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He looked super cute in his car harness while he looked out at the rolling hills of southeastern Indiana.

Chicken nuggets begin road-trip binge

Denali doesn’t bark often but he will. Loudly, when he wants to. It’s even louder when he’s irritated by being in the backseat of a compact car for a three-plus hour drive.

I learned that when my husband Mark and I took him to Cincinnati for the holidays. Just one of the few things I learned.

Like, making sure you have something to occupy your pup during the trip. I brought cut-up carrots and apples on the trip – partly for me, partly for Denali. (The treats were too healthy to tempt my husband.) If Denali was being especially good, I tossed him a carrot. When he was being especially loud, I gave him the apple. It occupied him for a good five minutes.

All that noshing made him thirsty, I’m sure, so we made it a point to stop half-way through the trip. Denali got to stretch his legs and alleviate himself, my husband got something unhealthy to eat from Burger King and I got to run in for a cup of water to put in his bowl for a quick drink before setting off.

I got something from Burger King, too: chicken nuggets and fries. I learned that if I had chicken nuggets and fries that Denali wanted chicken nuggets and fries. It apparently makes a dog quite irritated to smell fast-food deliciousness in a compact car and not be allowed to partake in the grease. Against my better judgment, I slipped him some chicken nuggets and hoped the fiber in the earlier treats would balance out the junk I was giving him.

Of course, it was only the beginning of his binge. My husband and I learned that Denali’s good looks made it difficult for my cousins not to feed him from the kitchen island at the Christmas Eve party. He apparently had cheese .. and bread ... and crackers ... and more cheese. As dessert.

For his main meal, he ate from Lucky’s bowl. Lucky being my uncle’s dog and queen of the roost where the party was thrown. Denali has no concept of territory, we learned. If he’s somewhere, anywhere, he’s home. He’ll even eat your cat’s food if you give him the chance. Seriously, he will. And then he’ll lick you, and the cat.

His friendly nature and adaptability made it easier to travel with Denali. If my husband and I learned anything, though, it’s that Denali will get to stay home the next trip. Even if he looked super cute in his car harness while he looked out at the rolling hills of southeastern Indiana. It’s just a lot of work (and stress) to travel with a dog.