Dogs are pretty amazing at picking up on our emotions. I did not really believe that they could read us as well as they do. I learned otherwise during a trip Wife and I took one year to Kerrville, Texas.
We had decided to visit Kerrville one year as a weekend getaway. Kerrville is located in the Texas hill country and a lot of folk like to go to visit and drive on the narrow winding roads through the hills. I had a friend that lived in Kerrville, and thought it would be nice to meet him during our trip. I had met in an online forum, and had not actually met him face to face, so the trip would be a good opportunity to cement our connection.
We had dragged our Fifth-wheel behind us and stayed at a nice little park on the Guadalupe River. We did a little bit of sight-seeing and some shopping, and I was able to meet my friend at a restaurant. He invited us out to his house later to show off his workshop. My friend was a contractor, so I knew that anything he built would have been well-built. We agreed to stop by his home on our way out of town.
With our time off from work over, we hitched up the Fifth-wheel and the dogs, and headed to my friend’s house. The friend lived in a nice community of homes built among the hills outside of Kerrville. His house was at the foot of a very steep hill with homes perched along the hillside like bird’s nests. My friend came out to greet us, and suggested that I drive up and around on the narrow road so that my truck and trailer would be facing the right direction when it was time to leave.
We started up the hill, admiring the beautiful homes. And I was admiring my Ford F250’s diesel engine as it pulled the Fifth-wheel up the slope. There is nothing like feeling the power of your diesel taking on a challenge like this one. Slowly, gently, up and up we went. Then the road turned to the right and we were on pretty level ground, although pretty high up.
There were a couple of roads that intersected with the one we were on, but my friend had made a sweeping gesture with his hand, suggesting that we just stay on one road all the way around. Still, I was a little uncertain. Should I have turned back there? What about this next one? We passed the last intersection with some doubt, and were about to follow the road as it turned to the right again, when we saw a sign that said “Dead End.” What?!
The next thing we saw was the road in front of us dropping down into … nothing? Looking ahead, I saw another road rising up from the valley, but it was way off to the left of the road I was on. I was not sure if that was the same road I was on, or if both roads dead-ended into a creek, and they were different and unconnected. The sign we just passed had said this was a dead end!
As we started down, I was very anxious, worried that I would have to back my truck and trailer up a steep grade on a narrow road for quite a distance. Wife was feeling the same anxiety, as we both began to second guess my decision to not turn at the last intersection.
As we started down that steep road, our anxiety must have crossed some kind of threshold. Our normally quiet, peaceful dogs sat up and began crying. They sang, they howled, and they barked loudly. We moved slowly down the hill facing the unknown with our choir singing their loudest. This was not at all helpful, and I’m sure each of us was reinforcing the anxiety of the other, bringing us all too quite a high state of fear! Further down into the abyss we went, but not quietly.
When we drove down far enough, I could see that our road did indeed bend to the left and proceed up the other side of the hill.
Like magic, the cab of the truck became quiet. Everyone was happy, cheerful, and relieved. The dogs settled back down onto their laps, laying their heads down like nothing had ever happened.
Once we arrived back at our friend’s house, facing the right direction, I asked about the “Dead End” sign. “Oh yeah,” he replied “they just put that sign up there to keep kids from hot-rodding through the neighborhood.”