Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Making a Pitch for Sleepaway Camp

I’ve been explaining to Jake all day long that he is going to sleepaway camp for the next 6 days. He just looked at me with those big brown eyes that don’t comprehend not sleeping at home, where he has spent every night for the last 8 years. He followed me everywhere today, knowing something was up and not willing to let me out of his sight.

We just dropped him off and met his “counselor”, Chris, a 40-something guy with a mellow temperament and a puppy named Xena. Jake quickly checked out the 6-foot wooden fence and the gate, looking for an escape route if it should become necessary.

As we left he became somewhat frantic, much like our daughter when we dropped her off at horse camp when she was 7 years old. When it comes to separation from parents, what the difference between a dog and a daughter?

On the 5-minute ride home, I asked my husband what we would do if Chris called later tonight to report that Jake was not settling down and was impossible to handle. “I guess we’d have to take him with us,” he said.

We never asked if the owner of our rental house in Chautauqua if she allows pets. We didn’t think it was an issue. I hope for everyone’s sake it isn’t.

But meanwhile, my heart goes out to Jake who is feeling abandoned by his next-of-kin right about now.


Blogger Richard said...

It is amazing how much dogs seem to know and understand even if they can’t speak. He probably still senses Dylan's absence.

I think he will settle down. As long as he knows he is a dog and gets along with other dogs. My parent's dog (when it was still alive) did not know it was a dog and would never socialize with other dogs or animals.

6:44 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Hopefully Jake will have as much fun this week as you.

I am also dealing with a dog out of his element. My stepson and wife are visiting from Charleston. They've spent the last 4 days with us and have now moved on to stay with her parents in Falls Church. They did leave behind their new puppy,Fletch, to enjoy the rest of the week with us.
I fear that he won't want to go home- what with now having two playmates to wrestle with all day.

Also, I suspect the kids will be pulling back in the driveway momentarily, due to their missing their "baby" so much.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- I hope you are right about Jake adapting for a few days. It's certain that he won't starve even if he refuses to eat. He's still a little overweight from all that time mooching Dylan's food.

Gewels -- Fletch sounds adorable. It's these stories of dogs enjoying each other that make me happy we found a place to leave Jake where he can socialize with another dog.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I guess dogs aren't so different than people or kids...some adjust well and some just don't. I hope Jake does!

11:47 PM  
Blogger media concepts said...

You mean the doggie hotel? They usually love the place, and won't want to leave.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Jake will be OK. The difference between daughters and dogs is that dogs are a different species. They depend on their packs for survival, so being separated is, in their minds, a life threatening event. Separations from parents for humans is more of a rite of passage.

Maybe you weren't serious when you asked that question. Another difference between homo sapiens and canines is that canines live in the moment. jake won't hold a grudge against you for putting him in the kennel.

I love dogs.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Matt, Reya -- Just to clarify, Jake is with a neighbor in his home, not a pet-hotel or a kennel. I couldn't bear to think of corralling him in a cage for even a couple of days.

Reya, I hope you are right about dogs not holding grudges. And, BTW going away to horse camp was not a rite of passage for R, but a damn scary experience that colored her willingness to spend the night out for the next 3 years. She's more like Jake than you can ever imagine! And I don't think she holds a grudge today.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's experience! My first sleepaway camp scared me in theory but by the end of the week, I didn't want to leave. Maybe Jake will come home with new best friends.

10:33 AM  

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