When I was learning how to drive, my father had a series of extra tests besides the two issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. At our house, you also had to get certified for I-95. That wasn’t too bad. The toughest part was merging on the Interstate while Dad yelled at you. The “driving in icy conditions” certification was actually quite fun. Dad took us to an empty parking lot and had us try out emergency stops to get a feel for what the vehicle would do on ice. The one trial I despised was pursuing my Sawyer Suburban certification. There, you had to drive Dad’s giant, white, diesel-fueled suburban and he made you do stuff like back between cones and parallel park. Almost two decades later, I still have trouble parallel parking my tiny, baby, XTerra, especially when there is an audience. I don’t know how I ever managed to parallel park the suburban to Dad’s satisfaction.
Anyway, I never have to worry about my dogs driving, but I did subject the dogs to a certification process of their own when it came to camping. A number of years ago, I set up the tent up on my deck, rounded up the dogs and gave it a go. Jimmie curled up at my feet and went to sleep. Henry, on the other hand, spent the entire evening bellowing out aroos at any sound. I had no idea how “noisy” my neighborhood was at night until Henry was on full alert. Without him, I would have been blissfully unaware of twigs snapping, crickets and dogs barking off in a distance.
Here were the final results of the Dog Camping Certification:
Henry failed with such distinction that I have never even given him a second chance.
Ever since then, every camping trip– Henry is always left behind with a sitter. This weekend though, I have a dilemma. I’m going backpacking at Mount Rogers. And…I have yet to successfully secure a dog sitter for Henry. Everyone is busy! Out of town obligations, golf trips, surgeries. One sitter can’t because his dog is having puppies. It’s a perfect storm.
Who wouldn’t want to watch this cute little fellow?
We’ll see if I scrounge up a sucker Samaritan. As much as it will pain my eardrums, I may have to… take him with me.