Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Muffin Saga, Part XII

As I am writing The Muffin Saga, I am realizing how much my life was intertwined with Muffin's.

Muffin stayed at a doggie hotel while I was on my road trip to Tucson for the first part of the certification course for intentional interim ministry. She evidently enjoyed the stay: she had other doggies for company and a very large fenced area to play with her new friends. Of course, I couldn’t leave her at my mother’s house. Mom couldn’t have taken care of her and Muffin may have repeated the whining, crying, and howling behavior she did while I was hospitalized.

The course was a week long, Monday through Friday. Since I had decided to drive to Tucson and make a detour on the way back, I arranged a two week stay for Muffin at the doggie hotel. With my car packed for the trip, I dropped Muffin off at her temporary home on Thursday morning and began driving the southern route (KentuckyTennesseeArkansasTexasNew MexicoArizona) to Tucson, a drive of about 1800 miles.

The drive was OK and I arrived in Tucson late Sunday night. The next morning I found the retreat center, which was located in the desert overlooking the city. Recently I found some of the photographs of the center:

My small group at Interim Ministry Network certidication course

Meditation trail at retreat center

The chapel at the retreat center

Early morning coffee

View of Tucson from behind the retreat center

The return trip to Louisville was longer (2,350 miles) than the trip to Tucson. I drove west to Phoenix to visit a friend, then north to the Grand Canyon National Park where I visited with an Internet friend, then to Bryce Canyon National Park where I visited my son, Rob and his wife who were working at the lodge, and finally back to Louisville.

I arrived at my mother’s house at about 4:00 a.m. to find the security bolt on the front door. Thus, I entered the back door, setting off the burglar alarm and I think awakening folks a block in each direction.

After a good bit of sleep—I had driven straight through from the Kansas border to Louisville without sleeping (about 950 miles)—I went to the doggie hotel where I retrieved a very excited Muffin. When the attendant brought her to me, she pulled so hard on her leash that she almost got away from the young woman. Of course, she wasn’t trying to escape; she was heading for me and when I bent down to her I received as much of a wet tongue licking as I had when I returned from the hospital.

Muffin was so excited that we had to take a Muffin walk around the parking lot before getting into the car. She pulled me up to the fence around the outside play area were some of her doggie chums were and said good-bye to them before we left. I felt that I was taking her away from something special: her new friends, human and doggies, and a play area where she could run without a leash. There were so many transitions going on in both out lives that I may have been projecting my own feelings onto Muffin.

However, we were off on another adventure—moving from my mother’s basement into an apartment of our own—and neither Muffin nor I had time to reflect on the past.


  1. This is fun I want to go [icture Muffin??

  2. See that is what I like about a dog virses a cat. For the most part you will not get such a welcome by a cat. I think it is against their code of conduct.

    That place looked like such a wonderful place to meditate. Sometimes you really need that.

  3. The retreat looks wonderful Nick. Nice to hear Muffin had a good time at the doggie hotel. Our dog hated it everytime he had to go! :(

  4. It sounds like you and Muffin both enjoyed your retreats.

    I'm so glad that you had your little buddy during that time of life transitions.

  5. i've never left my dogs at a doggie hotel...I'm always afraid they won't get treated very good!!

    the pictures are beautiful...great place for meditating

  6. Thanks, Nick, for another Muffin story. As I look at those photos, I begin to understand why you find the desert such a spiritual place.

  7. I love Utah's National Parks...Zion and Bryce are just gorgeous!

    Lovely pics and story :)

    The Egel Nest

  8. isn't it funny the way we connect with animals, muffin was the one who "witnessed" your life during that time... a hugely important thing in a hugely difficult time.

  9. Hello Nick ~~ Another good episode. Great photos and it was good that
    Muffin liked the doggie hotel.
    I hope you are feeling OK and did you get any constructive help at your
    appointments. Take care, Best Wishes

  10. Thank you for another lovely Muffin tale.

  11. Muffin must have enjoyed her stay in the doggie hotel as you did at the retreat.

  12. Nick, your Muffin saga continues to delight me. I'm glad her doggie hotel proved pleasant. When we recently traveled away from our dog Trudy, she went on vacation to Albuquerque and stayed with our college girl. Apparently our daugher's housemate, a male (just a rent-splitter, not a boyfriend), loved Trudy being around, since she proved to be something of a "chick magnet." I am reminded of how your Muffin neutralized your counseling clients, even the kids in the alleyway.

    And those pictures of the retreat center--so beautiful and peaceful. I find the desert conducive to contemplation. I read somewhere that all major world religions were founded in desert areas and that doesn't surprise me somehow. There's something about that big open space...

  13. you had me at the pictures of arizona.

    oh to be there now!