ON THE ROAD: WOMAN'S BEST FRIEND
By Cal Orey
"A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor,
educated or illiterate, clever or dull.
Give him your heart and he will give you his.”― John Grogan, Marley and Me
Two Wanderlusts, for Richer or Poorer
|My Aussie that makes me lighten up|
One night my canine companion and I spent the night in a forest off the main road. We snuggled up in my sleeping bag. Another creature comfort I enjoyed was the foods I guarded stuffed in my backpack: fresh fruit, nuts, whole-wheat bread, peanut butter—and a jar of clover honey. It was a reality TV show real-life moment when I used my finger to scoop out the creamy butter and gooey honey. And yes, I shared a bit of honey, butter and bread with Tiger (today reminding me of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who was fed a honey cake).
Tiger and I had cuddled and slept in the backyard of an estate on the outskirts of Quebec, on beaches in Mississippi to the Florida Keys, on an Indian reservation in Arizona, in a cornfield in Kansas, and in the back of a pickup truck under the stars at a motel in Tennessee. From rest stops to national parks, this dog and I were inseparable, like bees and their beekeeper. Tiger was my protector and sounding board. It was comfort foods, honey, peanut butter, and whole-grain crackers from the United States, that didn’t spoil, kept me energized—and I shared with my best friend.
And while I didn’t know it then, later on as a health author I learned I was eating foods of the Mediterranean diet—heart-healthy honey and peanut butter (in moderation) with a dog that provided heart health benefits, too, by keeping my blood pressure down during stressful and lonely times.
|12 year bond with Brittany Simon|
Wheel of Misfortune, Leaving Las Vegas
I faced sweet and bitter experiences on my road travels, like a honey bee in flight; I was stricken by untimely challenges. On afternoon in Las Vegas, Tiger and I were in front of Lady Luck Casino. It was my idea to leave my long-haired partner in the shade with water at the doorstep of the entry way while I tried to hitch a safe ride back home to California. As I was walking inside, an older man called out to me, “Nice dog!" I got an uneasy vibe but tuned it out.
Fifteen minutes later, I left the casino. My beloved companion was MIA. Shocked and disoriented like a beekeeper with stolen bee colonies, I stood outside in the hot sun. I tried to fight back the tears. After a long search through nondescript streets and talking to people with unknown faces--there was no rescue. My canine buddy was gone. I cried all night long.
At dawn, at a café I ordered a cinnamon roll, tea, and honey. I was like a devoted beekeeper without his bees. I was alone. It was one of the worst experiences I endured on the road. And flashbacks of our travels from coast to coast haunted me then but now are cherished memories of a dog and a girl—an amazing human-animal bond. I left a photo of me, the hippie girl with her dog in Ontario, on the bulletin board at the local animal shelter in Vegas. Through all the pain and loss, I moved on.
A few months later, fate paid me a visit. A black Labrador pup with soulful brown eyes came into my life on the road. We rescued each other at Ocean Beach, San Diego. We bonded instantly like a beekeeper with new queens, and Stone Fox and I, California Butterfly, continued on our journey together.
(Excerpt from The Healing Powersof Honey, published by Kensington).