2. Cowboy Tails
...Twelve-year-old Molly O’Hare lives a different lifestyle than the average kid. She lives in a bus; with her parents, and a seven-foot-long Irish Wolfhound service dog named Grainne. Molly’s parents work as travel writers for a magazine, and the family is on a long expedition to discover the best vacation spots, in the United States and other countries, to write about. It's the beginning of their adventure, and things are not off to a smooth start.
This witty, smart story takes you on an adventure that will make you laugh and sometimes cry. Travel along with the O'Hare family as Molly and Grainne cement their relationship.
My name is Molly O’Hare. I live in a bus, I don’t go to school, and I have a dog the size of a small pony. I am a happy child. Oh, did I mention that my dog talks?! How can a dog talk, you might ask? You’re about to find out.
My parents are travel writers who have a three-year assignment to write about vacation destinations. Their magazine paid for a bus RV for us to live in, and we left our home in Cut and Shoot, Texas to travel the world, or at least the world you can reach by RV. So far, our family adventure had gotten off to a rocky start.
Just as we were leaving our former home, a bay door opened. It spilled boxes filled with tools, and some pots and pans that didn’t fit in the bus kitchen, all over the highway. The bay is the space under the floor, at the bus's bottom, where you’d normally store luggage in a regular bus.
We had to stop in the middle of the highway, and my father and mother dodged traffic to pick up what they could. It was dangerous and embarrassing. They had to dodge traffic on a major highway.
Grainne sat with me, looking out the window, waiting for my parents to die.
“Dayz gonna get splatted!”
I gave her a dirty look. “I’m upset enough without you making me more nervous. Just stop already!”
“I’z tellin you dey is gonna die out dere!”
I put my arms around her and hoped that she was wrong. I closed my eyes and prayed that they’d be safe.
After Mom and Dad put back what they could pick up in the storage bays, my parents got back in the bus and we were on their way again.
As the bus rolled forward, we heard another terrible noise. It was as if somebody was dragging a metal sheet along the road.
My father stopped the bus again and got out to see what was wrong this time.
A pot, one that they had missed when picking up the others, had lodged itself under the Jeep that we were towing. My dad went around to the shoulder side of the road, got out the jack and jacked the Jeep up a little to get the pot out from under the car.
At least that wasn’t as dangerous as running down a crowded highway trying to rescue pots and pans from being squashed.
My father put the jack away and got back into the bus. He grumbled as he washed his hands and sat down to put the bus in gear and start down the road again.
I’d lost count of how many starts we’d made that day.
Once the danger of being run over had passed and my father stopped mumbling under his breath, my parents saw the humor in the situation and laughed.
I didn’t think it was funny. My heart was in my throat watching them out on the road trying to dodge cars and pick up pots and tools that were rolling in every direction. Plus, there had been the added danger of the cars and trucks swerving to avoid hitting the debris.
“I don’t see what you’re laughing at! You could have left me an orphan. What would I do? I’m a twelve-year-old kid, alone in a bus, with a gigantic dog! Who would take me? “
It really irritated me. The more I scolded them, the harder my parents laughed.
Sometimes my parents could be so childish!
“Gee Moll, weren’t you at all worried about what would happen to US? Were you just worried about how you would live if we died?” My father was grinning at my mom. He knew I worried about them. He just liked to tease me.
“Dad, I worried about both of you, but you’ve gotta admit that running out onto a highway isn’t exactly the brightest thing in the world to do!”
“I agree with you, Molly. We didn’t think before going out there. Sometimes adults don’t think things through either. It’s nice that you were worried, but we will try to not make you worry about us again. OK?”
I hugged my mom, and tears filled my eyes. It just hit me how close I came to maybe losing my parents.
My mother saw my tears and hugged me harder.
“It’s OK, Molly. It’s over and your dad and I are fine. Try to relax. You don’t want to bring on a headache.”
I had to be very careful not to get upset or anxious. I had fallen out of a tree a few months ago and had hit my head on a branch. This had caused what they call a TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury. It wasn’t a terrible one, but we had to have Grainne certified as a Service Dog to make sure she was with me at all times. My dog could sense a headache coming on before it hurt. Once she warned me, I could take the medicine that my doctor had prescribed and relax for a while. So far, Grainne had been right about every time a headache was brewing. With her warnings, I’d been able to take the pills and lie down for a few minutes, to let the medicine work. Because of her, I hadn’t had a nasty headache in a while. I hoped I would continue to get better.
The doctor said that I’d have to be careful for about six months. I couldn’t wait until I could go back to normal. It wasn’t fun to be careful all the time.
I hugged my mother hard and let go.
Grainne was lying on the couch that doubled as my bed with her nose pressed against the window. She loved watching the world go by as we traveled.
Our bus was very comfortable, with everything you could want in a home, in miniature. We each had our own area, even Grainne.
Since we still had a few hours to travel before reaching San Antonio, I lay down next to Grainne and cuddled. She was a great cuddler.
San Antonio was the first stop on our three-year trip. We were going to be traveling all over the United States, and maybe even into Central and South America. We wouldn’t know where or when until an assignment came through. For the next three years, we would roll around like tumbleweeds.
We were starting out in San Antonio because it was still close to where we had started from, and if anything went wrong; we knew people to call. Also, my parents had gotten an assignment to write about things to do with children and pets in the San Antonio area.
We were going to stay at a Dude Ranch and RV park outside of the city. That would be our home base while we saw the attractions.
While we were there, we were going to take Grainne back to see Mrs. Williams. She was the breeder that had trusted us to take in the poor baby after she rescued her. Grainne had been a badly abused puppy.
I must have fallen asleep with my arms around Grainne. The next thing I knew, she had rolled over and was facing me, blowing dog breath in my face. I loved her, but her breath wasn’t exactly minty fresh.
“Hi, sweetie. Could you not breathe in my face? I love you, but waking up to your face in mine is not the way I want to wake up.”
“Butz I lubs you Molly!”
Oh, remember I mentioned that Grainne, and I could talk to each other? I could speak to her either out loud or silently, and she could hear and understand me. I could hear her in my head and understand her. This had started right after I fell out of the tree. At first, I thought I was going crazy, then I realized that I really COULD talk with her. It was weird. I hadn’t told anyone about our conversations. I was afraid that they would have me put away as crazy.
Understanding what Grainne was thinking came in handy when we were working on her getting her Canine Good Citizen Certificate and Certifying as a Service Dog. Training was so much easier because I could understand what she was thinking and feeling. Because she could understand me, she learned so much more quickly. She came to understand that behaving was what was going to get her to go everywhere with me.
Now she could go anywhere that I went. She had her Service Dog vest and knew that, when she had that on, she was working. She took that pretty seriously, unless there was food. When there was food, she still couldn’t decide whether she was going to be a serious service dog or a beggar. We were working on that.
I untangled myself from Grainne and sat up. We were in San Antonio on the loop heading North.
Oh good! The RV Park wasn’t that far from the Breeder’s house. I couldn’t wait to show Mrs. Williams what Grainne had learned. I was very proud of my dog!