Friday, July 6, 2012

Catching Up

Oh what a summer it’s been. Pre-camp and staff training were LONG days and there wasn’t much to update. Despite the 12-14 hour days of busy-ness, I still found several opportunities each day to take Olivia and Griffin out to the field to play. The weather was mild and didn’t rain much, so in between playing, they were content to alternate between laying on the couch and sunning themselves outside. I leave my door open from the time we get up until it gets too buggy to keep in open at night, so they have total freedom to come and go.

Griffin hanging out with some of the staff on a break

The first week of camp was wonderful. No matter how much I talk about Olivia and Griffin being camp dogs and loving their lives at camp, I sometimes forget just how much they enjoy kids and thrive on the attention. During activity periods, they stay in my house or in my office because otherwise they like to join in kickball or make their way to the archery field and they tend to be a bit distracting. During in between times, I usually have them on their leashes to prevent them from stealing the 4-square ball or scaring any kids who are unsure of them. There were about 10 kids who took on the responsibility of dog walker that week and so I pretty much just hung out and watched them surround my dogs and pet them and talk to them. They dogs love it, are very well behaved when kids walk them and everyone was happy.
Griffin with some campers

Olivia hanging out with her biggest fan at camp
 After dinner, there is a 30 minute period when cabins can do anything they want and for the youngest two cabins (7 and 8 year olds) that time was “chase Griffin and Olivia on the field” time. I brought the dogs to the field to chase their ball and then 10-12 seven year olds would join in. By the end of the half hour, campers and dogs were both worn out and the counselors and I were mutually happy with the energy burned off.

The summer was off to a wonderful start and then the lake flooded. The water was really high and then it rained and then there was a flood. The water level is 9 feet higher than usual and our camp on a peninsula turned into an island and I watched for a week as more and more of the edges of the property got swallowed up. I cancelled the second week of camp and then the third and fourth sessions as well.

Exhausted after a long day of playing

Bored without any campers to play with

June 23-29, a handful of staff and I stayed at camp to make sure nothing floated away and to try to barricade buildings against the water. I had plenty of time to take the dogs to the field to play, so they were mostly satisfied, although I think they were a little confused why there were no kids to play with them.

The water crested on Friday (June 29) and has been receding slowly. We left camp for a week of rest on Sunday (July 1) and will return on Monday (July 9).

This week has been incredibly difficult for Olivia and Griffin. I have been reminding myself over and over that they are not going to die of boredom or crabby-ness, but I am stressed out every time I look at them.

First of all, the weather has been record breaking (it was 100 degrees yesterday) and it feels like an oven outside. It’s difficult to breathe and miserable to move. My house is refrigerator cool at 70 degrees and so the puppies have been prisoners inside. Olivia wants to go out, but after 5 minutes of laying outside, even she barks to get back inside. I

It’s been 5 days without chasing her ball and Olivia is so sad that I think she could be on a homeless animal commercial (the kind with the Sarah McLaughlin music in the background that I have to turn off the second it comes on tv). I feel anxious and terrible and like the worst bulldog mom alive, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve tried walking them twice, but we only went one block and then we had to turn around.

Griffin is content to enjoy the air conditioning and chew on one of the many chew treats he has, but even he’s looking a little sad. He’s an incredibly social dog and I think he misses the staff and kids and enormous amount of attention he’s used to.

I know there are dogs that are abused, neglected, don’t have enough to eat, are sick or injured and have actual difficult lives. My very pampered, very spoiled dogs are not having their every desire met this week and are miserable and I feel SO guilty. But they will persevere and we will be back to camp soon and they can forget about this week of torture. 

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