Oreo’s traveling days are over

So we all come to that sad day when we have to say goodbye. As good dog parents, we have to make the tough call to not be selfish in order to spare our beloved pets from further suffering. That day has come for my sweet Oreo, and I’m strengthened by the community I found here at Tripawds.

I found some fist-sized tumors on her neck the other week when I gave her a bath, which explains the wheezing (in my state of denial I was sure it was pollen, or her collar, or her harness). A few days after that she had trouble squatting to poo, so just started going laying down. She hasn’t been eating much, didn’t want to go swimming the other day (huge red flag), and this morning groaned long and hard when we tried to help her up. I thought she might have had a mini-stroke or seizure or something; it was a sound she’s never made before.

I contacted my sister’s veterinarian to see if we can help Oreo cross the Rainbow Bridge this weekend, before she suffers any more.

I got a new phone and haven’t figured out how to post pictures yet, but honestly, she’s not looking too good anyway. Here’s one from better days, when I would sing to her to the tune of the Chipmunks’ Christmas song “Christmas Don’t Be Late,” “You…are in…my Su-ba-ru…”


December 2018 Christmas in Ajo

It’s been an awfully tough year. Mom died a year ago, so I decided to hit the road in a tiny camper to get out of debt in her honor. (Note to self: never make a life-changing decision while in deep grief.) This was my second Christmas without Oreo’s grammy, although the first one was just a blur since her death had been so recent. Thank God for Oreo, cheering me up to no end.

Here’s Oreo in her Santa socks at the studio where I was teaching ballroom dancing. It’s the only place she really gets to run around.


November 2018 – DoggyRide repaired!

After losing the bolt that holds the front wheel on Oreo’s DoggyRide, we weren’t able to go for any runs on the road. When I got to my new home in Arizona I met a lovely woman named Shelley, who loves going for morning walks. The first time we went with her though, Oreo pooped out halfway around the park so I had to jog home, get my car, and drive back to where Shelley and Oreo were waiting; Oreo got anxious without me and started barking…it was not pleasant.

I got online to DoggyRide, asked about the part, they sent me the link, it was less than $5, arrived a few days later and boom! Running with Oreo in the Arizona wind! (Unfortunately, I injured my hip a few months after this and haven’t been able to run, but walking has been great.)

I’m writing this in August 2019, and Oreo has needed the DoggyRide more and more as we’re all aging. I’m so glad I got that replacement bolt!

September 2018 – Finally made it to Arizona!

What have I gotten myself and Oreo into?? The first rest stop we came to in Arizona had a nice area for dogs, along with a sign warning of poisonous snakes and scorpions!!! I saw a scorpion in the sink at a Texas state park restroom and a diamondback snake too,

but since I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t even know to be afraid, oi!

Traveling took so much out of me, and my phone died right after I got to Arizona, so I didn’t keep up with Oreo’s blog. She’s tired too, and can’t walk very far before jumping in her DoggyRide or needing help walking with her sling. She’s a real trouper though, hanging in there with me.

May: Douglas Dam Tailwater Campground, East Tennessee

This was a fabulous campgroud, run by Tennessee State Parks. We stayed here twice. The first time was my first experience without power. Oreo finally got used to being in the camper alone when I went to the showers. We had to stick with the same routine every day though; I’d get up, take a lightning-fast shower, come back, then make coffee, we’d walk as the oatmeal cooked over the embers, then everyone had breakfast. One time I went out of order and she panicked and chewed a hole in my screen.

It did get very hot one day and Oreo overheated. She actually started crying. I got over my aversion to talking to strangers to ask two guys if I could pass through their site to get Oreo to the river to cool off, and they said yes. (No dogs are supposed to be in the water because the current can get quick, but it was an emergency. I kept her on her 30′ leash.) Ten minutes later, she was like a new dog! Happy as a clam.

Unfortunately, Charlie the cat passed away from a urinary tract blockage while we were there. It was the worst thing that’s happened to us on this whole odyssey (I’m writing this in Jan. 2019, trying to get caught up). Gray Kitty is the only cat left.

While I was there, someone told me about Thousand Trails campgrounds so I joined, and that’s one of the best things that’s happened on this whole trip. If anyone wants to join let me know and I’ll send you a link so I get a $25 referral bonus. 🙂

The campsite at Douglas Dam Tailwater. We stayed in the tent a couple days while the Shasta was getting her roof sealed (again; wrong).
Waterfront site
Oreo enjoying the coolness


Beautiful foggy morning (bah ha ha! Look at all the pet hair on the window, ewwww, that’s on the inside).
Stealth painted the back and front of the trailer when camp managers weren’t looking.

Oreo and her Entourage – the Lazy Llamas

For our first month in the Shasta Compact (I named her Rosie), I took us to an extremely nice campground. I wanted a safe place to test out my RV legs, and the packs’ too. Oreo and Charlie took to it immediately. Oreo even made friends with a stray camp cat, play-bowing to him and licking him until he was sopping wet. She was really depressed when I brought him to the no-kill humane society here; I couldn’t very well “trade” mine for him…

The move from my rental house was pretty traumatic; pouring rain, mud everywhere, I ruined the lawn trying to hook up the camper, and with less than an hour until closing time, I called the storage place begging for just one more storage unit (for a total of three). How did I ever get so much stuff? We did make it safely to the campground though, and the owner was so nice about us coming in late and in the rain.

The first guy to “fix” the RV didn’t do so well, and the door wouldn’t latch. I had it pulled shut with a ribbon tied to a cabinet door…and Gray Kitty escaped. He didn’t seal the running lights he installed either, so now Rosie was leaking from both ends. Over $500 in lost kitty postcards and one month later, Gray Kitty is back and is safe, just about half her weight is gone. She doesn’t try to get out anymore. Shadow HATED living in the RV. She was the last one in anyway, so first one out (they’re all technically fosters except Gray, whom I adopted). I brought her to the same no-kill humane society as the stray camp cat. They oohed and ahhed over her, and when pictures of their adoptees were posted just two days later, she was nowhere to be seen. It can safely be assumed she was adopted immediately (Russian-blue looking, and what a character, ha ha! Kept me in stitches until we got in the RV.)

So we spent a cold and rainy March at the Lazy Llama Campground in Chuckey, TN, and I highly recommend it! Especially for weekenders needing a breath of fresh air and some peace and quiet. The llamas are adorable, and the owner does arts and craft classes on weekends. There’s also a yarn shop and knitted goods made from the llama hair. #YarnGlutton I’ll be back, that’s for sure.

Oreo the Roving Rover

Oreo is hitting the road! (I’ll drive, ha ha.) Her grandma passed away in December after a shockingly brief illness, so I’ve decided we’re going to see some sights before our times come, because we just never know when it’s going to happen.

Our new home on wheels is a 1971 Shasta Compact. Why so small? Because it’s what my Subaru can tow. Once Subie’s paid off I can upgrade to a new tow vehicle, but right now Rosie (the name I gave the Shasta) will have to do. I’m going to glam her up, of course, and Oreo will be able to get in and out with her portable ramp.

For security I’ll be posting our stops after we’ve left them, but I can tell you our first stop features some big, furry creatures Oreo will either love to romp with or be scared to death of. If her frenzied reaction to the Clydesdales at the Budweiser plant is any indication, we’re doomed…lol.

Oreo loves her new AST harness from tripawds.com

We’re still getting used to walking together with Oreo’s new AST harness but it fits great and has already been a big help getting her up and down her ramp. She’s 50 pounds, has a 27″ chest and is long, and the medium fits perfectly. I did get the shoulder strap but I haven’t mastered that yet, lol. When I pick her up like a doggy purse she smiles and smiles; I wish I could get a selfie of that.

The Pawfriction I got through the tripawds site is very interesting. It works really well on Oreo’s back foot, fairly well on her front feet. It took me a while to get the stuff (and the tube of glue) unstuck from my fingers afterward, ha ha! I won’t be leaving any fingerprints anywhere for a while. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice.

We just got back from the vet. Oreo has a bit of creaking in her back left ankle, and some arthritis in her right front elbow. This could be what caused her to take a spill down the stairs the other day, and also is probably why she needs to rest on our walks lately. We take they DoggyRide on our morning walk now. She walks to the park, does her business, then gets to ride home.

She is such a trouper, and I hate to see her getting old. I can empathize though; when she fell and I picked her up to carry her up the stairs, I had to rest halfway up; my left arm was too weak to hold her! It’s tough to get old, isn’t it, Oreo, my wonderful friend.

Oreo in her AST harness
Oreo’s back pad with Pawfriction on it.

Oreo at the health care rally

We got lost so only got to attend for about five minutes, but we made an appearance! I’m starting to recognize people from Pantsuit Nation and other groups, like IndivisibleGuide.org. This rally was put on by the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, wonderful people.

The other side of my sign says Medicare For All. I finally got some chalkboard paper ($2 on clearance at Target!) and repurposed my Evan McMullin for President yard sign. We go to so many protests now it’s the easiest way. 🙂

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. Keep the faith that we can make it through these troubling times. #Resist!

Oreo is a celebrity

James Mackler in Knoxville

Posted by Gloria Johnson on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Oreo is a politipup. She started last August 2016, campaigning for Evan McMullin. Then we went to the polls on election day to hold up our sign (the Hillary people were very nice and let us stand with them; I got one car honk). Then we went to the state house in Nashville to try to get the electors to vote for Evan (or Kasich…anyone but DJT). Then we did the Women’s March, the Tax March, the Science March, the Climate March, the Refugee March, the March for Truth, some AHCA protests, and tonight we were at an event for candidate James Mackler for US Senate. A loose dog came up and they got stuck on each other’s faces until a brilliant man came over and dumped a cup of water on their heads. No harm, no foul, not even a scratch (well, I have some scratches, possibly a bite on my foot and my index finger hurts from trying to pry mouths off each other, but I’ll live). 🙂

Here’s a link to the news story from yesterday; she’s mentioned in the first line: “That’s why it was important to her to join around 15 protesters — with a handful of small children and one three-legged dog.” http://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/health/2017/06/27/protesters-worry-losing-protection-against-lifetime-caps-pre-existing-conditions-under-senate-plan/430184001/