A few weeks ago my parents invited us, my significant other, my dogs and I to go camping with them. Young Comet had recently been exhibiting a new behavior, barking at every smell in the air after the sun set! So we decided, for my parents sake and ours, instead of bringing Comet to the camp-out we sent him to Camp Bow Wow instead. This turned out to be an incredibly smart decision and he had a blast. I know he had a blast because I checked in on him through-out the trip with my smart phone. Camp Bow Wow has cameras streaming live to the internet during all their play time! I have to admit, there was a few moments where I had to remind myself I was there to enjoy camping, not watch my dog play on the internet!
Anyway, back to the camping trip.Just as the sun was setting we arrived onto a 600 acre piece of CRP land ( Conservation Resource Program, essentially a nature preserve) and set up camp. My mom split a cooked hamburger between her grandogs Bugsy, Harry, and Cane.Cane is my sisters Husky. I put Bugsy on a long leash and we headed out for a hike. My mom had said she had heard mooing at one point and speculated cattle might be near by. I preferred not to worry my dog might run off to heard some cattle, so kept Bugsy on leash all night and decided to re-access in the morning.
As I closed my eyes and snuggled under my sleeping bag these are the last words I said. "The tent is secure and there is no way the dogs can get out, right?"
"Right" Craig said. And with that we nodded off to sleep a little before midnight. The dogs asleep at our feet.
At 4am I was woken by the sound of an animal. A rustling sound repeatedly circled the tent as I shook Craig awake, thinking a raccoon smelled our stash of honey roasted peanuts! Harry was fast asleep at our feet but as I woke Craig I realized if Bugsy was in our tent with us, he would have been barking at this animal intruder.
"It's Bugsy!" I Gasped and crawled to the tent door finding a small portion of it unzipped. As soon as I hit the door Bugsy was right there and jumped into the tent as I unzipped it further. A wet mess of burrs and fur his tongue hanging from his mouth, I thought he seemed relieved to be back in the tent with us. Bugsy laid down near us and we zipped the tent closed. "Well, I guess he's okay off leash here" I said and snuggled into my sleeping bag again to sleep.
In the morning everyone was surprised to see poor Bugsy covered from head to paw in burs and took turns pulling them off. After breakfast we loaded Harry into the back of the Scout (a sort of four wheeler/golf-cart hybrid)and drove the paths with Bugsy running along side until finally at the top of a hill he ran along the passenger side and barked. We slowed the Scout and he jumped in for the rest of the ride! By lunchtime we had the scissors out and he was starting to look like a dog again. The land was beautiful. A small lake was just feet from out campsite and hills on all sides filled with trees and brush and a groomed path or two. Some of the group sat in a small fishing boat all day just fishing for the sport of it. The whole group had been seeing turkeys meandering about the trails. I expressed surprise that the turkeys didn't seem afraid of the presence of the dogs. The group laughed.
"That turkey would be up in a tree so fast and just laugh at a dog!" They laughed.
I worked on Bugsys' coat until my lunch settled and we took off for a hike. We didn't get 200 yards away before we ran into a turkey. Bugsy didn't even notice the thing! I couldn't believe it. So I got as close as I could to the turkey and tried to draw Bugsys' attention to it. Bugsy had no clue what I was getting at. My guess is, as camouflaged as the turkey was in all that foliage Bugsy just couldn't see it. But when Bugsy crossed the path of where the turkey had walked he smelled it and followed its' trail. I was all excited for him to see and smell a live turkey but when he got close, the turkey did not jump into a tree. The turkey walked into the face of a steep ravine and was trapped. Bugsy maimed that turkey. I called Bugsy and he came running, and the turkey went hobbling off and fell into a creek. Its wing was clearly very damaged. I could see it carrying its wing out from its body in an awfully crooked manner. Also I had seen Bugsy bite it's neck. The turkey was a goner. Not the kind to let an animal suffer, or a good meal go to waste with Craigs help we caught the turkey again and I snapped its neck.
I walked back to the campsite with the turkey in my hand wondering what the group would say. The turkey was definitely not laughing. But before we could reach the campsite a four wheeler rumbled up behind us. I knew immediately that this was not a member of our group. I turned to see an unfamiliar bearded man driving up to me. He identified himself as the caretaker of the land.The lump in my throat now growing, as he inquired about dead turkey in my hand I think I may have actually pointed to my dog and said "The dog did it!" After all this was a nature preserve and it was not even turkey season! The man used a knife to cut the head from the turkey and said "It's illegal as hell but you might as well get some good eat'n out it. You know how to clean a turkey?" I suddenly realized that no, I had no idea how to clean a turkey. Craig surprised me and took the turkey and the knife and said "yeah.". I went to collect some plastic bags for us to put the turkey in and and asked a group member to assist. I felt terrible. My dog made a mess and I didn't even know the first thing about cleaning it up, meaning cleaning the turkey. So I stood by and watched. We put the pieces into bags in the freezer and again headed out for our hike. Bugsy had a blast sniffing around, running ahead of us, then running back. I kept a close eye on him though and a pocket of treats just in case. I regularly reinforced his recall, to prevent the possibility of his investigation of another turkey. We had a great time. Craig and I did not eat the turkey, but Bugsy, Comet and Harry did.
Ever think about the amazing accuracy of a dogs power to shed water?
You know what I'm talking about, that head to tail shake a dog does right after you bath him.
Usually I am more often interested in getting away so I don't get a shower!
Check out this article Shake it Off in National Geographic this month.
Here is a snap of my friend Raven. He was doing me a favor by testing out a new ball I picked up at Leash on Life. What a good boy!
I play a fair amount of fetch at my house so I love a good ball launcher. Recently I thought I would try a new product called Petmate Go Get it Ball Launcher. It was an epic fail. I wanted to try the product because I have some back issues and thought the extending arm would be helpful in reducing repetitive bending for me. But the extending arm flew out or pulled in when you didn't want it to, like when trying to launch the ball. And the turning head made picking up the ball difficult. So I'm returning to my old favorite. The Chukit. I had been using a small Chukit for some time and loved it, but it had chew marks on the handle. I purchased the longest Chukit Ball Launcher I could find and it works amazingly well.
I can't help myself. I have to share this fun video by the SPCA of Wake County.I have to say the facility is impressive. My apologies if you get Abba stuck in your head for the entire day, like I did!