Boondogging

Since we’ve known each other three years now, I’ve decided to let you in on a little secret…I’m studying to be human. People think I’m just friendly and devoted, which I am, but I’m also closely observing human behaviour and communication. I know, it probably sounds crazy, but last winter T read a book called “The Art of Racing in the Rain” about a dog named Enzo who believes that if he learns enough in his dog life, he’ll come back as a human. Sounded like a reasonable theory, but I guess I’m not that patient; I want to get as close to human as I can in this life.
I still have a lot of canine urges that I may never overcome, but travelling has done just what people say it will, expanded my thinking. It’s part of the reason I love these trips, so much opportunity to learn about being human and leave my farm dog tendencies behind on the farm. For example, one of the human-like things that happens while we’re travelling more frequently than at home is taking showers. I’m a pretty clean guy, not indulging in the disgusting canine habit of rolling in foul smelling things, so I rarely get a bath at home, but living in such close quarters without green grass or snow to roll in, apparently I develop a bit of an odour, an odour they’ve compared to corn chips and also to socks. Don’t see what’s wrong with either of those things, especially corn chips but, whatever, a bath results in one of my very favourite experiences, being towelled dry. A lot of dogs prefer to give a good shake and dry in the sun, but I love the towelling…oh my…could do that all day. And afterward, apparently I smell better, less like a dog, which also suits my purpose.

First bath of the trip.

We left Quartzsite on Monday morning and drove two hours here to Wickenburg. Birds, rabbits, lizards, coyotes…this place is amazing. But, even though we’re out here in the boonies, my freedom has been curtailed from what it was at Quartzsite, something about jackrabbits and cactus being a bad combination is what I’ve pulled from the conversation. They’re probably right, as hard as I try to just observe as humans do, it’s almost impossible for me to not give chase.

Campsite near Wickenburg.

We’re boondocking, which Wiktionary describes as “to stay in a recreational vehicle in a remote location, without connections to water, power, or sewer services”,  about six kilometres from Wickenburg but, looking around, you’d never know we were so close to town. There are a couple of horse campers across the road and three RVs on this side but quite a long way from us. There’s not much but saguaro, mesquite, palo verde and cholla around us, and the odd quad or side-by-side headed up the road to the trails that snake all over the area. We’ve been on longs walks the last two mornings, exploring up around Vulture Peak, with many more trails to cover while we’re here.

Hiking at Vulture Peak.

It might sound kind of boring hanging in the desert but, not at all. Nollind plays his bass and sometimes T plays along on guitar and sings. I’m tempted to sing too but so far they haven’t asked me to join in. They both like to read and do quite a bit of that and, when possible, I’ll read over a shoulder and pick up what I can. I wish they’d just read out loud. Some days T or Nollind, or both, will take an afternoon nap and that’s the best. I can lie on the bed anytime but it is a million times better when my people are there too. And then there’s sunset viewing along with a campfire, one of my favourite times of day.

Nollind plays bass at Plomosa Road BLM.

Aaaahhhh…an afternoon nap.

When we’re outside, Logan likes to lie under the trailer. It’s cool, it has that nice, den-like feel that appeals to dogs, but you’d never find a human under there unless there’s something to fix. So, on our first trip south I sat and stared and whined until they figured out what I wanted…my own chair. It would be so much simpler if I could just talk but the shape of my tongue (long, flat and loose) makes that impossible, or so says Enzo. I’ve developed quite a large vocabulary of sounds but none of them sound like human words. Anyway, I now have my own chair that comes out with T and Nollind’s chairs at every campsite. Success!

This year T added a blanket that acts like a hammock, keeping me from spilling out between the arm and the bottom (and it makes a nice cover on a chilly evening). Now, don’t get me wrong, I can sit upright, I’m just more comfortable curled in a ball. I can strive to be as human as I want in my mind and behaviour, but I do have certain physiological limitations.

Sunset time in camp.

Okay, I suppose I deserved it. I told you about Logan’s bingo dauber episode at Lethbridge, and he shares my embarrassing donkey moment. But, in my defense, I was just trying to like what T likes and I saw her petting one of them. Sometimes a guy has to do frightening things when on a quest for greater knowledge. Logan disagrees with me on this but then he’s very content with his dogness.

My very canine response to a threat.

I’m not sure what we’re doing this afternoon. Since we stayed in camp all day yesterday I’m betting on some kind of outing. Hopefully it’s the kind that dogs can join in on. I do like to ride along and glean what I can.
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