May 9, 2021
Happy Mother’s Day.
I’m a mom, a step-mom, and a grand-mom. Now, I am a DOG-MOM. My ‘dog-ter’ is an 11-week old Labrador, aptly named Gypsy because she is being raised to be a nomad. I have visions of a loving, cooperative, camping companion. I harbor fantasies of an obedient, spirited hiking hound. We are working on it but I have to become more pragmatic about my expectations. Let’s just say we have a long way to go.
Our motorhome (Big Bertha) recently had some “bugs” worked out, and after a service hiatus at the RV dealership, is back on the road. We took her to Tuckahoe State Park on Maryland’s Eastern Shore this weekend. The campground is beautiful. All sites are wooded and offer privacy, spaciousness and easy access to trailheads. Go, if you get the opportunity.
Little Pup. Big World.
Gypsy has a voracious appetite. She would do anything for food. This is good because we have an edge in the training department. This is also BAD because she will attempt to eat ANYTHING. I had to clear our site of sticks and holly leaves before tethering her, but it was impossible to remove all of the gravel. I screeched “leave it” at least sixty times per hour, and opened her little jaw every five minutes to remove pebbles, leaves and other unidentified debris.
My fingers look like the bottom of a colander. Puppy teeth are lethal. If you see her teeth, it looks like a porcupine has taken up residence in her mouth.
So far, leash training has been a complete bust. Gypsy has a pronounced case of ADD. She is wary of cars, bicycles, lawnmowers, large dogs, blowing leaves and most people. Staying focused enough to walk 10 yards at a time is taxing. I tempt her with treats, cajole her with compliments and lead her with (mostly) gentle tugs. Okay, sometimes I semi-drag her. Naturally, I was anticipating an aggravating 1st hiking experience. Surprise! Although she had to stop to sniff every, single tree, she eagerly pranced down the trail, managing a few miles without any strain. I was relieved. Maybe we will have that hiking hound after all.
Weather, at least for me, sets the mood for camping adventures. If it is warm and sunny, I am happy & eager to explore. If it is cloudy and cold, I am doing my best to endure. I will bundle up and hover over a campfire. I’m a good sport.
If it’s rainy and cold, my inner, malignant spirit can be tamed with a good book, a glass of wine, or a Netflix saga. At least that used to work. Now, I am the mother of a Nipsy Gypsy.
It poured this weekend. I mean poured. Rain pelted against the camper like machine gun fire. Gypsy added to the din. When placed in her crate she began to sing herself to sleep. It was a tune that was reminiscent of a record played at the wrong speed, or fingernails on a chalkboard. Plus, she still has a baby bladder. Taking her out at midnight (and 3:30 a.m.) in the rain, with a flashlight, through puddles was painful.
All things considered, night time rain is preferable to daytime rain. Books, games and TV shows are now limited to 3-minute intervals. Bertha is big, thus her moniker. Yet, she is not big enough to play hide-the-chew-toy for a prolonged time. Good weather = sanity.
We did have some intermittent breaks in the weather. Thank God.
I am determined to train this precious puppy to be a well behaved, obedient, sidekick that will share my love of exploration. My husband is intent on creating the world’s most spoiled (and largest) lap dog.
We survived our fist caravan junket with Gypsy. In two weeks, we will attempt another road warrior weekend.