a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Power Paws Camp, Day Zero

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Power Paws Camp, Day Zero

Backfill: May 7
Thursday morning and time to head for the hills--or for Turlock, whichever comes second. I mostly packed the car over the week, so it was ready to go this morning after I did some actual billable work. Decided to take everything with me, even stuff I don't usually take, because what-the-heck I'll be there for 5 days, 4 nights.
  • Canopy
  • sun shades for its sides
  • 3 floor mats
  • sun umbrella (forgot the umbrella stand so never actually used it)
  • both crates plus Remington's larger crate, figuring I'd bump both dogs up one size for this extended stay
  • tent and groundcloth
  • air mattress and 2 pumps (yes there's a reason)
  • Mattress pad, flannel sheets, pillow, down comforter with comforter cover, wool blanket, two extra blankets just in case
  • 3 ensulite pads for me and the dogs
  • dog beds for the tent
  • dog mats for the crates
  • water buckets for the crates
  • Tika's metal crate, mat, and bowl that always stay in the car
  • hammer (always in the car)
  • dog emergency kit and spare misc supplies bag (always in the car)
  • Current training/competing gear, including stopwatch, 2 rubber frisbees, 3 Riot Tugs of various colors and sizes, squeakies, stopwatch, clear acrylic targets, clickers of 2 kinds up the wazoo, WetOnes cannister, 3 slip leads (for 2 dogs, well, you never know when one will spring an extra neck)
  • Bag o'clips for attaching sun screens and other random stuff
  • paperwork bag--lists of titles & legs, notepads, pens, name-and-photo tags for crates
  • Tent light and extra flashlight for those midnight potty runs
  • Suitcase-duffle with 8 changes of clothes and a little extra (in case I should get, say, hot and sweaty or if it rains)
  • Rain gear just in case
  • Collapsing chair
  • Collapsing table
  • Snacks for me for emergencies and tasty fresh bread for Thursday dinner
  • "Real" camera and gear in case I have time for "real" photography, digital snapshot camera, and camcorder
  • Tons of pooper-bag refills
  • Dog food bowls and food for 5 days
  • Tons of chopped-up dog junk food goodies for training, plus belt-clip goodie bag plus Tug'N'Treat
  • Pedometer
  • X-pen, which I don't usually use any more, but thought it might come in handy
  • Two bags of stuff that I'm delivering to various people who'll be there, some from myself and some from other people
  • Camp map, list of instructors, preliminary schedule, all that sort of paperwork
  • Gallon jug of water
  • Beach towels for covering chair or misc
  • Rags in case of muddy feet
  • Bungies of various sizes and shapes
  • At least 4 or 5 different mesh & zipper bags, mostly purple and/or black, to haul dog stuff in
  • Plenty of spare toys of various ilk
  • Probably more I'm not thinking of at the moment

I actually get out the door around noon, arriving there before 2:00, giving me time to park the van, potty the dogs, and head over to the Dining Hall to check in.

In case I didn't bring enough stuff with me, check-in provides a truckload of gifts from various vendors and Friends Of Camp:
  • Camp t-shirt (OK, that's 156 T-shirts in my dresser devoted exclusively to t-shirts; just read that "the average American owns 25 t-shirts." Ha! I've just covered 5 others who own *none*, thank you very much.)
  • Duffle with zipper and velcro pocket for hauling camp stuff around. Of course I brought my draw-string duffle from *last* year's camp to haul stuff around--oh, well, you can never have too much stuff stuffed in various bags
  • SPF 30 lip ointment on neck rope. Keep forgetting to carry it around. (Have my own in my suitcase AND in my glove compartment. You can never have too much SPF 30 lip ointment. Oh--wait--yes, you can.)
  • Sealable plastic coffee mug. For the coffee I don't drink.
  • Nifty shoulder-strapped insulated bag for hauling around a bottle of cold water. Hmm. I was planning on carrying my bottles of cold water in my duffle. Good plan. Stick to it.
  • Two varieties of clickers--the old-fashioned kind and the new kind with the extended plastic button that you can click with your foot.
  • The Camp Book, with all of the instructors' courses and course notes and articles.
  • My badge.
  • Some goodies for the dogs.

Meanwhile, the friend next to whom I'm camping arrives. Chitchat. Discuss whether to set up in shade under tree with birds next to dumpster or out in the sun. Discuss some more. And some more. Ooops, dash over to the shade of the nearby giant oak with my chair and 6,000 other people to watch Wendy Pape's 2:30-4:00 excellent lecture on training contacts.

I come away with pages of notes, many of which I can probably apply to my current dogs and which I'm dying to try on a new dog.

Finally a break to set up my dogs' crates under tree in shade of dumpster, chat with various people about who's setting up where, briefly frisbee the dogs, toss my tent out of the car. I bought a large container of Enteman's chocolate chip cookies to tide us over during emergencies. Discover that Karey has brought a large container of chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips to tide us over during emergencies. Good thing we're exercising this week.

Back to the Dining Hall for the mandatory 6:00 Camper Meeting to get all the rules and changes and exciting info and be introduced to the instructors.

Finally I can hurriedly set up my tent before it gets dark (sunset around 8:00). It is VERY windy. This will be challenging if it keeps up all four days. And it's pretty chilly, too, as the sun goes down. And I didn't bring my long underwear. Feels like a change is blowing in, though. It's supposed to be warm. Then we prepare a nice chicken salad with bread for dinner. My brand new lantern lights up when I put the batteries in, turns off when I turn it off to put the shade on, and never turns on again. Dagnabbit.

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