Forest fire evacuation through the eyes of a Doberman.
|"Forest fire! You have ten minutest to evacuate!" Some guy yells from a pickup in the driveway. You cannot believe the consternation this causes Mom and Dad. The three of us were lounging on the deck after a lovely dinner, (they had steak, I had IAMS for old dogs) enjoying the sunset. Chairs flew, doors opened, suitcases came out and Mom and Dad behaved like something serious was happening.
I, being the gentle, cinnamon doberman I am, stand and watched the activity through the sliding glass door. They don't move this fast when I threaten to barf on the carpet. Mom is in the file cabinet, throwing stuff into boxes. Dad is in the back closet getting wine. Dad obviously has his priorities.
"Where did we put the silver?" Mom yells. "I think it's under the guest bed," Dad called back. "No, wait," he hesistates. "It's in the downstairs closet under the stairs."
Mom is struggling downstairs with files; Dad is struggling out of the back room with wine and they all but crash at the front door. "Which car?" Mom asked.
"Doesn't matter." Dad is out the door, Mom hot on his heels.
I sit on my haunches; looks like this could be interesting.
Clothes come out in armloads. Picture albums, underwear, computer, more wine. I'm now laying down on the deck. They've lost it. Maybe they should try the IAMS for older dogs; keeps you calm.
"Gigi! Move! Load up!" I practically levitate to my feet and scramble down the front porch steps. A ride in the car! Wow! And I thought this was just an exercise in moving things. I jump in the Montero and find myself facing boxes, grocery bags and a stack of CDs. I look out the window.
Mom is getting in the Honda. The windows are stuffed with clothes and there is barely room for her. "Oh my God," she cries. "Gigi's food!" She dashes back in the house and gets my big green bag of dog food, sits with it in her lap, shuts the door and backs out of the driveway.
Now, you should know, when the big green bag of dog food goes, we are GOING somewhere. This is a vacation, a trip to Florida, possibly Colorado! I draw nose art all over the back window of the Montero in anticipation.
The two cars send gravel out behind them and we rip the two miles down to the highway. Right or left? I can hardly wait. We cross the highway. Cross the highway? There is nothing but the resort and ski area across the highway. I woof at Dad to tell him; he ignores me and waves me back. "Not now, Gigi."
No now. Well, if not now, when? I try again. "Gigi! Stop it!" I retreat to the back. I see the parking lot coming into view. Well, it's not a bad place, I decide. They have trails and it is summer. Maybe a walk?
"Gigi, stay." So much for the walk. I look out and there are dogs all around; I bark in greeting. Mom pulls up and she and Dad go somewhere. A few minutes later, they return and open the back door. "C'mon Gigi."
"Oh, honey," Mom is distraught. "I forgot her leash."
Leash? Me on a leash? Please! "Gigi, heal," she says. Like I have to be told. We walk into the front lobby of the resort hotel. This is rather exceptional, I should mention. The hotel does not allow pets. But they do today as there are dogs, birds and yes, cats. I follow Mom and Dad to a room. My bed is apparently not a priority, so I snuggle in a corner as Mom is blathering on about insurance and what she forgot and Dad is trying to calm her down.
Three glasses of wine later, she is approaching the Mom I know and love. The three of us go to the parking lot where a large cloud is forming on top of the mountain across the valley. Orange spots can occasionally be seen. Mom cuddles into Dad's arm and I lean in on the other side to give him support. I visit with new dogs I've never met before, then we go inside again. The bag of IAMS is in the corner and I hint this might be a good idea.
"Oh God, I forgot her bowl!" Mom sits on the bed and puts her face in her hands.
"C'mon honey, you can't think of everything." Dad studies the bathroom. He decides the tray holding the coffee pot will make a fine bowl and, well, the coffee pot make a fine water dish.
The next morning we get in the Montero and drive, are you ready? To the highway. I thought we were going home and I was ready for this vacation to be over because Mom and Dad are just not themselves. But we turn right. This is the first of three days of turning right. To the right is the fire station where people called the Fire Chief and the Mayor talk. Nearby, helicopters come and go with big numbers on the side, like 4, 7, and 13. Reporters with microphones are all over the place. One comes up to Dad and asks "Do you want to go home?" Dad just looks at him. I thought a simple "yes" would do, so I bark.
Once, a humongous orange helicopter with a long snout hanging down flew over. Dad said they were carrying water out of the lake. Sounded pretty unlikely to me, but this whole thing was pretty unlikely.
After three days, people are excited. "We get to go home!" We drive the whole two miles back across the valley to our house. It looks just fine, until Mom opens the front door. Do not, I repeat, do not, forget to take the garbage when you are evacuated. Especially if you've had canteloupe.