One of the best 3-day weekends in my life was spent with my husband and (then) 8 month old Tibetan Terrier at Camp Dogwood in Ingleside, IL for their Fall Camp in October, 2008. It's been 3 years since our first time there, but it is such a crazy, fun place for dog lovers who can be dog lovers in a place where there dogs can be dogs that I simply had to write about our experience. It was exhausting for the 3 of us. The post below, although anthropomorphizing, is what I imagine Wigglebutt Duncan must have felt about those 3 days.
The Dunkie Diaries:
My weekend there was exceptional and exciting for me, exhausting for my poor mom .... I did beach chasing (instead of dock diving), Frisbee, Rally-O, beginning agility, where I again ran off with a cone (seen on YouTube). Again, please understand that I was a mere 8 months old and I had never experienced an agility course before, much less all the other stuff. Lure course racing was FUN, total FUN! I'm going to try to get my mom to upload some pictures from my experience doing all this stuff.
October 17th .... mom and dad are getting ready for camp (or something is going on that's making me anxious). I'm in my crate. Strange people are coming in and out of my house with stuff (translation = leaking old gas water heater being replaced with new gas water heater) and I'm stuck in this awful crate. I wanna see what's going on so I whine and whine, but no one listens to me. How can they possibly ignore me?
October 17th at noon: FINALLY, I'm out of one crate and into my regular car crate. The car is stuffed with things and we're headed to someplace I've never been before. I protest; I whine; I sniffle; I bite at my crate (plastic and try to chew it but I'm unsuccessful; stupid humans. I''m feeling like a trapped cat and sounding like one.
October 17 at 1:30. We're at this strange place with lots of dogs. The energy level is off the charts and I'm so excited that all I can do is whine and bark. I can actually go off leash until my parents put me on leash for the camp orientation. Fun walk; I go through fields and more fields and someone human is talking to my pack leaders about what happens here and there. It doesn't make sense to me; all I want to do is play. Before dinner, I find a 14 month old miniature Schnauzer whose energy level and intensity is equal to or greater than mine. We tussle and wrestle. I am exhausted. After dinner (I'm in the car in crate, of course, while other dogs are barking while tied to a line outside), I finally get to see where our pack sleeps (at a Comfort Inn that is dog friendly). OMG - so many smells, I can hardly contain myself although I didn't pee or poo in the room. I had a hard time going to sleep because it was all so new, but I was happy that I had my familiar crate. Ah, sleep, so sweet ....
October 18th, first real camp day. My pack is talking to other people and I want to see what's going on .... I tried Rally Obedience and felt it wasn't really my thing - too many rules although I did my best because I really liked the treats. Second morning activity was my first experience with agility. WOW! So much stuff. I'm kind of scared but can always be coaxed with food. I did it all, even when they dropped the tunnel on me (stupid humans). I've never ate so well. I like this time, especially the food!!!!
October 18th: Camp photo. BORING .... but I did manage to pick up a lot of burrs in the process and my Puppia halter made some really neat matting that is maddening to my pack .... (sigh). I protest mightily in the evening when they try to take out the mats with a rotating detangler comb that doesn't hurt.
October 18th (late afternoon): Frisbee catching. What are these stupid people doing, but I love to play tug with it and I want that darn disk. So I run around and around trying to catch it and I find that it's actually fun!!!! I'm good at this, but need a softer disk for my very princely teeth. It was fun and I'd like to do it again.
October 19th: (morning): My mom is again trying to teach me to have better recall. Doesn't she know it's pointless? I suck at this but she's apparently learned some tricks to confound me into not pulling on the leash. If her extended TT pack is interested, maybe she'll share some secrets she's learned with them because it something they seem to always be talking about.
October 19th (late morning): LURING .... OMG, I go up to this strange place and see all these retrievers, labs, and collies so unbelievably excited about this stupid plastic bag thing that runs on a ring all over a huge area. I must patient await my turn, and my mom goes into the middle of the field to encourage me to chase it because I don't know what I'm supposed to do (observational learning is not my strong point). This plastic thing starts to to move and my mom is yelling in encouragement and running with me and then I think that she is more fun than that stupid plastic thing and run to her and decide that mowed grass is even better than my mom. Eventually, I try it again, and I LOVE IT! Even though I'm totally exhausted, I run the whole course chasing it with my mom and dad cheering me on. I'm a happy dude.
October 19th: Good Canine Citizen Prep (and unknowingly, test). I am next to a hyper mixed-breed dog and 3 Newfies who look like horses to me. I'm nervous. I can sit-stay better than anyone but being in a crowd makes me nervous, along with the shadows on the floors. When I'm supposed to do all those stupid turns, I panic and stop. My mom doesn't understand the danger there .... (I do). Everyone except for my friend, Rudy, the Schnauzer, who has already passed the GCT passes; I have to do the dangerous walk again, but daddy made me practice with mom and I got what I believe was 'pitty' pass, but heck, a pass is a pass even though I'm not a great citizen nor am I sure that it's that important to me.
October 19th: After lunch .... Mommy is exhausted. She can do no more. She sleeps in the car for 2 hours while daddy takes me to a targeting workshop. Daddy gets the concept. I try hard but I don't get it. The treats are still good. And I am one food-driven dog. October 19th: Mid afternoon .... Daddy makes mommy get out of the car (she doesn't want to; she wants to keep on sleeping) and we go to a canine massage class. She massages me. I like it!!!! Want more.
October 19th: Late afternoon. I am in puppy social hour. I am the youngest - OK, the second youngest camper there- I'm a puppy, hey??? But apparently, I've intimidated a Dachshund in the small dog/puppy group and there are strong hints that I need to move on. My mom heeds those hints and takes me to a larger dog group where I am a little intimated, but the energy level is manageable .... I don't want to get a bad rep(utation) at my first outing and have to wear an orange scarf that indicates that I have issues, so I guess I must behave. Did I mention the beach (sand) and the water. HEAVEN! I almost swim even without the vest that mom bought but forgot to bring with her to the beach. I want to learn dock diving; the labs are awesome and I'm sure that with my great looks I would be great, too, although not a record winner ... maybe next time. At least I got to dig, wrestle with Rudy and chase other dogs and pee in the water.
October 20th (Monday morning): I am entered in agility 1 and 11. Giant laugh, here. Just didn't know what to do with bending tunnel so decided to take matters into my own hands, thinking that the cone that marked the station was so much more interesting than the stupid tunnel. So I ran away with with all over with field with multiple humans chasing me. This is a fun game. Must do it again! Finally they caught me, and kept me from doing it again. I got through the L-shaped tunnel although you would think if humans were really that smart that they would know that the straightest line between 2 points is a straight one. Stupid humans. It starts raining; camp is almost over; Mommy is exhausted; daddy is exhausted; I think I'm exhausted, but I'm so dirty and newly matted (that I squeal about when mommy tried to remove them) that she takes to me a groomer on the way home.
I'm a superstar on the table, but hate to be left alone in the kennel. They finally come and get me. Gosh, just look at the photo below and decide for yourself.
It was good to be at Camp Dogwood, but it's now good to be home. I know that anyone close enough to make the trip will have as great a time as I did. And there's a great photographer, Renny Mills, who takes tons of pictures of the action there. For those of you who may be interested, Camp Dogwood offers 3 sessions per year: Winter, Spring, and Fall. It's fun and a great bonding experience for you and your dog.
Signing off for now,
Wigglebutt Duncan, aka Dunkie, aka, Dunk-a-doodle, aka Crock-o-Dunkle, aka Skunky Dunkie