Dog Camp - June 2010 Session

It has been two years, but Maian Meadows Dog Camp made a grand return the weekend of June 18-20, to the shores of Lake Wenatchee, Washington. We went back to our original location of Camp Zanika Lache, and were delighted to be on the "dry side" of the Cascades.

This June session included 27 wonderful people and about the same number of their even more wonderful dogs. My own Finn MacCool had never been to dog camp. I'm happy to report that with just one exception he comported himself like a true gentleman and was a terrific camp host. He - and I - had a blast. Thank you, dog campers! To paraphrase new camper Sydney, age eleven: You rock!

Most of the camp group, lined up for a Saturday afternoon games session.

Enjoying the sunshine and the games. These were the smallest dogs in camp: Willow, Jake and Cross Tie. That's Sydney, ace photographer, on the left.

A morning hike up to Hidden Lake. And I mean morning: those interested in the hike met up and left camp around 6:45 AM. It was worth it. You can't see all the dogs because they're well ahead of us, leading the way with enthusiasm, happy to frolic off leash, especially when we hit the single track trail up through the forest. The waterfall feeding Hidden Lake was rushing, gorgeous to see. Alas, none of my photos of the falls turned out.

More Saturday afternoon games. Willow will do anything for a treat.

Jan and her Shetland Sheepdog Max demonstrating one of the "tricks" required in a game: Kissing. Tough trick for a dog.

Saturday evening's costume and limerick contest, in the old lodge building. Janet and her college age daughter Amy brought Eli the Chesapeake retriever all the way from Calgary to attend camp. They performed You Can Dance (Abba) from Mama Mia and will now forever be known in camp circles as The Dancing Queens. Even the other dogs seem to realize they couldn't compete. The Dancing Queens took home first prize in the costume contest.

One camper posted similar photos of the Dancing Queens on her Facebook page with this caption: "They're Canadian. Does that explain it?"

Playing on the beach. The lake level was very high from snow melt, covering much of the beach, but that didn't stop dogs and their people from frolicking and swimming (well, several dogs swam; the only human swimmer was Sydney, and she's eleven).

Finn visits with campers on the dock.

The thin slice of beach, enjoyed by campers. Finn decided he'd like to be a water dog, but wasn't eager to chase sticks if he lost contact with the bottom and had to swim. Probably because he was totally outclassed by Eli the Canadian dog (just behind the big stump), and Dudley Sparksfordshire (tugging on the stick). Those boys LOVE to swim for sticks.

Amy soaking up some dog love and attention on the dock.

Lynn and her pal Alley. They're regulars at camp. Lynn and Alley won the limerick contest with the following three limericks:

There once was a dog named Alley
Who preferred Camp Zanika to Bali
She looked like Attila
Dressed like Dogzilla
And scared every Tom, Dick and Sally

There once was a dog named Finn
Who ate all the treats in the bin
He went down in the ditch
And met a cute bitch
And took up a life of sin.

There once was a dog named Alley
Whose parents called her McPhally
She was so keen
On the Dancing Queens
She picked up and moved to Calgary!

Patty going to whatever lengths were required to get Hank to Jump! as a required trick during a games session. Patty and Hank were new to camp, but quickly got into the spirit of things, as their limerick submission (winning second prize) proves:

There is a dog from Seattle
At camp, he's champ at dog paddle
His name, it is Hank
Alpha is his rank
When he barks, others skedaddle!

And Hank's submission:

At camp I plan a panty raid
Don't care if you are whole or spayed
Hidden in your dorms
Panties of all forms
Will fall to my canine brigade.

Grannies and thongs, high and low cuts
All panties that have been on butts
We'll also find sox
For our big toy box
Me and my brigade of camp mutts.

We've smelled and seen undies of all kinds
The frilly-est panties we will find
Hide them from our view
We'll sniff old and new
Our pack will hunt them on your behind!

(Well! The things you learn about people and their dogs!)

Finn showing off for Ella. These two first met in Idaho, shortly after I adopted Finn, in the summer of 2008. Ella and her people, Megan and Sam, have been to camp several times. They were vacationing in Idaho and stopped by McCall to visit. Finn was still intact, then, and Ella couldn't flirt enough with him. Megan was a little embarrassed by Ella's behavior until I assured her that my own two older, dignified Malamutes did exactly the same thing with him! At camp, it didn't seem to matter to Ella that Finn is no longer intact; she still likes him, despite his unwillingness to share his sticks with her.

I now know how to wear Finn out: a weekend of dog camp! I've never seen Finn so knackered! [Translation, from Canadian to American: tired!]

Usually, he follows me wherever I go around the house, upstairs or downstairs. After we got home from camp and while I was unpacking, I realized he wasn't upstairs with me. As I started to head downstairs, this is what I saw. I figured there was no way he would stay there as I tried to sneak by to get to the camera downstairs, but he didn't budge. In fact, I moved around and past him several times as I snapped more photos of him.

He never even opened an eye! It took him a couple of days to fully recover and return to his usual nut-job, high energy self. The same was true for me. Dog camp is a blast, and exhausting for all involved!

It has been...awhile, since I've blogged. Funny how the urge to scratch the writing itch comes and goes. I think I'm ready to scratch again. Hosting a session of dog camp - after two years - was inspiring to me in so many ways. It reminded me how much I love dogs, and the people who love them. It reminded me how much joy can be found in simple things. And how much my friends and chosen family of fellow dog-nuts means to me. June 20th was Father's Day, my first since I lost my father last August. I can't think of a better way to have spent that day than at camp, surrounded by these wonderful dogs and people. So thank you, dog campers, for returning so much joy to my life, and accepting Finn MacCool into the fold. I just wish my girls - Maia and Meadow, the camp namesakes and my reason for creating it - could have participated, but they tell me that aging joints wouldn't appreciate all the hullabaloo, and they were happy just to smell all the camp smells on Finn and me when we returned home.