• Cheryl Rae Johnson

Have Dogs. Must Evacuate.

I hate to evacuate. If we could have read Hurricane Laura's mind, maybe we could have skipped the evacuation part, as Hurricane Laura chose to veer to the east ten miles, enough that we did not catch the worst of her mighty wrath.

Of course, if we had stayed, then we would have been stuck here in the sticky, hot Texas humidity with no air condition. While I love imagining myself in a Jane Austen novel as this wonderful heroin, the truth is I'm entirely too spoiled to be anywhere, much less Southeast Texas, without a good air conditioner. Boiling water for consumption is not my idea of fun either. Both of these were part of this year's hurricane saga, so evacuation was inevitable.

We had so many "go to" offers from family and friends that we are truly blessed with places to stay. But when we evacuate, we bring a family reunion with us wherever we go! And it isn't just a people reunion.

Jim grew up in Temple, Texas, and he has a brother that lives there. Jim called Mark and told him an evacuation might happen, but we would only leave if absolutely necessary. Our son Aaron definitely wasn't evacuating. We weren't sure about our girls.

Jim called Mark again. The storm was strengthening and we probably would evacuate as well as one daughter, Elise, and her family because of the baby. We weren't sure about the other daughter, Holly, because her husband might have to stay and work.

Jim called Mark yet again. We just had a family meeting. Hurricane Laura will be at least a category 3. Everyone family member decided to come. All nine of us.

Jim called Mark one more time. "Mark, between all of us, we have four dogs. And, uh, three of them are kind of large."

On Tuesday, August 25, at scattered times throughout the day and into the night, nine people and four dogs descended into the home of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Mark and Melanie Johnson. We were so very glad to see them and spend time with them, but that is a lot of people - and dogs - to suddenly have as house guests.

You would have thought the dogs would have overrun the place, but they were absolutely wonderful. Tex, part husky and part German Shepherd, Penny a Basset Hound, and Annie, a Heinz 57, but about the same size as Penny, got along as if they'd been friends their entire lives.

The back porch gave the dogs a nice place to lounge, and the yard was a great playground for them to rollick and play. They especially loved it when the humans came to play! Bentley was the only small dog, and he stayed inside the house because he hasn't figured out that he isn't human (and because he was a little intimidated by the bigger dogs!) At night, each dog went to their respective "room" and no one whined or barked and interfered with our sleep.

Many things have to be considered when evacuations are called, and animals are always at the top of the list. We are extremely grateful to Mark and Melanie for sheltering ALL their family and making us feel so at home.

During our evacuation, we spent time with family we hadn't seen in a while; we got to meet three new members of the family who were just babies; we got to spend time with our own immediate family; and we passed a lot of love around in the process. All in all, a great evacuation experience!

These are the Johnson grandkids with a few of the hubbies missing, and almost all their kids in tow! If you look closely, you can see which little doggy thought he belonged here and was supposed to be in the picture too!

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