Living with 4 little dogs, all combined 34 pounds of them, is a bit like living with a circus, or really like living IN a circus! Dogs are basically toddlers that you allow to stay home by themselves when you go to work, or to the store, or on a date, or… And somehow we let them govern themselves while we carry on about the tasks of life.
Life with pups is hilarious and maddening and enlightening and sweet and warm and burdensome and perfectly imperfect. They each, in turn, have their own distinct personalities. Their own voice, if you will. One loves a walk, one not so much. One is food motivated, another love is the only motivator.
Taking 34 pounds, spread out in 4 different personalities, camping, is infinitely that much more entertaining. A circus on the road!!
Mia, the oldest, is our daughter’s first dog. Our daughter is an Angel, now, so Mia is permanently in our home, but she’s still our first grandpup. Mia is interested in everything, looking at the world as a lovely place, where surely only good things happen. Whatever is on the agenda, she’s excited to do it, because it’s going to be great! She doesn’t really like being in the car, it makes her nervous, because she is too much a thinker, but she really wants to go in the car; because it’s going to be great! And then she gets in the car and remembers that she doesn’t really like the car! And it’s not so great… But as long as the car is moving, and she has her kennel, she just muscles through, because, you know, it’s going to be GREAT! And then we get to the mountains and it IS great! The bed is great, the campsite is great, the walk is great. Well, maybe the stairs into the camper aren’t great, but as responsible grandpup parents, we take care of that. Mia is willing to go along with whatever is proposed, and makes sure that just because we are camping, doesn’t mean dinner isn’t still at 530p, dentasix at 7p, chicken chips at 8p, and a treat for every time, she or we enter the trailer!
Sophie is next, our daughters youngest. The spitfire of the group, all 5 pounds of her. She’s the self appointed protector of the pack, all of the pack, people and dogs alike. At home, she heads out the dog door everytime someone walks by, to make sure they don’t touch our stuff, her stuff, anybody’s stuff!! It took me a while to figure out her problem. Her problem was that I am gone enough, that she figured I couldn’t possibly have the perimeter under control!! Once I figured it out, I started telling her the warden gig was not her job. She didn’t much like it, but the defensive stance has much improved. She still barks, but I shush her, now, and the next bark is a diminutive inside voice. However, camping is open season for Sophie when it comes to protecting the pack! Who knows what could be out there? So, as we open the door to the camper, she heads out barking, just in case! God forbid she should ever actually have something to bark about! The beaver we saw outweighed her 3:1, and I’m sure she wouldn’t win in a moose vs Sophie contest! She likes the walks, too, like Mia does, and gets a little excited on the return trip, circling the other dogs and baiting them, especially Mia, into chase and wrestle games. So fun!
Next is Lacey. She should really just be called Daddy’s Girl, because pretty much, her sun rises and sets with her Dad. We got Lacey one week before our daughter got sick and as I spent a good amount of time attending to our girl, Lacey became Daddy’s Girl, because for the first time, he was the primary caretaker and trainer of one of our dogs. Lacey is fearless, (except when someone is wearing a hat) and darling and thoroughly impressed with herself. She pretty much doesn’t think the rules apply to her. Calling her to the “jail” we use when we leave the house, causes the quizzical “but you only mean them, right? Not me! I get to go with you, because I’m Lacey!” look. We thought for a long time that Lacey was the alpha of the group. (The humans are the true alphas but in the dog hierarchy…) primarily because she is so self assured. I’m pretty sure that she’s given this over to Sophie, just because she doesn’t really count herself as one of the masses, being much too princess-like to bother with ranking! Lacey is a little desperate when the car is being loaded, constantly underfoot, making sure we don’t forget she gets to go. Once she’s in her kennel in the car, she settles in for the long haul, because she’s content to just know she gets to go. Camping with Lacey was truly a toddler experience. She’s off to explore, and running back to touch base with her people, mostly her Dad, and off again. Occasionally needing to be stroked and held and talked to, just to reassure her that princesses do, in fact, like camping.
Finally, there is Mocha. She’s the biggest of the group, the biggest dog, at 16 pounds, and the biggest sissy. We affectionately call her Moose, because she doesn’t quite know where all her body parts are, though she insists she is a delicate flower. She is a lover, who just needs some attention, and butt-slams the other dogs out of the way to get it! Mocha is the one who lays on her back on the bed, feet in the air, while the others are thinking they might want to actually DO something. She doesn’t love walks, stands obediently at the door to the car, resigned to an adventure NOT of her choosing, and steals any treat, temporarily dropped, by anyone. She’s the one who rolls her eyes like a teenager. Protesting with attitude, the fact that just because we are in the mountains does NOT make her a country girl!
Hubs and I often antrhopomorphize the dogs, assigning them speech, inflection, human thought, because we’re pretty sure they have human thought! Anyone who has a dog pretty much knows they have human thought! Here’s a conversation from our recent camping trip
Mia: Yea, we’re here! Where are we? Isn’t it great!
Sophie: It’ll be great after I make sure there are no bear anywhere within 50 miles! Shhh, did you hear that?!
Lacey: Wait, I have to pee on your pee spot! Where’d you go? Where’s Dad? I LOVE camping.
Mocha: Are we done, yet?
Mia: A walk? Yea, a walk! OMG, I don’t think I can breathe, what’s the altitude here? Sophie, leave me alone! Isn’t this great?!
Sophie: I scared it away, did you see that? Let run! Come on you wimps, RUN! Wait, did you hear that?!
Lacey: I love a walk, don’t you? Where’s my Dad? Dad, love me!
Mocha: Seriously?! A walk?! Can we go home, now?
Mia: Hey guys, it’s dinner time. Let’s stare at them until they remember! They may need more vocal reminders than stares… Isn’t this great?!
Sophie: I’ve scared so many things away, I don’t think I can eat. But no, Mocha, you can’t have it! I’m just going to eat really slow so you start drooling! What was that?! Did you hear it?!
Lacey: I think I might be able to live on love alone… No Mocha, you can’t have mine, either. Where’s my Dad?
Mocha: Girls, focus! If you’re not going to eat, I’ll help you! When are we going home, again?
Love these Girls!!