There are many different levels and commitments of travel from those who travel around the world 365 days a year to those who take a leisurely trip every couple of years just to take a break from work. We are a family with two children, pets, a house, and many of the same priorities as other families. Our priority of travel has been elevated since we made the decision to complete the National Parks Edition of Monopoly before our children graduate from high school. In order to accomplish this, our travel plans have been made through 2018 requiring one to two trips a year depending on the proximity of destinations to each other. The summer of 2011 brought plans to go to Acadia National Park. Upon returning from our winter adventure to Everglades National Park we discovered one of our dogs ailing from an unknown cause which would affect these plans.
After several visits to the Vet, it was determined that our dog – Shadow had either suffered a stroke or there was a brain tumor causing her medical issues. Only time or an expensive MRI would be able to confirm which of these was most likely. We opted for time since the MRI would only confirm one of these diagnoses and still would not give us an opportunity to correct any problems. I’m sure there are a number of people that are reading this and saying to themselves it’s only a dog. For many others it is understood that some pets become family members and provide similar emotional ties. This dog has been with us a year after Karen and I were married and moved into our house with us the day we bought it. We have known her longer than our children meaning that our children have known her all of their lives. We definitely had an emotional connection to this dog and wanted the best we could provide for her knowing that she will not be around forever.
As summer grew closer we were pretty sure Shadow’s medical problems were a result of a brain tumor as issues from a stroke would not likely worsen and her difficulties became more severe. How long this would persist was an unknown. Do we go ahead and plan our summer adventure? Who would be able to take care of our dog is she was still with us? Originally we began going through some preliminary plans which including going to the Statue of Liberty for the Independence Day celebration and then driving to Acadia National Park to explore another destination on our Monopoly Board. In order for this to work out we wanted to start making arrangements by the middle of May. As this date came we had to shift our priorities and the possibility of a summer trip dwindled because we were not willing to burden someone else with taking care of our sick dog and we were not willing to put her down just for our convenience. I was very frustrated because of the uncertainty surrounding our dog and knew that canceling this trip made the goal of visiting each national park on our board more challenging. Besides, what would the point of this site be if no one was traveling around a Monopoly Board?
Apparently there were other plans for us this 4th of July. We spent it at our house with the kids and dogs and as it turned out, this was the last day we got to spend with Shadow. She has passed now leaving us with only memories of her 13 years as our devoted pet. She is severely missed and we are learning to adapt to a life without her. Our other dog is also adapting to being the only dog now which she has never experienced. However, now we are able to travel again so the preliminary planning for Acadia National Park has begun. We’re looking at going on this adventure near the end of August. I’m really looking forward to experiencing another national park! I expect there will be several other challenges causing us to evaluate how high of a priority completing this Monopoly Board is as many other people need to do when unforeseen events interfere with already made plans to travel. These are the times when we get to find out how important certain things are to us.