My well being is fueled by the company of my dog, Lola with whom I spend all of my time when there’s no human company. She’s an objective listener when my conversations are between multiple sides of me. Lola has adapted to the changes in my life. She’s a trooper, having ridden over 9000 miles with me without complaint. Lola’s love is unconditional. She’s tranquil most of the time. We have similar goals and values where it concerns good food, fun, a balance of activity and rest, and being outdoors. Lola’s love offsets periods of loneliness.

Lola has made quite a few canine friends of her own along the way. For example, Hank the vizsla in LaGrange, Kentucky, with whom she had barking contests, and who did his best to teach her how to catch flies. She had a big time with Gracie, a golden retriever in St. Louis, in whom she found the ideal playmate. There was Oliver, the male golden doodle from Indianapolis who is about three times Lola’s size. Oliver and Toby, the red healer from Chicago, both demonstrated aptitude for urinating on potted plants on their patios. Fortunately Lola didn’t get the hang of this predominately male practice. Winston from Wisconsin (“Winnie”) demonstrated a relentless quest for humping Lola. Her rebuttals didn’t slow his determined male ego. I’m grateful that Lola is from the shallow end of the testosterone pool.

There are hard parts about traveling with a dog. I had to leave Lola with a sitter for a week in Columbus, Ohio when I flew from there to Massachusetts. It temporarily caused my heart to ache. Dogs that don’t fit under seats aren’t allowed on passenger planes. Rover, a dog sitting service with an app that includes sitter profiles, provided me with great sitters who’d keep Lola in their homes. I also had to board her for a week in Duluth, Minnesota, when friends and I rented a house that didn’t allow pets. Both of these sitters make their livings as full time dog caretakers. Even without meeting Lola in advance to be certain that she was compatible with other canines, they trusted that she would be fine because of my testimonial, and because she’s a doodle, a breed with whom neither of them had ever had issues. Lola fared much better than I did during our times apart. She’s doesn’t do homesick.

In contrast to humans whose emotions fluctuate so widely between joy and its absence, I’m impressed with the simplicity about the things that elevate Lola’s disposition. Playing fetch with a ball or a stick is her equivalent of winning the lottery. When we’re out on walks, Lola’s eyes are always peeled for a wayward tennis ball. Sometimes she steals them from the front yards of young children. By the time I’m aware of the theft, it’s often too late to return the property to the scene of the crime. The only activity that holds more sway than playing fetch is chasing squirrels. Though she’ll never catch one, she’ll not stop trying. It’s all about the journey.

Lola is my pet and she’s also my pal. When we have earnest exchanges, we are always looking directly into one another’s eyes. I’m more than just the supplier of her meals. She gets excited when she sees me. She sits in the passenger seat in the rig and stares out the window when I go places without her. It’s her way of asking to be taken along instead of being left behind. She’s demanding and she’s amusing. She’s determined to get her message heard when there is a need. She is good natured, friendly, and precious. She’s respectful but not particularly well trained. She’s not a good match for people who don’t like to give dogs attention. She’s perfectly imperfect.


Published by jmlewisjr

Hello. This is Jimmy Lewis. I'm in Memphis, Tennessee. My golden doodle, Lola and I are leaving on a North American tour in May, 2021. We'll be traveling in a 2021 Jayco Melbourne 24L motorhome. We have neither time constraints nor exact destination specifications. We'll spend May in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and then head north through New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont. If Canadians resume the practice of putting out a welcome mat for Americans, then we'll cross the border.  The seed for this journey began after my wife, Sarla passed away in May, 2020. Sarla was a yogi. An early yoga teacher of hers implored her to "Have what you need, and use what you have." As I prepare to close on the sale of our home on April 30, 2021, I'm deciding what I need based on the likelihood of using what I have. I give some things away without a flicker of feeling. When more meaningful items like the piano I inherited from my parents leave the premises, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time. Sarla's death lessened my attachment to the home we had enjoyed for 15 years and life as I knew it. I didn't need and couldn't possibly use a house that could satisfy the needs of a family with four children. I'll no longer experience residence, a concept identified with staying in a specified place, as I've heretofore known it. Life will never be the same, nor do I want to attempt to shape my future into a likeness of what I once knew.   I've set my sights on adventure. I want to be challenged by not knowing who or what I'll meet on the road. The outdoors is one of my default antidotes for stress. Other than my rig, I won't have an indoors base. Whereas others might opt to downsize so that they have the stability of a landing spot, I won't be able to go "home" as I've known it. I'm jazzed about the prospect of being at the whim of the muse, to go where my finger lands on turning pages of the Rand McNally atlas. My dog, Lola is indifferent even though I've been talking to her about the journey every day. She looks quizzically at me when I enthusiastically say we're hitting the road together. I'm confident that she'll do well. We've previously driven together to and from a destination 12 hours from home. She curiously gazed out the window and occasionally snoozed in the passenger seat. She didn't express displeasure about the podcasts and music selection that I chose to entertain and inform me while driving. This trip isn't driven by personal goals. Will I learn more about myself? Will I take advantage of the opportunity to reflect? Will I be lonely? Will I be uneasy? I'm motivated by a curiosity to follow the questions.

4 thoughts on “Lola

  1. Just to place an exclamation point on your post: as I finished reading it, I heard some moans coming from the back door. Of course, it was Sierra, the Rescue Dawg, who had decided that she had absorbed enough sun on the deck and it was time to come inside to nap on the couch in the AC. When I didn’t immediately jump up and open the door she started a series of moans to let me know it was time to let her inside. Funny how our lovable “furry friends” have us so well-trained, regardless of their breed, eh? Thanks again for a very good read and please keep posting! 🙂


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