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I know this because my boyfriend Duncan and I moved from Montana to Oregon last month. But as harrowing as the move was for us, it was nothing compared to the confusion and insecurity our two dogs had to endure.

Our first dog is - to put it delicately - simple-minded. Our other dog is a neurotic German shepherd mix with agonizingly low self-esteem who has taken on the role of "helper dog" for our simple dog. Neither dog is well-equipped with coping mechanisms of any kind.

When we started packing, the helper dog knew immediately that something was going on. I could tell that she knew because she becomes extremely melodramatic when faced with even a trivial amount of uncertainty. She started following me everywhere, pausing every so often to flop to the ground in an exaggeratedly morose fashion - because maybe that would make me realize how selfish I was being by continuing to pack despite her obvious emotional discomfort.

When the soul-penetrating pathos she was beaming at me failed to prevent me from continuing to put things in boxes, the helper dog became increasingly alarmed. Over the ensuing few days, she slowly descended into psychological chaos. The simple dog remained unfazed.

Unfortunately for the helper dog, it took us nearly a week to get everything packed up. By the time we were ready to begin the first part of our two-day journey to Oregon, she seemed almost entirely convinced that she was going to die at any moment. She spent the entire car ride drooling and shaking uncontrollably.

But the simple dog seemed to enjoy the trip.

Even though she threw up seven times.

She actually seemed to like throwing up. To the simple dog, throwing up was like some magical power that she never knew she possessed - the ability to create infinite food. I was less excited about the discovery because it turned my dog into a horrible, vomit-making perpetual motion machine. Whenever I heard her retch in the backseat, I had to pull over as quickly as possible to prevent her from reloading her stomach and starting the whole cycle over again.

But as far as the simple dog was concerned, it was the best, most exciting day of her life.

It wasn't until we stopped for the night in Umatilla that the simple dog became aware that there was any reason for her to feel anxious. But at around two o'clock in the morning, the simple dog finally realized that something was different and maybe she should be alarmed.

This particular dog is not anywhere near the gifted spectrum when it comes to solving problems. In fact, she has only one discernible method of problem solving and it isn't even really a method.

But making high-pitched noises won't solve your problem if your problem is a complete inability to cope with change. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the simple dog did not understand this concept and she went right ahead and made an interminable amount of noise that was just invasive enough to make sleeping impossible.

After an hour of failed attempts at comforting the simple dog, her constant, high-pitched emergency-distress-signal became a huge problem.



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