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Chattanooga trip started
New Year off right


Terry Briggs Guest Columnist

  Since my husband had taken off from work until Jan. 6 and both our daughters were home from college for the holidays, we decided to do something out of the ordinary and take a trip to Chattanooga to celebrate the New Year.  

  We have three dogs and talked about boarding them, but that really traumatizes Bullet, the 50-pound pointer mix. It sends Mr. Bean, the 12-pound pug-dachshund, over the edge. We have only had Thor, the 30-pound American bulldog-mix since June, so he has never had to go to the “K” (We don’t even say the word “kennel” at our house.). Chances are good that Thor would see it as an extended playdate and love it. Bullet and Mr. Bean don’t think he’s too bright.

  I started looking at pet-friendly accommodations. I figured we could stay in a home and everyone be happy. The more I looked, the less I saw that would make everyone happy.  Plus, in many cases “pet-friendly” means your pet must be the size of a rodent. And, many places limit the number of pets you can bring. I started debating about taking Thor to the K and letting just Bullet and Mr. Bean go. They would be OK with that because it would mean more room in the car.

  Finally, I came across the Staybridge Suites in downtown Chattanooga and saw that it was pet-friendly. I called and got a nice young woman who answered all my questions and confirmed that the boys could go with us.

   So, we headed out on Jan. 2, with Bob and me in his truck, and Katie and Kristen and three four-legged boys on a blanket in the back of her Nissan Cube. (Katie will tell you that the only reason she has a Nissan Cube is that we let her choose her own car when she was 16. Most 16-year-olds should not be allowed to choose their cars.)

  It poured the entire trip, but started easing up when we got to Chattanooga. The temperature began falling, the wind began blowing. It became downright nippy.

  Our accommodations suited us perfectly. We were in a two-bedroom suite on the third floor. There was a nice fenced court yard with poop pick-up bags and receptacles. I saw some other great dogs, including a Boston terrier wearing a pink football jersey, a pair of Cocker spaniels, two mastiffs, and a black lab. It was wonderful to have our entire family together on a trip.

  Things went well until Bullet became deathly afraid of the elevator. We think it may have been the vibration. He would splay his legs and pull with all his might not to go in. Fifty pounds became 100 pounds of resistance. Once in, he would back toward the door. It was like his back end had a magnet that was drawn to the door. We decided that he would have to go out via the stairs.

  On Friday morning, I woke up around 5 a.m. It’s my internal alarm clock that goes off because Bob gets up at that time to go to work. I decided to take Bullet and Thor out. Mr. Bean is a prissy boy who likes to sleep in. He doesn’t go out before 10 a.m. We headed to the stairs, them tugging me like two Morgan horses pulling a share plow.

  Since it was so early, I decided to just throw on a jacket over my pajamas and put on my slippers. What I didn’t know is that the stairs led to the street—not the lobby. We came outside the building to an area where I was unfamiliar. It was freezing, and there was even snow on the ground! The parking area adjacent to the court yard was gated and I walked several laps before I finally found the lobby entrance, and Bullet and Thor charged through. It was surprising how many people were lounging in the lobby at 5:30 a.m. Bullet and Thor did their best to meet and greet each one of them.

  My husband likes to brag that he can be packed and ready to go in 30 minutes for any trip. Which explains why he has had to wear cowboy boots with his swim trunks, use a Lady Bic razor and swabbed on deodorant with a scent called Vavoom! Vanilla.

  This time was no different. Upon unpacking in our suite, he realized he had left his lounging pants and his flip-flops (for going to the indoor pool). I, on the other hand, had everything I needed. Of course, it takes me three days to pack for a two-day trip. I did blow it this time, though, when I realized I only had one of my flip-flops. I debated putting it on and hopping down to the pool. I opted for wearing my slippers instead.

  After two days in Chattanooga, we headed back down the hill and were glad to return to our own beds, yard, lounging pants, matched flip flops and not an elevator in sight.




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