“Don’t Pee on the Tent, REX!”

Tales from a backyard camping experience

IMG_2339 We’re preparing our two-year-old Labrador retriever for an upcoming backpacking trip. To do this we thought we’d start small. How about a backyard tent sleepout? Just to see how he reacts to the tent and sleeping outdoors. This is a pampered dog, you know.

On the actual backpack trip, we want Rex to sleep in the vestibule (aka front porch) area of the tent. We decided this because a) we have a two-man tent and Rex won’t fit inside the actual tent. And, b) the Lost Coast is the “land of ticks.” We did a short hike there in December where Rex picked up no less than thirty-two ticks. And thirty-two is when my daughter and I stopped counting and began screaming.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not trying to exclude Rex from sleeping inside with us. Rex will be the most protected animal on earth from ticks, fleas and other vermin when we commence this trip. It’s me and my husband I worry about! The ticks will crawl on Rex, and when they cannot attach, where are they going to go? That’s right. They’ll be climbing on us. I’m not going to be wearing a tick collar, and I don’t want armies of ticks crawling on me.

I was getting over a cold so my husband had full dog duties the weekend we chose to test Rex and the tent sleeping arrangement. Hey, it was his idea. Not mine. I was on the couch with my box of tissues watching television when I heard the shout, “No! Don’t pee on the tent, Rex!”

I didn’t think they’d last ten more minutes.

Come on, Rex! Don't be scared of the tent.

Come on, Rex! Don’t be scared of the tent.

I have to give my husband credit. They came in at 5 a.m. Rex never seemed so grateful to be inside. He quietly rolled into a ball at the foot of the bed so he wouldn’t bother anyone as if saying, “Please. I’ll be good and super quiet if you just let me sleep here inside with you.”

“You guys did so well,” I said. “Did he sleep in the vestibule?”

My husband replied, “Not exactly. I got him to come into the tent for a while. And then he went and sat on the lawn furniture by the back door and stared back at me.”

We’re calling the experience a success because Rex slept mostly near the tent or inside of it. And he didn’t pee on it.

We decided to work on Rex sleeping in the vestibule (aka front porch) at a later date.