory: The two pugs, and the couple who owns them, were headed home to Hobart, Oklahoma after a Christmas visit to Arizona.

The owners of the pampered pugs planned a stop at the cross, which is 19 stories tall and, in the flatlands of the Texas panhandle, visible from 20 miles away.

They were big fans of God, Buddy Holly, pugs and, judging from their racing jackets, NASCAR.

Buddy Holly and Peggy Sue enjoyed a long potty stop on the periphery of the property, then jumped back in the car while their owners went to see the church and gift shop.

To see all our Roadside Encounters, click here.

Roadside Encounters: Charlie

Name: Charlie

Breed: Saint Bernard

Age: 4

Encountered: At a rest area in western Montana, just a couple of miles before the Idaho state line.

Backstory: Charlie, a female with a sweet disposition, was headed back home to Seattle from a road trip to Wisconsin. She lumbered out of the car to meet Ace, but Ace was more interested in the treats her owner — a former Baltimore resident — had in her pocket. Ace and Charlie stared at each other, sniffed, and munched some more treats together before doing their business and climbing back into their respective cars and rolling through Idaho.

Dockside Encounter

Name: Finley

Breed: Landseer Newfoundland

Age: 19 months

Encountered: Along the pier in Provincetown, Mass.

Backstory: We ran into Finley (and a couple of hundred other dogs) during our weekend in Provincetown. He was lounging on the pier, sitting with his owner next to one of many artist kiosk’s that, along with whale watching charters, line the dock. Finley’s owner says, like most Newfoundlands, Finley loves the water — whether he’s playing in the surf, swimming or on a boat. Finley — lucky dog — lives in Provincetown year-round.

(To see all of our Roadside Encounters, visit “Travels with Ace.”)

Campsite Encounter: Duke and Truman

Names: Truman and Duke

Breeds:  Duke’s a black German shepherd, Truman’s a Rottweiler mix

Ages: Duke is going on 9, Truman’s 3

Encountered: At the Dunes’ Edge Campground in Provincetown, Mass.

Backstory: A woman named Eileen from Tennessee pulled into the campsite adjoining mine in a cute little Coach House motorhome — just like the one I’ve been coveting. I stepped out of my tent, put my RVNV aside and went over to meet the two dogs traveling with her. Truman’s a bundle of energy, Duke (named after the school that Eileen attended) a bit more mature. Both were as friendly as they can be. Eileen was, too, offering me some of the chocolate tart she picked up at a bakery down the road. She bought the motorhome and started traveling after the death of her husband. She was gradually making her way back home to Seiverville, Tenn., after a trip to Canada and other points.

Roadside Encounters: Gotti

Name: Gotti

Breed: I’m not sure … Maltese, maybe?

Named After: John Gotti, the organized crime boss

Encountered: Riverside Park in Baltimore.

Backstory: It had been a while since I’d seen Gotti, who I used to regularly encounter at the park. The other dogs below, to Gotti’s right, are not members of his crime family. They do seem to be whispering something in Gotti’s ear, though. Maybe they’re his lawyers.

(Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)

Roadside Encounters: Gus and Pete

Names: Gus and Pete

Breed: Bouvier des Flandres

Encountered: At a jazz concert in Baltimore’s Riverside Park over the weekend

Backstory: Gus and Pete are father and son and live with their owners in Dundalk. Sunday night, they made the trip to the city, where – despite the heat and their heavy coats — both seemed happy to sit in the shade and listen to some jazz.

(Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.)

Roadside Encounters: Rocky

Name: Rocky

Age: 6

Breed: Rottweiler-beagle mix

Encountered: At a Motel 6 across from the Richmond airport

Backstory: Rocky has been a guest at this Motel 6 — for two years. He lives in a second floor room with his owners, a painter named Dave and his daughter Jessie. At $33 a night, and an even lower rate when you pay by the week, it works out about the same as rent, Dave says. Besides, he adds, “I like motels.”

Rocky can be seen wandering various parts of the property on his own, and every morning when he’s let out of the room, he goes directly to the motel office for a treat.

We encountered him a few times during our stay, and he got along great with Ace. Both times we saw him, Rocky went into a play stance, leading Ace to chase him around the parking lot.

Dave, a lifelong resident of Richmond, says Rocky has bitten a couple of people, but only when provoked. He’s a sweet and friendly dog — “unless you try to get in my van.”

(Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing the country.)

Roadside Encounters: Raj and Hug

Names: Raj and Hug

Age: Hug (the dog) is three.

Breed: Hug is a Rottweiller-German shepherd mix.

Encountered: In a trailer park in Norfolk, Virginia.

Backstory: I was taking Ace for his after dinner walk, when — as we passed through a parking lot, behind a mobile home park — a car slowly pulled up alongside us.

“He looks just like my dog,” the driver, speaking in a thick Indian accent, said. “He lives right over there,” he added, pointing at a mobile home that backed up to the parking lot.

He introduced himself as Raj, and we talked for five minutes as he petted Ace, who’d stuck his nose through the open car window.

After Raj pulled away, I circled the block, and walked back along busy Military Highway, headed  to my Motel 6. From out of nowhere, Raj pulled up alongside me again, this time with his daughter in the passenger seat. He stopped his car in the traffic so she could meet Ace, through the window, as well. Then he insisted I come see his dog.

“I’ll meet you there in two minutes,” he said as a long line of cars backed up behind him.

I went back to my room, grabbed my camera and returned to the mobile home park. As Ace and I walked up to his home, Hug came out, pulling the slightly built Raj behind him.

Ace and Hug hit it off fine. And they are remarkably similar in appearance — same eyes, same ears, same curly tail.

They both enjoyed some water and treats, supplied by Raj’s wife. She works at a nearby McDonalds. Raj, who moved to the U.S. 30 years ago from New Delhi, used to work at a McDonalds and drove a limousine until he got sick. He can’t work anymore, his wife explained.

Raj and his family adopted Hug from a local shelter about two years ago. Raj says he has always had dogs and can’t imagine life without one. He shook hands with Ace before we left and gave him a prolonged hug.

“I love dogs too much,” he said. “Yes, I love dogs too much.”

Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America.