Monday, October 27, 2014

Nicki Goes Camping!!

Well! With the kitchen renovation STILL in progress, the Hubby decided it would be a good idea to take a break and visit friends. Yes! Awesome idea! Ummm...all of their extended family is also visiting. No Problem! Let's GO! Um.....and they said there might be floor space for us.

Wait - what? Floor space? We're OLD! And...CRABBY! Or at least achy. Hmmm. There's gotta be a solution to this.



Ok - back to Plan A: LET'S GO!

So we pack up the tent (a ginormous circus-y thing left over from the days of the Girl Scout Troop), the air mattress (the REAL double. Air mattress manufacturers do not have the same specs as regular mattress manufacturers. In the camping world, "Double" = single, and "Queen" = just barely the Double you have at home.), the sleeping bags, various and sundry accoutrement, and Nicki's crate.

Yes, crate. You may think that's mean. I used to. I tried "crate training" our beloved Border Collie, Daisy. She HATED the crate. But, as it turned out, maybe not because it was a crate, but because we had an all-metal cage-style crate. Yup - that sounds awful. But for Daisy - the awful part was the metal. I didn't learn that until much later. Daisy was extremely sound sensitive, and anything metal was automatically a no-go. She wouldn't even retrieve a toy that landed on our metal heating grates in the floors. A quick paw swipe and victory would have been hers - but the metal was as much poison to her as a crucifix to a vampire.

But I digress.

When we brought Nicki home from her final foster home, we initially put her into a brand new, very open but not fully metal, crate. Of course, halfway home, I brought her into my lap in the front passenger seat, where she finally relaxed and fell soundly asleep - safe at last.

Our pups know when they're safe with us. Doubly so for our rescued pups.

Still - for the first few weeks, we put Nicki in her crate at night and closed the door. In that way, she had a safe place near us (the crate was in our bedroom) where she could rest and be safe, and we could know that she wasn't scouting the rugs for a midnight pee.... 

Eventually, we'd leave the bedroom door closed, but her crate open. That extended her "den" to our entire bedroom. No peeing in the den. And it also allowed for cuddling in the bed with us - when she finally became comfortable enough with us!! A major coup! Still, even with the crate door bungeed open, Nicki often heads into the crate to take her personal time. It is her space. We respect it.

But - back to camping. Whenever there's a situation in which Nicki might either come under stress or be unsure of appropriateness (like peeing inside the tent), putting her into her crate and closing the door solves all problems. She does not feel restricted. How do I know? Because a dog that has been mistreated lets you know when she's being mistreated - even if it's only in her mind.

We set up camp in our friends' yard, and set up the inside of the tent almost the same as our bedroom at home. Nicki's crate was positioned so she could see us all night, but the door was kept closed to keep the possibility of negatives down.

And with all that set and ready, Nicki had a great time camping! She got to cuddle with us on our "bed" in the mornings, took long walks down the roads, and showed not one inkling of getting into the bay. No swimming for her! There were kids visiting, and Nicki loves kids. Bonus! There were lots of extra people to charm, and charm she did. One friend even told her husband that she wanted to get a Mini Aussie. Of course, I suggested New Spirit 4 Aussies . When people meet Nicki, they're always surprised to learn that she's a rescued dog.

We all got to hang out by the bay, spend hours talking with friends, and just relax. And Nicki got to do something that all dogs want to do, but rarely achieve: she got to spend two entire days outside with us! Dogs often only get to be outside with their people for walks. Or, unfortunately, as Nicki had been with the guy from whom she was rescued, they're tied out all the time - alone. These few days, we all spent as much time outdoors as possible - together.
Well! This is ..... different .....

Staying on the land side, thanks.
So many new things to smell!!

A quiet moment by the bay.

Once you've got one, there's no place like home!

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