Esme Goes Camping

Patricia White sent us some photos and a quick recap of the camping trip she and her family {including their dog Esme} took over the weekend. 

Hi my name is Patricia my dog Esme went camping for the 1st time last week. It was great weather and she enjoyed herself – at least  when she wasnt getting scared by things. I loved seeing her lay by the fire. Over all it was great and I can’t wait until we get to go again.

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I wish the time I had taken my Great Dane hiking/camping would have been so peaceful. A  couple of years ago my husband Chris and I took Poet {the Great Dane} on a 2 day hiking trip about 10 miles into the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area near Blowing Rock, NC. It was a total disaster. First she refused to wear a pack. She went bucking like a wild bronco down the trail. So I ended up carrying all her food and water in my already heavy pack. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH FOOD A GREAT DANE EATS IN A DAY? Needless to say I wasn’t carrying a couple of cans of Little Ceasar’s. 

Next, she refused to cross water. Now, we already knew this dog didn’t like water. She protested at every bath. She barked like a mad woman at the waves at the beach. She refused to go out and pee during a rain storm. But never in my wildest dreams did I think she would be petrified of a mountain stream. She set one toe in the water and began shaking like a leaf. Crazy. Here’s this huge dog, the water wouldn’t come past her ankles if she would just get in and get it over with, but the silly thing would not budge. Not even for treats. Not even for her favorite toy. 15 minutes of pleading and coaxing goes by. No forward movement. So we forced her into it. I pulled on the leash from one end and my husband {who is not a small man} pushed her from behind. It took great effort to move this Great Dane against her will. Now imagine this same process every time we come to water. I would say at least 30 times. 

Once we got settled in camp she was content. She plopped herself down around the fire and nuzzled in and was… well, a happy camper. Until night fell. We had a 2 person tent with an awning over it that extended pretty far outside the actual tent walls. So we had planned on Poet sleeping under the awning while we were in the actual tent. Uh. No. Poet had other plans. She was scared to death of every little sound. And after she nearly took down the tent by desperately backing into the tent wall out of total fear, we begrudgingly let her inside. The two person tent slept two people and a 140 pound Great Dane. Well, slept isn’t really quite the right word. I think the only one who got any sleep was Poet.

We look back on this trip now and laugh, but it was an exhausting two days at the time. Poet stayed at the doggy spa (the kennel) during all our other hiking trips. Better for her. Definitely better for us. Some dogs are not just meant to “ruff it.”

If my story hasn’t scared you off and you’re still interested in taking your dog hiking, make sure to read Stratton Lawrence’s Hiking Hounds article in the current issue of LCD. Great tips and gear recommendations. You can read it HERE.

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