Monday, July 18, 2011
Spoiled Rotten In France
Spending the day wandering the historic World War 1 sites of Verdun France left Erin and I exhausted, hungry, and in need of a comfy plush bed to crawl into. From sunrise to late afternoon, we trekked upon sacred ground where over 700,000 French and German soldiers perished in the year of 1916; battlegrounds, forts, trenches, memorials, villages, cemeteries and elaborate bunker systems were explored at our leisure. Leaving the countryside behind and driving into the heart of Verdun it was my intent to take refuge at a dog-friendly establishment near the castle and river and that's exactly what occurred. A quaint hotel was spotted and while Erin remained in the car I dashed inside to see if there was room availability for a weary traveler and his dog; a jovial middle aged lady greeted me with much warmness and via broken English said dogs are most welcome. Returning to the car I leashed Erin while grabbing our bags for some doggie hospitality as only the French can do.
Walking through the double set of doors was akin to entering a world where the dog is revered and put upon a pedestal for all to worship. The innkeeper Paulette bombarded her canine guest with attention from the moment their eyes met, adoration's in French flowed as our host dropped to her knees then onto her rear end for a face to face greeting unlike any other I'd seen. She fell in love with Erin immediately and was basically rolling on the floor smothering her with hugs and kisses. The lovefest continued with Paulette stroking the luxurious soft fur while the stubby brown tail moved in a rapid blur insync with the foreign words being spoken to her. Shortly hereafter Erin rolled onto her back in a gesture of total relaxedness while the pink tongue fell out the side of her mouth but the two new best friends continued oblivious to my presence. To witness this stranger plopped down near the entranceway loving upon my girl in this manner was a complete surprise and the entire scene was very surreal but Erin sure didn't mind.
This continued for what seemed an eternity then the innkeeper rose, hastily straightened her dress and apron and strolled to the check-in counter where she acted as if rolling on the floor with Erin was the most natural act. We were led to a cozy basic room on the third floor where a porter recommended dining in the hotel restaurant and it was stressed that dogs were always welcome. There were a few hours until dinner was to be served so we wandered aimlessly admiring the beauty of Verdun while greeting numerous dogs that crossed our path; funny how dogs all speak the same language. Returning to the hotel we headed straight to the restaurant for what I hoped would be some delicious French cuisine; the friendly waitress brought a menu and a bowl of water for Erin whom was sprawled near my feet. Paulette magically appeared to inquire if Erin would be interested in something to eat and a few minutes later a server arrived with a massive bowl of sliced beef strips; the mountain of food was no match for my girl's voracious appetite and the container was licked clean within minutes.
Returning to our room Erin laid upon the floor for some well-deserved sleep after a long hectic day that began with a drive from Germany in the wee hours of the morning. A series of raps on the door startled us both and reluctantly I opened the door to find our generous host holding another bowl of goodies from the kitchen then she politely pushed her way into the room where against my better judgement I allowed the second bowl of food to be served. Erin's snout was buried in the bowl before it hit the floor and as before she wasted little time in making this bowl full of meat and gravy vanish. My girl displayed a look of pure bliss on her face after feasting like a queen on two decadence meals but that look would soon disappear. Sleep was short-lived as Erin's overindulgence came back to haunt us when sickness got the best of her and portions of the rich French cuisine came back up. After her body functions returned to normal I placed her in bed next to me where we both fell into a deep sleep and that's where we remained until the alarm clock rang.
The next morning Paulette was repeatedly thanked for her hospitality and spoiling Erin beyond belief but not a word of the sickness from the excess of food was mentioned as I didn't want to offend our wonderful host or cause her to worry unnecessarily; I could imagine her frantically calling a veterinarian thus she was spared that tidbit of info. She only had the best interest of Erin at heart as exhibited by the nonstop attention and sweet gestures while her intention to spoil my fur-angel was achieved. Paulette lived up to the reputation of the French being the ultimate dog lovers and her kindness will always be remembered and much appreciated! We spent the remainder of the day strolling around Verdun like nomads often stopping to relax with the locals in cafes and parks before checking out of the hotel and while it was bittersweet saying goodbye I take great joy in knowing Erin got a glimmer of doggie heaven on earth while together we created many lasting memories. RIP Erin!!