My Little Hobo


I want to give you an update on Bandit. First, some background.


Bandit was adopted by my son after a bartender at his restaurant rescued him (Bandit...not Elijah) and his sister off the side of the road. The bartender kept the female and E adopted Bandit. He named him "Bandit" because his childhood dog had been called "Smokey." (It's a GenX reference he picked up from Mom & Dad.)


Elijah took Bandit to the vet to get him checked out and neutered. Unfortunately, the vet found a pretty serious heart murmur and wasn't comfortable putting him under anesthesia. So Bandit was never able to be fixed.


Later, after E moved to Louisiana with us, Chip & I adopted Bandit as our second dog. Shelby was less than thrilled by this new sibling after being an only child for so long, but she accommodated.


Bandit was the complete opposite of Shelby. She was cuddly; he was a loner. I often found myself asking aloud, "Where is Bandit?" because he would just sneak off to lay alone in the back of the house. Bandit was actually a good name for him.


Bandit was also a master escape artist. We chalked it up to being an unfixed male. That boy could maneuver his way out of our yard not matter what we did. And when he got out, he took off running. The best hope of catching him was if he stopped to poop in a neighbor's yard. We learned not to leave him outside alone.


We took Bandit to a veterinary cardiologist who did an ultrasound on his heart and told us that, not only did he have a defect causing the murmur, but he also had a hole in his heart. This hole allowed oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood to mix if he got to running our jumping too actively. When this happened, he would...faint? I guess? He'd be jumping at the back fence trying to get at their dog one minute, then he'd stop, sway, and fall over on his side. It was shocking and scary and we tried to settle him down when he got excited to keep it from happening too often.


Chip said, "If we don't want it to happen, we need to take him out on a leash and not let him run around." I said, "I'd rather he had a short life of running and playing than a long life of being restrained."


The heart specialist told us that normally, with just one of his heart defects, a dog would live two years, max. Bandit had two defects and was six at the time. He's a veterinary miracle. The doctor put him on atenolol, a beta blocker, to help take some of the work off his heart.


Bandit is now 8. And we've traded our tow-behind camper that we hardly ever used on a driver RV. That brings us up to today.


The first time we took the RV to the beach, Chip decided to leave around 9 PM. He thought he could avoid some traffic the first time he took it on the road. Since the beach is not that far from us, I would drive over the next morning. Neither of us wanted to take all three of the dogs alone, so Chip took Bandit and Shelby in the RV and I came with Thor, the high-anxiety puppy in the car.


Shelby's not a huge fan of traveling. She sometimes gets a bit car sick. She's a princess who prefers to be at home in her own castle. She's not thrilled about disruption to her routine.


But Bandit! Oh, Bandit! That boy sat in the passenger seat with a huge smile on his face! It turned out he LOVED to travel!




The second time we got ready to go to the beach, Bandit lost his damn mind. We spent two days packing up the RV and every single time we walked out the front door, Bandit jumped and howled like LEZZZZZ GOOOOOO!


After two trips in the camper, Bandit is literally a new man. He's got a spring in his step. He no longer tries to get out of the backyard. In fact, he comes trotting in now, where I used to have to go out and coax him in, and he'd lumber in like some kind of old man.


We used to think he was a runner because he's an unfixed male. And that might still be true. Or maybe he's just a traveler.