Summertime in Alaska is beautiful, but the living is far from easy

One life gone to the dogs

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2003

It's so beautiful this time of year in Alaska. The grass is brownish-green. The trees are filling out in all their glorious leafy attire. The birds are singing even at 4 a.m. and I don't have to turn a light on when I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Ah, yes, it's summertime in the Great Land. Which means tourist season is upon us.

I don't know what all the fuss is about. I like it when the tourists arrive. For one thing, they make it a lot easier to view wildlife. Anyone who has lived here for any length of time knows a cluster of cars is a safe bet that something has been spotted along the roadside.

Yes, the motor homes do slow traffic down, but what a great chance to check out the scenery, most likely something some of us have taken for granted if we've been here awhile.

I've lived in some of the most beautiful places in the nation, yet eventually I get caught up in the everyday commotion of life and find myself ignoring my surroundings until something say a rich sunset bursting in hues of red, orange and gold on the horizon catches my eye. That's when it usually hits me that I've been too busy and need to take a break.

Of course, taking a break isn't always the easiest thing to do these days.

For example, this week I had to plan a trip to Anchorage for a dog agility trial. Dog agility is where my dog takes an obstacle course and I run alongside her sucking air trying to keep up so I can direct her, although she needs no help from me and I've learned I'm along more for companionship than leadership.

Now while a trip to Anchorage may sound simple, I know I am not the only person in the world who can take a two-day journey and turn it into a major project.

Let's start with accommodations.

I made arrangements to stay with friends. Simple enough. Well, I hope so. Don't forget, this is a dog event, so I am bringing two golden retrievers and adding them to a house that has three Great Danes. That takes some planning.

Next there is packing. Since I'm competing in the event, I not only have to plan what to bring for the dogs, but what I should wear under all circumstances. Remember, this is Alaska. Will it be hot? Will it rain?


For crying out loud, I only have a Suburban!

OK, so we're talking about major laundry preparation, right?

And what about the Suburban? I have to clean out the car so I can fit all the stuff into it!

Now, let's talk about the house.

How many of you and answer this honestly, now drive yourself crazy cleaning your house before you go on vacation?

Me, too!

In my case it's for the house-sitters. I want everything to be just perfect so they don't have to do anything when they stay here, yet I'm in such a frenzy trying to put all of this together that something must suffer.

Unfortunately, this week that was two things: 1) my sleep, and 2) this column.

Taking a day off work meant making sure everything was done before I left on my "Friday," which was Wednesday. That means I had one day to do it all.

On Thursday, I ran errands, cleaned the house and the car, did laundry, prepped the dogs and started to pack.

That's why I am up at 6 in the morning on Friday to write my column.

But it's all for a good reason. After all of this, I can't wait to go to the dog trial and relax.

OK, I'm lying. I never relax at dog trials. But maybe, just maybe this time I will.

Heck, I'll be so worn out from getting ready for the trip that I may get caught up on my sleep after all!

I just hope I don't sleep through the drive to Anchorage. It's so beautiful this time of year in Alaska.

When she's not out on some agility course with her dogs, Dori Lynn Anderson finds time to be the assistant editor of the Peninsula Clarion.

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