Saturday, November 16, 2013

Goodbye, My Lady

The subject of this blog seems fitting considering it will be my final post - after today the blog will be archived and no updates will follow. Times change, things change, priorities change and my heart left this blog a long time ago. A quick thanks to all who read, followed, laughed, cried and raised their fists with me, and sometimes at me, along the way. It's been a labour of love, been stopped and started again and again, and finally I just have to let it go. Once updating became more labour than love I knew I had to quit. The blog will remain as a testament to my life with the dogs over the course of 6 years. It's been an adventure to say the least and I regret none of it, but now is the time to say our goodbyes. 

I know people are going to roll their eyes when they realize what my final post is about. It's been a blog about the dogs but they, strangely, are not the last subject. A lot of people don’t understand,and I have met very few who can relate to what I am about to eulogize. November 13, 2013 was the day I said my final goodbyes to an important part of my life.

My truck.

March 2008 - just before I brought it home

Some people have called it a just a hunk of metal; some say it’s “just” a truck and some look at me in total bafflement when I speak fondly about my White 2000 Ford Explorer. I am sad for them that they have never owned a vehicle they connected to on more than a "Point A to Point B" level. It didn't just get me from A to B, it always got me from A to B. The thought of replacing it brings me close to tears, like the thought of a friend dying. Call me sentimental but that vehicle has kept me and the dogs safe for over 100 thousand kilometres, a fact I don’t take lightly. I have had that truck almost as long as I have been posting this blog and that is no small thing. 

I got the Explorer in March of 2008, because I needed something that would fit the dogs and all their dog show junk and get me and all my possessions across Canada. I took some ribbing, a few people had a lot to say about the “Exploder” but I shrugged off the criticism and told the truck they were just jealous. It had been well maintained and there wasn’t much about it I didn’t like. I found out after I bought it that the only vehicle U-Haul would not allow to tow one of their trailers across Canada, or anywhere for that matter, was an Explorer, but it was a small glitch in the history of our time together.  

We have seen many adventures, not the least of which was a trip across Canada with 4 Ridgebacks, 3 cats and a trailer with all my worldly goods in tow. It took Halo to the vet with her litter of puppies for a c-section, rushed Cora to the emergency vet, has seen three litters loaded up and transported for their vaccinations, been to dog shows all over the map, been peed, pooped, vomited and bled in by a succession of dogs, travelled who knows how many times to the airport to drop off puppies, and safely delivered me to my destination through more snowstorms than I can count.

Winter 2011 - thank doG for 4WD 

In the last 5 years and 8 months, that truck and I have become friends. When you spend hours on the road together you can’t help but get to know each other. Sure, in the last couple years a few peripheral things have started to go, but nothing that would compromise my safety. I think it was just the truck telling me it was getting tired and perhaps it was time to retire. I always made a point of telling it how much I loved it – a few people said not to do that, it was a sure fire way to have a vehicle fail … telling it how good it was - but the truck and I both know when I told it I loved it, I meant it.  I believed what I was saying, I believed it would take care of me and in all the years we’ve been together, it has never once let me down.

It’s never stranded me, been in an accident, gotten a flat on the highway, needed major surgery, or failed me in any way. I replaced the standard parts like brakes and rotors, a battery and windshield but nothing ever required emergency service work.I was never concerned about anything going wrong because nothing ever did. I put that down to trusting it to take care of me because that was its job. It had one thing to do and it did it well.

Halo, Leeloo, Raimi and Archer plus 3 cats on our way to Nova Scotia

It protected me from all weathers, all drivers, and all situations that a person encounters while driving. We hit a deer once, no damage. A buck steps out into the road just 50 feet in front of me, we miss it (barely). We hit black ice on a bridge and slid into the other lane and it righted us just in time. There have been some tense moments in storms but with four wheel drive engaged we plowed on and made it safe to port.    

I will never own another vehicle as trustworthy and reliable as my Ford Explorer. It was, and will always be, the vehicle I never had a single bad thing to say about. Laugh if you will but that truck is my friend and to leave it sitting in the driveway while I step into a shiny new car with all the bells and whistles … well, it just breaks my heart. It never stopped giving , it still runs great, but it’s time.

Time to retire it from my service before there is a failure. Time to walk away being able to say my 2000 Explorer never let me down and doesn’t owe me a thing.  Time to say goodbye to a legend among trucks, hell, among vehicles.

 In the driveway, unregistered, uninsured, waiting for a new home