Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

Published:

Our 12-year-old dog, Duke, had his first camping weekend in a very long time. It's been years since we even attempted to take him to the camper. The fun part is that everything is way different than it was before.

Back then, we really didn't do much at the camper but sleep. We didn't have a porch and I really didn't do much cooking. The only thing in the fridge was beer (which wasn't exactly a bad thing). Now, it's practically just like home.

I was afraid the whole camping experience might be too much for him, especially considering his age and his previous disdain for all things camping-related.

When we got there, the first thing we did was get Duke hooked up to the cable. That gives him "free run" of about 15 feet in either direction on a 30-foot run. He can even go down over the hill a little for some privacy on potty breaks.

And he can get right up on the porch. Then we just latch the gate and unhook him so he's free to roam on the porch and in the camper.

Once Dave and I got our stuff put away, I got Duke a throw pillow and invited him up on the couch. He was happy there weren't any rules about no doggies on the furniture and thrilled that the couch is so low he can get up there all by himself. Dave hates it because it's so low he can't get back up off it all by himself.

Then I put the fan on the little stool and aimed it right in Duke's face. It just "don't get no better than this."

And then it did. I went to the kitchen and started making lunch, which involved cutting up veggies, Duke's favorite. He sat right beside me waiting for me to drop something, just like at home.

Even easier than at home. It's about a 15-foot walk from the living room to the kitchen at home. At the camper, all you have to do is fall off the couch and you're in the kitchen.

When lunch was ready, Duke followed me out to the porch and sat under the table staring up through the glass with big plaintive eyes, begging Daddy for just a little taste. And Daddy dutifully responded by setting his paper plate down for Duke to take care of any leftovers. That's even better than at home.

Dukie always got the last bite of whatever Daddy had, until the puppy, Bo, moved in. BoBo's not allowed to have people food, which means Duke doesn't get any either. Unless Bo's not around.

After lunch, we took Duke for a walk all around the hill. He "marked" everything that had ever been marked before. I think he ran out of "ammunition" after the third or fourth tree, but he kept trying.

At bedtime, he was absolutely thrilled with the sleeping arrangements. He got to sleep on the bed with Mommy and Daddy and could even get up there by himself.

At home, it practically takes a crane to get his big behind on the bed, so he generally doesn't even bother trying.

After breakfast the next morning, Dave brought the Jeep around so we could start loading it. Not quite close enough for Duke to hop inside. He strained against his cable and basically threw a hissy fit until our oldest son unhooked him and put him in the Jeep.

And there he stayed, completely untethered, while we piled our belongings in around him. When we got home, we unpacked everything and he never moved. In fact, an hour later, he was still in the Jeep.

The back seat was folded down, he was lying on a spread-out sleeping bag, with all the windows, including the sun roof, wide open. I left the back door open with a throw rug on the ground below it so he didn't have to jump down in the gravel. (He's not spoiled or anything.)

He didn't budge. Bo was out on the cable and kept jumping up in the Jeep, presumably trying to convince Duke to come out.

Even though the Jeep was parked in the shade, Duke looked hot, so I got him a big bucket of cold water. He lapped up about half of it while Bo continued bouncing around him.

And then of course, the inevitable happened. The cable got wrapped around the bucket and Duke's belly was instantly immersed in a puddle of ice cold water.

That's when he finally let me help him down out of the Jeep. Poor thing was exhausted. And he'd only been a "camping kind of guy" for less than 24 hours. I hate to see what he looks like next week after our three-day holiday weekend.

Copyright 2014 Laura Nethken

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.