Dallas Tales…The Campout

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Hank’s rescue yesterday was such a great team effort. As camp chairman this year I could not be more proud of all of the cousins. Everyone pitched in and didn’t complain even once about pulling Hank all the way to shore. That took a great deal of energy from everyone.

So around the campfire last night I asked Hank just how his sailboat experience happened. Hank said he was out chasing butterflies and drifted further and further from our little group of cousins. He said it was like someone turned down the volume and he no longer heard our voices. He knew we were set to hike up the hill to the big rock for our picnic but he let his distraction of chasing butterflies cause him lots of trouble. Like I mentioned before catahoula hound dogs are great at climbing. And since Hank’s a catahoula he is really good at jumping and very sure-footed. He thought it would be great fun to explore the little sailboat. It would be great fun to drift a little way then he would jump in and swim back to shore. However before he realized it he had drifted out into the middle of Inks Lake. He’s still a young pup and wasn’t sure he could swim that far back to shore. He made the right decision to stay with the boat! Hopefully that will be our last Hank episode! Right Hank? Hank gives us a toothy grin and wags his tail sheepishly. Little rascal scared us all to death!

Ok, cousins, let’s go make the best of our last few days at camp. Who wants to try jumping on that big blob in the lake? That’s something I have wanted to do every year. Who will be first? Bear jumps up and down and volunteers. Bear is the biggest dog in camp. The kids are in rest time so it’s a perfect time of day to try the blob. I will jump on the blob then Bear will jump next. Mercy sakes alive, I didn’t want to go to the moon but I thought for a minute I was blasting off into space. What fun! Next Hank jumped on the blob and then Felix crashed down. Poor little Hank went flying into the air! I see why the kids love this thing. So fun! Well speaking of kids here they come out for their afternoon swim so let’s hit the road. What do you say we hike up to that rock again today since Hank didn’t get to see my favorite trail? Here we go. I will lead and Felix you cover the back and for goodness sakes don’t let Hank out of your sight! By the time we reached the rock it was getting late in the afternoon so I thought it would be a great idea to make a campfire. Bear and Felix had Hank help them find sticks for the fire. I rolled rocks into a ring for our campfire. I found some scraps of paper and lots of pine straw to help start our fire. We worked and worked and finally got the sticks in place on top of the straw and scraps of paper. We’ll start our fire before the sun goes down. The only way we can start a fire is to find a piece of glass and hope the sun shines just right thru the glass to ignite our straw and paper. It’s always worked before. We wait and wait. I was getting a little worried when I began to see a puff of smoke. Yes! We have our campfire. There’s nothing more fun than sitting around a campfire telling stories. Especially scary stories. It’s so much fun to tease the young pups at their first campfire. I begin by recounting the story I told a few years back about spending time on the farm with old Radar. This was the time when as I was slipping inside for the night. Just then my paw slipped off the old screen door and a colony of bats swooped down towards my back. Old Radar told me if a bat ever lights on your back it’s light out. Sayonara, goodbye, adios, see ya in heaven buddy cause it’s over! I was terrified and ran screaming and howling to the river and jumped under water. I escaped those flying devils that night. I look over to see little Hank shaking. Hank asked, “are there bats out here”? By now it’s dark and all you can see of Hank are those blue eyes. Well Hank I’ve never seen any bats out here but you just never know. There could be bats up in those really tall trees in a hollow. Hanks throws a few more sticks on the fire so it lightens up our campfire nicely. Bear says, “tell Hank about the old coyote who lives out in these woods”! He doesn’t especially like us pups being out here in his woods. He runs us out any time he lays eyes on us. Well, Bear, we’re not near where the coyotes live. It would be dangerous to camp too close to them at night. “Camp?” said Hank. “You mean as in camp out?

“Oh no, I didn’t sign up for a campout in the woods at night”, said a terrified Hank. I’m ready to go back to the campgrounds. Settle down little pup I told Hank. We’re not gonna let anything hurt you. It’s fun to sleep out under the stars on a gorgeous night. There’s a full moon and it provides a lot of light naturally. Hank immediately goes over to Bear, who is the biggest dog in camp, and says, “I’m sleeping right next to you!” Yawn, I’m getting sleepy. Let’s all tuck in for the night. Just when everyone is almost asleep far up into the hillside our old coyote friend Aztec lets out a long low howl. Hank jumped completely over Bear and runs to my side. I tell Hank to settle down, I can tell by old Aztec’s howl that it’s merely a greeting and not a threat this time. Goodnight!

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