Thursday, December 10, 2009

A tent can be a home

For several years my son and I have tried to go camping for Thanksgiving but circumstances waylaid the plans--but this year the stars aligned and we were able take the long planned outing. Fried turkey and all the trimmings in God's beautiful world on a day to be thankful for all we have. Of course I worked far too long on Thanksgiving Eve and we arrived at the campsite close to 9 p.m., put up the tents, set up the fire, cooked dinner and finally went to sleep.

Iggy, the boy B, was ecstatic to be camping once again; he and Oscar, the mini doxy, were exploring as far as their leads would allow. Roxy, my BRAT, wouldn't leave my side. Poor Roxy, I realized it was probably a really scary experience, arriving in the dark in an unfamiliar place. But the three dogs and I settled into the tent and slept well.

The next morning was really cold (okay, 38 degrees is REALLY cold in Louisiana!), and Roxy would not leave the tent for any amount of coaxing. I had to drag her out to do her business and then she beelined it back for the covers and the tent. She didn't leave the tent all day, except when I pulled her out. But she headed right back to the tent.

I was really puzzled by her behavior. I thought maybe she was cold. It is hard to keep her weight on. But there was so much to smell and explore and nature is the best! That night I was able to convince her to sit by the fire with me, but she was happy to go back into the tent as soon as I would let her.

Day three: Roxy is still in the tent. Mid-day it's time to take the tent down and go home. Roxy wouldn't leave the tent, even as I dismantled it. When I made her get out, she sat on the moisture tarp that sits under the tent. When I folded that up, she stood there looking pitiful.

And it suddenly hit me: Roxy had lived on the streets an indeterminable amount of time. She was emaciated, her teeth were broken, she was nothing but a mohawk and skin and bones when she came to live with me 11 months ago.

I looked in her eyes and I finally got it. Why would anyone CHOOSE to leave a perfectly warm, comfortable home and CHOOSE to live outside in a tent? She decided that tent was going to be her home until I came to my senses, and she wasn't going to risk losing it no matter what! I bet you know who was happiest when we drove up the driveway to her home.

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