We have Conference at Camp Selah, and this year, since I have Oscar, I brought Oscar. Most of the kids had already met him and knew him to be sweet but not very friendly. He'd never bite, but he might not come up and sniff your hand either, because of being shy. He wasn't as freaked out about being at camp this time, since he had spent two weeks there during day camp, but this time around the kids were a lot bigger . . . and a lot louder.
Consequently, he spent much more time hiding out in the back room of the Lodge which he had adopted last time. At first I thought the whole scenario was going to be a set-back for him, but it turned out to be just the opposite.
By Sunday he was doing such a good job following me and coming when called that I allowed him to run around the camp without a lead a number of times. He was delighted. He didn't go very far, but where he did go, he galloped. He leapt up and down hillocks like a rocking horse that had got free of its rocker . . . and was maybe a little off-balance; he kind of runs sideways, it turns out. But it's very cute.
On Sunday night we had a skit night, and I held him on my lap the whole time . . . and incorporated him into my cabin's skit . . . and he actually stayed there. He seemed to be watching the skits, too. After the skits, it turned out that there was at least one other person in New England is allowed to pick him up--that was Back-up Liz. Congratulations to her!
Then the next day he delighted me (and himself) by jumping up next to me on a sofa without any help. He didn't used to think he could do that. A lot of times he reminds me of me as a kid . . . I'd always watch the other kids doing stuff and assume I couldn't do it because I couldn't do it the first time. I missed out on a lot in that way. Oscar had kind of been like that about jumping up on the couch. True, he had finally figured stairs out, but the couch was just so much higher of a jump, and he couldn't figure out how to jump up there as opposed to trying (and failing) to climb up. But Labor Day morning . . . he did it!
You might think this would be a bad thing, but look--he doesn't shed, and I got him to keep me company, so I like having him sit with me on the couch in the evening. He was so proud of his new skill that later that day when I took him into one of the cabins with me so I could inspect it, he made a point of jumping up on each one of the lower bunks.
I think part of the point of Conference is for the attendees to become more of who they really are--to grow in confidence. So, you know. It's kind of nice my dog got something out of it, too.
Photos by Joshua Schlegel: Joe Cool 2009; Paris Hilton's New BFFs 2009.
Photo by jennwith2ns: Liz and Oscar 2009.