Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Griffin is what I like to call an aggressive cuddler. He is 70 pounds of enthusiasm and is eager to share his love with every person he meets. Given the opportunity, he will head-butt and wiggle his way onto your lap, slobber soaking your shirt or pants (or both), and smash his face into your face. He doesn't know how big and strong he is and just wants to be cuddled like a baby.

Unfortunately not everyone appreciates aggressive cuddling. Two of my staff have arrived to camp and Griffin and Olivia are re-adjusting. Olivia has been screeching for about 24 hours now- I'm not sure what her problem is exactly, I think she is trying to make sure she is still the center of attention. I'm hoping that she calms down soon.

Meanwhile, Griffin is thrilled to have more people to love. He's being as charming as a dirty, smelly, slobbery, hairy, 70 pound bulldog can be, but Program Director Paul still hasn't quite warmed to Griffin's intense love. I hope that Griffin calms down and gets used to everyone soon. As I type this, he is sitting on Paul's feet. He has gradually been inching closer to him all evening, gazing up adoringly, whimpering and trying to climb onto his lap whenever Paul appears to not be looking.

It's going to be a long summer if Griffin can't learn about personal space...

Monday, May 23, 2011


I buy the dogs frozen bones from a ritzy spoiled pet boutique near my house. Bones cost $3.50 apiece and even though I know it is ridiculous, I buy them. Bones are a nice treat and also a great distraction when I have to get something done and want to keep them occupied. The frozen kind are great because they last forever, don't chip or splinter and don't get soft and lodge in their throats. 

The problem  is that there are no fancy pet supply stores in  northern Minnesota, I have to stock up at home and try to make them last all summer.

But last week I was at the grocery store and it occurred to me that there are farms everywhere and those fancy frozen bones were once part of a cow. I described what I was looking for and the butcher told me he'd check with the farmer and get back to me. He called me back a few days later to let me know that it would be .72 cents per pound. For a fraction of the cost I regularly spend, I walked away with 35 pounds of bones.

After four years of criticizing this small town and lamenting all of the things it doesn't have, it might have just won me over...

Industrial size pan of frozen bones for the babies...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Whirlwind Weeks

"WHY aren't we in the woods?!"
 Last weekend I left camp for an 8 hour journey south to Iowa for a visit with my best friend. It was good to escape the woods for a few days although, I have to admit that I missed the puppies almost immediately. While I was gone, they spent some quality time with their Grandpi.

After the weekend, I had to stay at home for the week to take care of all of the final pre-summer things I need to do before officially moving to camp (even though I've already been here for almost 2 months). But I couldn't be without my babies for a whole week, so on Sunday, my dad made a special trip down to drop them off at home.

After 4 days apart, it was good to go back to waking up
to this face!
Our plan was to meet at 2:30. At 1pm, he called to ask where I was (on the road). Apparently they were up by 5am each morning demanding breakfast, refused to get off the couch for most of the weekend and absolutely wouldn't cooperate on the multiple walk attempts, and by Sunday, Grandpi was ready to be puppy-free.
"How sad do we have to look before we can return to camp?"

Monday-Thursday, Olivia, Griffin and I went back to pre-camp schedule. I had to go to my office or run errands most of the day and so they had to be inside, on their own. They didn't get to run free, play nonstop, have constant attention and they were NOT happy about the return to city life. They spent most of the week looking sad and staring at the car as if to ask when they could go back.

On Thursday, when I loaded up the car, they eagerly rushed to the gate and attempted to squeeze their little bodies out. Twenty trips out to the car later, we were all exhausted, but they leaped and bounced when I finally let them out of the yard to the car. When we arrived back at camp we immediately headed out to the field to play with the ball, ran through the yard, jumped in the pool and joyfully basked in the glory of life in the woods.

Olivia "helping" as I painted my spare room
On Friday, camp welcomed almost 70 volunteers for the annual work weekend. Olivia and Griffin greeted guests enthusiastically, monitored with great interest many of the projects, soaked in the attention from all of the people and followed me back and forth across camp all day long.
Olivia climbed up there on her own.
Griffin was pretty unhappy he couldn't get up with her.
The past two weeks have been busy, but with summer around the corner, we are getting even busier each day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Two weeks ago it was snowing and today was 80 and sunny- that's MN weather I guess.

I know it's summer because we got out the pool today. After playing with the ball, Griffin and Olivia were hot and panting, so I dug the pool and the hose out from under the deck and attempted to clean it out, except that two excited puppies kept banging into me, fighting for the hose and eventually we were all soaking wet and I gave up- they can have a dirty pool until it gets warm enough for me not to mind getting soaked.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Exploring the Beach

It rained all day today, so when it cleared up, the puppies and I headed outside to get some exercise and burn off pent up energy. We walked to the edge of camp, through the woods by the boys cabins and then back across camp to the beach. We stayed at the beach for about 20 minutes, exploring, drinking lake water and getting wet and sandy. The we returned to the house, dried off on my pant leg and the couch (because the towel I had ready was just not good enough) and settled down with some rawhides and relaxing. Another perfect puppy day in the life of Olivia and Griffin...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Brave or Baby?

I've mentioned Griffin's transition from really independent to a complete bundle of need in the past (see http://bulldogbrigade3.blogspot.com/2010/12/neediest-dogs-alive.html). At camp, it's slightly different.

From time to time, I will let him outside and a few minutes later, I won't be able to see him anywhere. I will call his name and get no response. I yell louder, and get shriller and when I am verging on the edge of full blown panic, he will trot back to the house, looking proud of himself and quite satisfied. I saw him behind the Welcome Center today, 50 or more yards away from the house, inspecting something, but overall, I'm not really sure where he goes. 

This morning he was missing for a few minutes and when he returned, his head was covered in dirt. I was so shocked I exclaimed, "WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? Were you in a tunnel?!?!" He just wiggled happily and let me clean him up.

I started to worry that he was getting too brave and I was anxiously thinking about what I was going to do when camp was filled with people and sounds and exciting things to lure him away.

And then I spent the afternoon with the neediest puppy alive and while he might be brave every now and then, he's really such a baby I don't think I need to worry about him straying very far from me. 

And if you are wondering, after turning off the camera, I did in fact move all of my papers and computer and worked from the couch. As soon as we were all snuggled in (my laptop precariously balanced on my lap and papers literally resting on top of the bulldogs I was sandwiched between), Griffin was quite and both dogs snored happily for several hours while I worked.