Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

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Our oldest son said, "Mom, it'd be easier if you take Bo when you and Dad and Duke go out to the camper." Easier? For him, maybe. We're going to have a devil of a time.

For one thing, you'd never believe we're only going for the weekend with everything we pack.

The whole back of our Jeep is packed to the rim with our clothes duffie, pop, beer, ice, a food cooler, the laptop, miscellaneous stuff needed at the camper, and a pizza because I don't like to cook on Friday nights.

And then this summer, we started taking Duke with us. So Dave gets to pack all that stuff, but remember to leave a nice big hole right in the middle for an 85-pound 12-year-old dog who doesn't have enough brains to sit down before he falls down on the ride there.

And a couple weeks ago, we got to take the puppy, Bo, with us, too. The first problem was getting the boys loaded. Duke first, since he takes up the most room. Then Dave in the driver's seat, then me and Bo riding shotgun.

And then hope neither one of the dogs calms down enough to notice there's a whole pizza unguarded in the way-back.

Getting them unloaded at the camper was almost as much fun. Get Bo out and hooked to the cable first thing. Then get Duke out and up on the porch with the gate closed. I was in no mood for chasing loose dogs all over the hill.

I told Dave I'd rather chase Duke than Bo and he laughed hysterically because I really seemed to believe I could outrun the dog.

He's old and fat and gimpy. I could take him. Yeah, right. A couple of years ago, he nearly caught a deer in the backyard. Our son and I were standing there watching a young deer eat apples off our tree, barely taking notice of us.

What it did notice and what I forgot about was Duke free-wheeling in the yard. The deer took off, Duke took off and our son was right on their heels. I didn't know either one of them could run that fast.

Our son is a very hard worker, but not much into walking, let alone running. He'd get a ride to his car in the driveway if he could.

Fortunately at the camper, neither dog ended up loose. It was a bit of an adventure unloading the Jeep with the porch gate closed, though, hefting everything up over the railing.

That was a big weekend for the boys. Bo's first one at his own camper when his Mom and Dad got there. And it was a long one with the Fourth of July tucked neatly in the middle.

That was a bit of a nightmare. Especially for Duke. He's terrified of loud noises. The fireworks were supposed to start at 9:30 so the plan was to give him the meds from the vet at about 8:30.

And the first big boom came at about 5 o'clock, so that's when Duke got a pill and dove face-first into his hidey-hole.

I tried to cover the noise outside by closing all the blinds, turning up the radio and running the fan on high right by his head.

They said the fireworks display was really something this year. I have no idea, I spent the whole time on the couch holding my big fat baby.

The next day, we went to the pavilion for a bit and came home to no Duke. Our son and his fiancée decided to lure him out of his hidey-hole so he could go to their camper and hang out with Bo. Try to calm him down a little.

He was home by bedtime and didn't seem any worse for wear. The next day I planned a nice leisurely meal of leftover pork chops and potatoes before we packed up and headed home. Only I couldn't find the pork chops to save my life. I looked everywhere -- twice.

Our son drove by on a trash run and I meekly asked if he had any idea what might have happened to a whole bag of pork chops. "They're at my place. How do you think I got Duke out of his hiding spot," he said. Ah, tease the fat dog with food. Works every time.

We didn't have to tease him with anything to get him back in the Jeep. As soon as Dave backed it up to the porch, Duke was ready to pile in. We just packed everything in around him.

And I didn't have to have Bo dump a bucket of cold water on him to get him out of the Jeep this time either. He was ready for a nap in the comfort of his own home.

Copyright 2014 Laura Nethken

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