Chair Monster

Dog ownership is hard. I mean, sure you get the face-licking and snuggles, but you also have the soul-crushing despair that comes when you realize that your dog is completely dependent on you for all things.

This weekend I decided to take my tent out of the box it has been in for 3 years and gather up all the new camping equipment I purchased off Amazon and get my ass out to the woods. Some new friends had booked a beautiful group campsite at Lake Kachess where friendly dogs are always welcome.

If there is one thing Zoe (my dog) is, it is friendly. Too friendly. Shy really. A total bottom. When other dogs show up, she assumes a position that says “chase me around, and then share my treat later, and then I will lick you as we form a dog-pile.” It is adorable.

The hard thing is most other dogs are not this friendly. I am not saying they are mean, just a little less trusting. There were two other dogs in the woods this weekend, and while both of them loved Zoe, they kind of hated each other. Because of the ridiculous fighting that would take place between the two dogs, a decision was made to leash the dogs and keep them away from each other. I guess I should say that the decision was made to put the two other dogs on leashes, but me, feeling an act of solidarity, also decided to put Zoe on a leash. It was really easy to put it on her, she was sleeping beside me in her doggie bed.

As Zoe slumbered, I was finishing up my hobo meal and wanted to get another beer. Since I was leaving my chair and did not want to disturb my dog’s slumber, I simply tied the end of the leash around my camp chair.

After one step in the direction of beer, I hear a cacophonous racket behind me. The sound of gravel followed by shouts of “ZOE” and “NO” and “STOP”. I turn around to see a red dog-shaped blur running at full tilt followed by what could only be my camping chair. Off she went, fast, into the darkness. Soon, all we could hear was the jingle jangle of her collar.

Off she went, fueled by the sheer terror that comes from knowing  a chair monster is only three feet behind her. With our flashlights scanning the woods, we found the chair. It appeared to have snagged on a broken stump. Attached to it, was Zoe’s leash and collar.

Don’t worry dear reader, Zoe was fine. I walked down to my tent and after a well directed whistle, Zoe came trepidatiously approaching me and instantly wanted inside the tent. So she gets comfortable inside my brand new sleeping bag, pupils dilated and heart racing. I decided to hang out with her for a bit, snuggle down next to her until she goes to sleep. But then, thanks to the beer and the warmth, I fell asleep almost immediately.

So sure, my first night with new friends I was trying to impress was instead spent in my tent consoling my dog. I earned the nickname “granny” and every time I asked what time it was, a reference was made that it was still too early to go to bed.

It was an otherwise uneventful weekend for Zoe, no more monsters. Despite being unable to tell your dog “nope, it was just a chair” or “the lake is not like a bath” or “napkins are not food” there is no rationale they can understand. What brings Zoe comfort is just being present and occasionally giving a turkey treat. I wish people were that easy.

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