When Lucienda Rosalita recently came to me and asked where she was from, I couldn’t believe it! Did she actually end that sentence with a preposition? She knows I was an English teacher for goodness sake. Although she is Mexican and speaks English as a second language, she’s lived in America long enough to know some simple grammar rules. But I digress. All we knew about her history was that she came to South Florida from Honduras where she barely escaped the illegal dog fighting circuit. A little dog with a big heart, she always had a scrappy disposition and a solid left jab, which she typically used in bouts well above her weight class, achieving a semi-cult status in Puerto Cortez. This all came to a grinding halt when she and her handler where forced to flee Central America due to poor investments, gambling debts, and bad blood.
How come nobody knows from where Chihuahuas hail? Isn’t it the same name as that town in Mexico? So what’s the problem? That’s exactly what our team deduced before deciding it was time to beg for some money to go on an expedition. The travel budget was likely to dry up as soon as the camera crew passed the first oyster bar so additional sponsorship opportunities would be necessary. Purina was one of our perfect matches. It’s a big company with lots of good ideas about pets and pet nutrition, and I was in the mood for some St. Louis Bar-B-Que. There would be no way they could possibly pass up a chance to invest in this kind of venture. I mean what could go wrong? Chihuahua, Mexico or Bust! Where we would turn our squinting, anxious eyes to the horizon and discover the last of the thundering herds of wild Chihuahuas.
Chihuahua Adventures! The Chee Team of Lucy, Finnegan, Charley Daniels, and Barkley Taylor, along with our NailTtravels camera crew, and a few assorted Dead Cats. were ready to pile into the Adventure Wagon and head north. It was time to travel up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri and hang with the folks at the Purina World Headquarters for a few days. It would be our starting platform for an epic adventure and an opportunity to find out just what the deal was with St. Louis.
Day 1: Fort Myers, Florida: The rest of the crew got infested with red bugs on a team-building trip and were in forced quarantine the day of our departure. Lucy and I opted to fly north to St. Louis and take care of the Purina business. Takeoff was delayed after customs officials confiscated five grams of Argentinian catnip from Lucy’s carry on. Luckily, she presented her doctor-issued red card which confirmed she was medicinally using it to treat an old ski injury.
Day 2: Chase Park Plaza/ St. Louis, Missouri: Caviar, Cadillacs, and drawn butter were the flavors of the day as our hotel lobby shared space with a movie theater. The kind of incense a man can enjoy all day long. The meetings at Purina went well considering the fact the employees were attempting to set a world record for most pets being brought to work and Lucy was a hot mess. Sometimes Chihuahuas get a little shaky. There were all manner of dogs, cats, and assorted other critters at the Purina headquarters. My dog got so excited she threw up on the security guard and chased a giant Turkish rabbit in circles around the second floor snack board room. This went on for some time until we discovered the egg roll truck out front.
Day 3: Purina Farms: The Purina folks gave us the run of their state of the art run dog show facility. Lucy was less than impressed with the flying disk demonstration even though it was some of the best trained dogs in the country. She was excited to try the distance pool jump where other dogs were working on their leaping abilities. Actually, Lucy wouldn’t get in a pool if she was on fire. She decided to be antisocial and remain on the bus listening to her precious Ke$ha.
3 Things We Learned About St. Louis
- Neighborhoods: Everyone walking around St. Louis is real proud of their local neighborhood. From our hotel in the Central West End to the Italian restaurants of The Hill, loyalties run a few blocks at a time.
- High Schools: Apparently, most of these people have lived here for a while because they know and care where each other went to high school. Maybe that’s as high as they go in school, like Hoosiers. I really don’t know. Go Green Wave.
- Cardinals: Who knew how many silly Cards fans were lurking in downtown St. Louis? The shadow of the Golden Arches falls on Busch Field, which is absolutely bursting with hay seed baseball fans. The Purina people invited us to watch them top the Cubs on a walk off homer in the tenth inning, but we had bigger fish to fry. Bigger than watching the Cubs play the Cardinals in St. Louis?? I chose poorly.
We thank St. Louis for taking us into her bosom. The beautiful people at Purina were absolute gems for not calling the authorities or throwing us into the street. Visit the Purina website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Find out the cool things they are doing to make your pet healthier. Really, I got to meet a couple of their pet food scientists. Who knew?
With the first leg of our Mexican odyssey behind us and western stars in our eyes, we waited for the NailTravels team to come scoop us up in ole St. Lou. You got off lucky this time Missouri. I didn’t stay out late and I didn’t bring up the SEC Championship game last year. Next time I come, no one gets out alive. Consider yourself warned.
Be sure to keep up with our roving pack of misfits in future installments as we head toward the Pecos River Valley, and the fabled Chihuahua city of gold.