A Different Camping Trip
Our annual camping vacation to Silver Lake this coming week won't be the same. No canines will be joining our extended family this time. Our dog Doogie died last November and this past week my in-laws' dog Peanut passed away too (that's Peanut in the picture above). Both had tented with us for many years in the dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan.
I can't say it was a joyous romp for either of them. Their water bowls were often flecked with dirt and bugs. They had to be leashed while we frolicked on the beach or played volleyball. They had to sit in an overly warm mini-van while we rode the dune scooter or played mini-golf.
In fact, Doogie's obvious disdain for the camping experience inspired a couple of my favorite blogs--once when he escaped our tent during an overnight thundershower, and again in the frigid air along Lake Superior when he sat in our rented passenger van and refused to come out to join the rest of us campers.
Peanut was tougher, taking whatever came in stride. His attitude inspired a blog I did on him four years ago (omi god, has it really been that long?). If dogs had human personalities, Peanut would have been a jock I wrote back then. I blogged on Peanut's favorite activity, playing soccer with the men and boys in the backyard.
But he had been in failing health this past year and was certainly past his prime so far as playing soccer. Arthritis had taken its toll, though he still could be coaxed to chase the ball in the backyard for old time's sake. His heart was into it even if his body wasn't.
Doogie and Peanut--two dogs could not have been more different. Doogie tolerated occasional petting as if he were taking medicine. Peanut loved attention and would sit for long stretches of time while I gave him a good scratch around the neck and ears. And if I stopped and let my hand drop to my side while sitting, I'd soon feel Peanut's cold nose on my palm, begging me to continue.
Peanut challenged all dogs, particularly big ones, with his alpha dog attitude. Doogie was in our words "a lover, not a fighter." Peanut had to be where the human action was, especially if outdoor games were being played. Doogie was content to be alone in the backyard, checking the smells in the bushes along the fence.
Doogie was a 'mama's dog.' Peanut probably more of a man's mutt. Doogie hated loud noises. They didn't bother Peanut. Peanut lavished kisses on Doogie every time they met. Doogie responded by turning away while growling and snapping an a very unfriendly manner, which did nothing to deter Peanut's affections.
Two dogs couldn't have been more different. Two dogs couldn't have made more of an odd couple. But this year they will be linked in a way they haven't been before. They'll both be missed.
P.S. A follow-up to last week's blog: I had wondered what the "CRP" stood for in the signs posted around Rob Reiner's shooting site for his upcoming movie Flipped. Found out that Rob Reiner's production company is Castle Rock Productions. So I'm guessing . . .