Workamping Dawwwg: No Bones About It

Mom and I are keeping real busy with our workamping jobs, no bones about it.  Did you know that expression is hundreds of years old?  It means that you are being straightforward, honest, and clear.  It comes from the olden days, when it was a good thing to be able to have your soup and not find any bones in it.  I don’t know about that.  I think soup is better if it does have bones in it.  At least a few.  For flavor, you know.

Anyways, Mom’s job is to work as part of a team running the campground, keeping it a great place for everybody.  In human terms, that means lots of rules.  Advertising the rules, enforcing the rules, and bending some rules when bending makes sense.  Mom likes rules.  They keep life nice and organized.  She has a whole long list of them that she expects me to follow.  She’s a very straightforward kind of girl.

My job is to tend to Mom.  In doggie terms, that means loads of love.  My top priority practically goes without saying:  Protect her and our little house.  My favorite duty, though, is to get her to curl up with me for as many naps as possible.  It helps her unwind from some of her crazy dealings with people, especially the boneheaded ones.

And believe you me, that girl needs to unwind.

Like the other night.  We were sound asleep when a soft knock came on the door.  Leaping into Workamping Dawwwg mode, I sounded the alarm (Mom would never have heard those tiny knocks without me).  It was after midnight, and a lady stood outside our door to file a complaint about some noisy, drunken neighbors.  Well, I made so much noise–enough to strike terror into the hearts of the entire campground–I scared the noisiest noisemaker off.  Before Mom could even get dressed, they had driven away.  Unfortunately, Mom felt it necessary to stay up even longer to make sure things remained quiet.  Thank goodness the next day she let me put her down for a good nap!

Then there was cigarette lady and her tiny terror.  Mom needed to take me for a quick walk while on a work break.  New neighbors had pulled in next to us and when Mom approached our door she saw they had a little dog tied up to a tree on a very long leash that would let the dog go all the way to our house and beyond.  She asked the lady real nice to please tie the dog farther away so it wouldn’t reach our house, but the lady was too busy smoking a cigarette to bother.  When we came out of our door, the tiny terror charged us, nipping at our feet.  Flashing into Workamping Dawwwg mode, I was ready to chew the little fur ball’s head off, but Mom pulled me up and out to the road.  Mom and the lady yelled at each other until the lady’s husband arrived on the scene, took care of the stupid dog, and shut the woman up.

Mom talks wistfully about going back to a workamping job that involves little to no contact with campers…  like the one in Virginia where she cleans bathrooms and cabins and fire pits.  But I know her.  I can tell there is something special about this place that makes all the craziness worthwhile.

You see, if jobs were soup, this one has a whole lot of flavor.  The tastiest bits are the friends we have made.  Mom couldn’t deal with what she has to deal with if it weren’t for her friends on the workamping team and a whole lot of other really good people she has met here.  And me?  I’ve made a wonderful new doggie friend on our morning walks.  I even let her sniff my tail the other day!

So I think we’ll stay a while longer.  Bones and all.  Don’t worry about us.  We’re a team.  I’ll chew ’em up.  She’ll spit ’em out.

(The picture at the top of this post is of me, beautiful me, sitting in the EZ-Go golf cart that Mom and her friends use to ride around the campground.  When it’s not real busy, she lets me ride with her.  I’m hoping to learn to drive real soon!)

Following From Out Front

Mom and I have managed to reach a pretty good understanding.  Not bad after 12 years (which may not be long to your eyes but to a dog, well, it can be a lifetime).

See, we have long struggled over the whole alpha thing.  By my nature, I am an alpha girl.  If I were a superhero, I would be ALPHA*Betty*Sling-some-Spaghetti*Toss-in-a-Cookie-or-Two*ROUFFF!!!  Ha!  And she thought she was the one with poetical inclinations.  My superpower would be a sonic-boom-bark that would immediately slay all foes.  They would fall at our feet with bleeding ears, tongues lolling out of their mouths, and cookies spilling from their pockets.

When we lived back in our house that stayed in one place, things were pretty darned good.  I had a gigantic, fenced-in yard and could bark all I wanted at anyone who walked down our street.  I was really talented and managed to scare every one of them away.

Once we moved into this tiny house that rolls all over the place, Mom abruptly changed the rules.  She didn’t even apologize for how unfair that was.  No longer was I allowed to bark at people and, the cruelest part, I wasn’t even allowed to bark at dogs who walked right by our house.  When walking on the leash, I was expected to stay by her side and not even crack a tiny toothy growl whenever we passed another dog.  Ugh!  It was torture–for us both.  My natural inclinations were being strangled, and Mom’s struggle to constantly be boss-over-me stressed her out big time.

But now we’ve come to our understanding.  It probably helps that her show “The Dog Whisperer” comes on our TV every Saturday morning and she faithfully watches.  She has a major puppy-crush on the show’s star, Cesar Millan (don’t tell her I told you that).  She has taken a lot of tips from him and says the best one is the importance of consistency.  I must say, she is doing pretty good with that lately, although Cesar might give her just a mediocre grade when it comes to the strength of her alpha-ness.  Me, I give her an A-plus and may even share a cookie.

It’s all a balance thing, you see.  Mom would likely argue otherwise, but she is about as ferocious as a jelly bean.  So it is my job to protect us, and I think she has finally come around to recognize that and allow me more freedom to follow that instinct.  After all, I have great instincts, a tremendous sniffer, and excellent ears.  She lets me bark at strangers who come up to our door and at doggies who walk by our house, but once she checks out the situation and decides “they are allowed,” I have to stop barking.  Ok, that’s a compromise I can swallow.

On our long walks, Mom lets my leash out as far as it will go and I can pretend I am off-leash.  I make it a point to always stay ahead of her.  But when she gives the leash a good tug and clicks her tongue, it is my signal to come back to her side.  Usually it is because a car is coming or a dog is approaching.  So I go back to be her protector.  Once the nuisance is safely past, I take my rightful place back out front.

When we walk by other doggies, I am super-alert that the other guy doesn’t pull a fast one, and as long as they behave over on their side of the road, I can usually keep my cool, too.  There is still an occasional (lucky) idiot, though, who is off-leash and comes running up to us.  I do not let them get too close before I go into Sling-some-Spaghetti mode and Mom has to hold me back while yelling for their people to come get their stupid dog.  Fortunately nobody has gotten hurt yet, but that’s not for lack of trying!  Darned leash.

Anyways, I am happy that Mom is allowing me to lead in the ways I lead best.  And that she is leading in the ways she leads best.  She sets the course and manages the larger navigation points.  I, like any great superhero, forge ahead, stretching to limits beyond.  We are a good team and our rolling household has peace.  At the end of the day, that is what counts.  Well, that and cookies.

The Bullheaded Truth

Sooooo…  I had to sneak onto the computer tonight while Mom is sleeping.  AMAZing what doggie paws can do when they are motivated.  I simply could not let Mom’s last post stand without tossing in a few nuggets of the truth as I see it.  After all, my reputation is at stake, and I don’t take that lightly.

Speaking of nuggets, oh my dogness!  We stayed at our friends’ house last week in Texas.  They have a ranch with a bunch of cows and lots of open land and fresh air and all that stuff.  More importantly, they had loads and loads of cookies!  The lady, Carol (her name is the same as my mom’s), would toss them to me here-there-and-everywhere.  They seemed to mysteriously drop out of her sleeves as I followed her around.

Carol and John (the man of the house) made me and my mom feel totally welcome and at home.  They gave me a gigantic dog bed to lounge around in while I visited the big house and wasn’t snarfing up cookies.  They stuffed my mom full of loads of good dinners and desserts.  Mom worried that she would pop out of her pants soon.  I am lucky.  I don’t wear pants.

Unfortunately, we hit a rough spot one night.  I was enjoying my role as queen of the party when Carol and John’s dog, Ashley, showed up at the back door.  I saw her looking in through the window and something inside me just snapped.  I charged and attacked!  The window between us prevented me from doing any damage, but she did run off fast.  That girl was one lucky dog!

Mom got all stressed out over my reaction, but John came to my defense, explaining that the best defense is a good offense.  Yup, Mom, listen to John.  He’s a smart fella.  That’s all it was.  I had to make sure there would be no trouble from that big dog.  She may have looked innocent enough, but I wasn’t gonna take any chances that she might have something sneaky up her sleeve… and I’m not talking cookies!  Heck, I might have had to share my cookie drops with her…  Or the doggie queen bed…  Or my mom!!!

So, Mom, please stop saying that I am neurotic and alpha-obsessed.  I may be a tad insecure, at the worst, but what do you expect?  I love my mom the best and I just want to know that she loves me the best, and that it stays that way.

I love it when we are on a long road-trip day and I look up at her and give her my biggest, wettest, tongue-lolling smile.  She laughs out loud and calls me the best road-doggie in the world.  I love it when we get out of our little house and discover new smells, new sights, and new critters.  I love it when we snuggle up on her bed before sunrise and at nap time.  She rubs my tummy and I keep her warm, leaving behind a blanket of fur to insulate her until the next time I am allowed back in her bed.

Yes, we struggle sometimes over who is boss.  Okay, okay, we struggle a lot.  But isn’t that what friends do?  Butt some heads!  Win some, lose some…  Give and take…

She has her job, and I have mine.  I am her best friend, and she is mine.