Richard is like a little kid! He is sooo excited to have a dog. We have both wanted a dog for a long time, but it was really his dream since I had Nacho (our cat.) But being the good husband he is, he put off his dream of having a dog so we could follow my dream of riding across America. After all, it WAS his idea to incorporate accomplishing my dream with inspiring others and fundraising for a worthy cause. He could have come up with some other crazy idea for promoting Hearts Up Ranch! So I am grateful for his selflessness, but I am joyful beyond words to see him so happy. We still know in the back of our minds that she could run away, but we will live for today and embrace her as our own. She looks up at us with adoring eyes and howls quietly and mournfully if we shut her out even for a moment where she can’t be with us. She doesn’t appear to have any desire to leave us!
A reporter came by this morning, and we all sat indian style around the garage floor. He also commented that Bella was beautiful. We were certain we had named her well.
Then we had another surprise visitor. The dog breeder we had met on the road yesterday somehow knew where we were staying and pulled in the driveway.
“I brought something for you. It’s a Parvo/Distemper vaccine and wormer for your new dog.”
I nearly cried I was so touched at his thoughtfulness. Not only are complete strangers taking care of us and our horses, they are now embracing our stray dog too! Besides that, this man was the first breeder we are aware of meeting on the entire ride so far. What are the chances we would meet him just at the right time? Well, that’s God for you- always taking care of the baffling details! We were really touched and floored that he was generous and thoughtful enough to come back looking for us to help us with our new dog. It meant alot.
For a significant part of the day, we were on “B” road which was relatively busy. Richard and I took turns leading all the horses while the other one walked Bella with the halter. We intend to train her to stay on our side of the road as well as be led on a leash from horseback, but for now we have to focus on leash training her. We got a lot of exercise in!
It ended up being a longer day than we’ve been doing lately. About 18 miles. We were getting pretty tired, as was Bella who is not used to this much walking. But it was an exciting day because we got a special visit from Matthew York, our next planned rest stop host. You may recall that we met him back in Colorado just west of Pueblo. We were staying at his brother Dale’s house while Matthew was out visiting him as well. Before Matthew left, he gave us the rest of his trail food he hadn’t eaten while he’d been hunting, then invited us to come to his house when we got to Missouri. We weren’t sure at the time if we’d be going close or not, but we promised to keep it in mind since we had enjoyed the Yorks so much. Somewhere around Garden City and Dodge City, we decided to stay south in Kansas and take a route that would lead us right near Matthew’s house. So we decided to make a point to head there. We put little marks on our map pages to know where to aim, and that is how we have been choosing which roads to take- the straightest route to Matthew’s house! He had driven out to check on us so we got to see him a day early. It was pretty exciting to see him again and realize how far we had come since we had met.
Matthew went ahead waited for us at the home of Jake and Kora Anderson who had invited us to stay there for the night. Jake and Matthew did a great job holding horses and helping us unpack while Bella had fun playing with Jake’s dogs. Matthew offered to take our gear to his house so the horses wouldn’t have to carry it on the long day tomorrow, so we loaded it into his car and said goodnight with excitement that we’d actually be to his house tomorrow!
Bella joined us inside and laid quietly on the floor while we had dinner and visited with the Andersons. We really enjoyed telling them stories- they were a great audience! But I very much enjoyed the story of Jake’s dad bringing a horse in that house- on more than one occasion! The Andersons liked Bella so much that Kora decided to give us their like new purple harness and retractable leash for her so she could be kept safe without having to use a halter. Once again we were touched by the thoughtful gift for our new friend and were convinced that we weren’t crazy- we really were supposed to keep this dog. There were too many things coming together at just the right time. She slept quietly on her blanket next to our bed all night long and behaved in the house every bit like the sweetheart she is.