Kate Rasmussen, Wichita, Kansas

My husband is a contract engineer, and we travel and live in a fifth wheel with our two Cockers and Rottie. (Our four-footed family members occupy the same space in our fifth wheel as they did in our house: the couch, the bed, and our laps.)

In January 1994, we were in Everett, Washington at Lakeside RV Park. Kendra, our Rottie, was eight months old. Around three in the afternoon, I leashed our pooches for a walk. As all of us descended the steps, I noticed that a neighbor grabed a mop and prepared to do battle as children from the school bus rushed over to us.

Three moppets pounded Kendra's head and thumped her sides. One toothless, bubble-gum popper eagerly enquired, " Has she killed any one?" "No," I refuted. Daunted, he thought for a moment...." Well, has she bitten anybody?" Not wanting to dash his hopes again, I replied, " No... but give her time."

In the Summer of 1994, we spent an evening in Westport, Washington. While walking along the dock, we ended up chatting with another couple. Out of nowhere a red bandana, black leather-clad, tatooed, swashbuckling motorcycle gang roared up and engulfed us! Several husky fellows encircled Kendra and commenced to gush... yes, gush... about "what a wonderful dog Rotties are" and "how nice to see people who don't get them just to make them mean!" The rest of the evening was spent with everyone rhapsodizing about dogs that they had loved and lost.

Puck, our male Cocker, wooes the ladies with his Marilyn Monroe eyes. He cons treats from MacDonald employees and from fellow Rvers. When petted, he closes his eyes and lifts his head in pure joy. Tatianna, our female Cocker, is aloof and irritable. She even fusses when she scratches her ear!

We spent the Spring and Summmer of 1995 outside Tucson, Arizona. Since Puck experienced problems of a personal nature with cactii, he wasn't sorry to leave the sunny state.

Unusual arctic blasts hit Wichita, Kansas this winter 1996. Kendra escaped our fifth wheel and ventured out on the pond after the ducks which were fluttering on the ice. Her luck held until she reach the center, then Kendra sunk. Fortunately, one of the rv park owner's sons spotted her, spread himself across the ice, and crawled to her. He hefted Kendra on to the ice. (And he earned a prime rib dinner!) Cold (her whiskers were frozen), wet, and exhausted from her efforts to escape, Kendra slept through the rest of the afternoon, evening, and night. Whenever the owners' grandchildren visit, they want to know, "Is this the dog that went for a swim?"

Wherever the next contract takes us, we know that life will be interesting for the five of us in a fifth wheel.


Kate Rasmussen, Wichita, Kansas, at e-mail address:


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