When it came to the car crate, we might have overbought. But with Angus still growing — and with no clear idea of how big he’s going to get — we erred on the side of huge.
This means that the only way the crate will fit inside our Jeep along with Rosie’s smaller crate is to slide it in sideways. To get in, Angus will have to jump up through the high, narrow side door instead of through the open hatchback.
And this Angus does not want to do.
We’re headed Up North for 10 days, and we’re excited to see how our new puppy responds to the wilderness. But if he doesn’t get in the truck, we’ll never know.
“Up, Angus, up!” I say merrily, patting his blanket inside the crate. Angus does not jump up. Angus lies down.
Eventually, Doug lifts him up and kind of stuffs him in — still possible, since Angus is only 40 pounds, but what if he grows to the predicted 80 pounds? — and we head off.
At Banning State Park, just beyond Hinckley, we stop for a break. Angus cowers in the back of his crate and does not want to come out. He has vomited all over everything.
“This will all be worth it!” I tell him, shaking out his blanket and refolding it clean side out. Angus gives me a baleful look. I feel awful, torturing my dog.
Some hours later, finally, our destination: a cabin along the rocky shore of Lake Superior. Rosie bounds out, a happy traveler, refreshed and ready to rumble. Angus cowers in the back of his crate. He has vomited all over everything again.
But over the next 10 days, it truly does become worth it. Angus is still a puppy and his exercise must be limited, so we alternate: one day a few easy miles along the Superior Hiking Trail, the next day a walk along the shore. In between, plenty of naps (for all of us).
He is dubious about the big lake, not willing to wade in it or drink from it, though he watches closely as Rosie does both. He prefers to sit on the rocky beach, leaning hard against whichever human he happens to be with, and watch the waves.
On the trail, though, he is happy. There is so much to sniff that he is zigging here and zagging there and nearly tripping me and stopping so suddenly that once I stepped on his paw, and he screamed loud enough to wake the bears in their dens.
He wants to chase the tiny purple butterflies that flit across the path, bounding after them as far as the leash will allow, both front paws batting the air. The only thing that distracts him are the larger, yellow butterflies.
He and Rosie pay close attention to the wolf scat on the trail, and they look peevish when we don’t allow them to roll in it. As the days go by, Angus finds his rhythm. I let him linger, stopping and sniffing whatever strikes his fancy.
Day after day we open the side door of the Jeep and urge him to jump in, and day after day he flattens out in the dirt. It is awful that he hates the truck, but at least he doesn’t vomit again.
On our last morning, both dogs watch with great concern as we haul our food, our bags, their blankets and our books out to the Jeep. Doug hoists Angus into the crate, and we head south.
Halfway home, we stop for a break. Angus hops out. He has not vomited. He looks perky. When it is time to go, I say, “Up, Angus, up!” and pat the blanket inside his crate.
And Angus hops up.
Laurie Hertzel is the senior editor for books at the Star Tribune. She is not a dog expert, just a dog-lover. She is documenting the first year of her puppy’s life here.
Coming July 28: Brotherly love: Angus reunites with a littermate. Follow along at startribune.com/puppy