As my week on Roatan drew to a close, I found myself able to concentrate on only two things: the fact that I hadn’t eaten a fruit or vegetable in over a week, and this gangly puppy. It’s possible that the former was not separate from the latter, as I had taken to daydreaming about a time when I could walk the dog to the park and lounge about eating a fruit and veg variety plate from Whole Foods. I literally found myself imagining the process of slicing and eating a watermelon. Moments like this bring home the harsh reality that I would have been among the first to die in the Jamestown Colony of Virginia, if I had even survived the boat ride in the first place. Despite my hearty viking origins, I am not what you would call “a survivor”.
A quick aside- [redacted veggie/fruit drink name] is a lie. I need you to know this and I need you to remember it. Six days into an 8-day trip, we were starting to get desperate and committed our hammock time to an aisle-by-aisle review of the local grocery. Next to the Coke and Coke lites were two, beautiful [redacted veggie/fruit drink name] drinks. This meant that in just one go, we could satisfy both our fruit AND vegetable needs. This was a lie. A lie that I am not blameless in perpetuating to myself, after seeing the bountiful fruits and veggies on the label. Per the FAQ section on the company’s website, these drinks contain twenty to twenty-five percent juice. Less than a combined serving of vegetable and fruit. I will never forgive them for getting my hopes up and crushing them so low even as I acknowledge my own part in this.
Obvious inability to survive minor inconveniences aside, the more I played with Roo, the more I was convinced that I must take her home, so one morning I called my roommate. “So…uh…there’s this dog here.” I heard a long inhale and exhale on the other side of the phone and then. “You’re bringing home a dog, aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question. It was a survey of the facts. Another sigh. “Just make sure it’s not one of those things that you think is a dog and you get it home and find out it’s a giant rat.” I agreed, although it was clear that she had forgotten about my affinity for giant rodents. I did not remind her.
The CDC has a list of requirements for bringing live animals into the country, among them a list of vaccinations and health certificates, both of which she (thankfully) had. So off we went. Roatan to Atlanta, Atlanta to DC. In Atlanta, we discovered that other travelers on our flight had plants in their suitcases that were confiscated by customs. Obviously their plants did not have Roo’s secret weapon of big eyes, floppy ears, and proof of vaccines. Three countries in two weeks for this beast, which amounted to one country per pound on her body.
And thus began the Era of Roo.