Mom came home the other night as I was sitting around on the sofa pondering my existence, and promptly stared vacantly into the fridge. It was pretty barren, from what I could see. She then proceeded to sigh, one of those deep, soulful sighs where your whole body realizes how tired it is. I came over to ask how she was doing, and how her day was, but then I remembered that she doesn’t speak canine. So I just stared at her instead and sniffed her butt. She seemed to perk up at that, so she opened up her backpack, setting up her laptop as she puttered about the remnants of week-old salad with questionably-coloured cucumbers. It was a pretty gloomy sight. Anyways, she smiled at me a few minutes later, and said:
“Luna! How do you feel about another cooking competition on top of a mountain? Looks like good ol’ Joe is repeating last year’s Brew trip.”
How wonderful is that! All the intriguing smells and cuddly people and a great trail with plenty of moss and heather to bound through! I have to admit I almost peed myself in my excitement. She laughed at my antics- I hadn’t even noticed my tail could have served as a replacement engine for Emily’s car and all of a sudden I was jumping on her excitedly.
“Alright, I guess we can go.” she said, munching on her semi-rotten tomatoes, with a hint of a grin.
Over the next couple days I watched the fridge fill up slowly. There were meats; savoury soy braised chicken, tacos with ground beef and goat cheese, a whole brisket at one point, and she even let me taste test all of her dishes! it. was. a.m.a.z.i.n.g. It became less amazing when she remembered that Joe was vegetarian, and she kept trying to feed me vegetables. Ever heard of zucchini? Blah!
Then came the day where she finally put food into her pack- there was so much of it! I was so stoked! That much food must mean we’re going for a week at least, what an awesome adventure! And then she grabbed the rain jackets. One thing that you should know about me- I don’t like being wet. Not even in the slightest. I’ll shake and shiver and turn blue and my paws will become leaden ice and then the whining will start. And not just “mom, I want to go home” whining, I mean full-blown “mom my fur is wet and I am so so cold that I don’t know if my organs are even getting warm blood anymore.” You know what she did last year? She took me skiing. Skiing! Good heavens. The humans were all excited about what you might call “powder,” but the snow had a funny consistency that stuck to me and clumped into ice balls. I was not a happy camper. So my trepidation grew as she picked garbage bags and layers and waterproof stuff to put into her bag. It’s okay though, Lucas came and he was warm so I snuggled up with him and all of his friends and they smelled like funny drinks and gave me a lot of chips.
And then the morning came and I was asked to hop into a car with no backseat covering! Just bare leather! The sheer audacity of it. I was so careful with my claws to not touch anything, lest I accidentally rip Mirko’s car. I did my best to snuggle up to the stinky humans, and a little while later they tied me to a post outside. A post?! Mom said I wasn’t allowed in “Bim Porters”. A little while later, smelling of wake-up-juice and butter, we piled back into the car. We started driving again, but then Mom realized she’d never let me walk around for a prime pee-spot. I clenched and prayed, but the road got bumpy so I stuffed my nose into mom’s arm until they opened the door onto a dirty patch of shrubbish dead grass and dirt. Oh well, it’ll do. We park and march up to the woods after a scary bumpy road, and there we are greeted by many people! Oh there are so many people! I thought there were only going to be the 5 of us (idk I can’t really count, I’m a dog) but there was like, more than that! They all gave me pets, and then off we went.
Oh the mud! The glorious mud! The chatter of so many people who suck at keeping in a straight line, the opportunities to bound and hop and skip between legs and trip people- unintentionally, of course. The discourse was light, laughter was present, and good times abo-HOLY MOTHER OF FLUFFER IS THAT A SQUIRREL!!! sorry. I forget myself sometimes. A tall man with a strange accent seemed to mention the peculiarities of a funny mountain creature hence dubbed a “pika” or maybe “puca” or “poce” I’m not quite sure, the humans discussed it a fair bit. It had squeaked, regardless of what “it” was called! And then the mushrooms! Chanterelles, Porcinis, Morels, some bigger than my head! Some bigger than human heads! And the humans didn’t even give me any. How dare they. Soon we were at the lake, and a naked man emerged sunnning from the rocks. Mom sheltered my 2 year-old eyes, forgetting that I’m actually 14. In any case, male wee wees are not a big deal when you’re always naked. They actually smell quite intriguing, with notes of bumsweat and cacao. People were applauding his swimming feats, and I found out that somebody had beef jerky. Jerky! Teriyaki jerky, of all types. Mmmm. And there were blueberries in the meadow! I tried my best to eat them but branches kept poking my face so I gave up. It’s a starvation diet for me, since mom put the jerky away. Cerberus incarnate! The humans donned their packs after stuffing their faces in front of me, and offering me old stale chicken kibble. Blah, the audacity! Starting my hunger strike, I bounded along the trail, encouraging mom to hurry up.
We crossed some streams, and the rocks became more and more one-piece, and suddenly we were hiking up the ridge. Or whatever a ridge is, anyways, but mom kept saying “just past the ridge, Luna, just up the ridge”. Sure, crazy lady. I led the way- she huffed and puffed behind. Silly human trying to carry everything herself, I could have carried some too! I have two (2) backpacks! Or maybe it’s 3. There’s the gray one and the more-gray one. But this trip all I had was my fluff to keep me warm. And a bunch of humans to cuddle with. Like, a big bunch. More than 2. Or 3? Mom gave me a water bowl and some gross old stale chicken kibble, and then the humans said “well we got here pretty early, let’s go for a hike before we cook.” Hike?! Please! I’m in! C’mon mom!
Mom did not want to hike anymore.
I didn’t want to leave her behind, who else would be willing to scoop up my poop? So her and a few others (I think more than 2 again) stayed in the hut, chit chatting and cit catting and throwing pieces of paper on the table. They said silly things about “lizards” (I think those are similar to “poce” or “pika” or “pike” or whatever screechy squirrel hybrid we met earlier) and yelled at each other, and mumbled out gibberish that sounded like “oh-goob-gobble-washing-machine” which is apparently Swedish, or Danish, or Potatish, or Globbish, or Cat, or some other language I do not speak. Either way, after enough shennanigans, Joe came back, and slowly more and more people filled up the hut. Oh the smells! Whenever I visit a set of legs under the table I’d get head scritches! So many hands to lick and so many snacks! And then everyone started muttering about “dream cheese” I know cheese! I love cheese! This is going to be an amazing trip. The permanent-tent filled with warmth, smells, and dropped bits of food aka treasure. Mom fed me pieces under the table, everything tasted like dream cheese, everyone took turns raising their hands, Joe seemed pretty excited, and suddenly Mom was cheering with Lucas and Niasha, who dropped a strawberry that I got to scoop up. Somebody said they made “brew-ski-uh” and “po” with strawberry tarts! Other humans made chili (mmmmmmm) and rizzzotto (which confused me) and cheesecake (which is a contradiction in and of itself, imposed by the 10th edition of Canine Logic and Deducibility 101 Advanced Obedience Training Manual), a yummy apple/bananany crumbley, and the CHIPS! the CHIPS! they were warm! and salty! and mom barely gave me any because she was too busy eating them herself! aaand the rice pudding! oh sweet caramel and the curry! dog scrap heaven, and clumsy humans made for many scraps.
After much cleaning and puttering and lake-trips that were wet and watery and me shaking by the door to be let back in but still scared that the poop-house had swallowed mom whole into its stinky mess, we all sat around and put wood into the big black heat box. The place smelled like burning, but I didn’t mind, it helped get the dampness out of my fur. I had dirt everywhere! Mom did her best to try to pick some off, but it hurt so I yelped and she gave up. Some new humans showed up too! They ate some food (and didn’t even drop anything). Some time later, the humans sat around the big table and handed out cards. There was much lecturing, a lot of laughing, people kept laughing at Tom, then at other Tom, Mom said that Lucas was dead but he was sitting right there playing goo-tar! I did not understand, but some humans smelled of funny drinks again and everyone was laughing or yelling with much hand raising. Why do these silly humans keep putting their hands in the air? Is it to stretch? Why do they all look at each other as they do? So many questions. And how come they use sticks to put food into their mouths? How impractical is that? Why don’t they have enough fur? Why do they take baths so often, especially when they’ve just gotten smelly? I resign myself to never having explanations and curl up with some warm humans on the bench.
Late late past mom’s yawning start time they putter about hanging food, cleaning, mom gets her blanket, and some people go up a rickety looking wood post into a mystical hole-in-the-ceiling. And then- Oh GOD! They expected ME to go up there?! Aw hell nah. I like my four paws on solid ground like regular dogs, not this crazy stuff. But Mom wasn’t having it and picked me up, and hoisted me to another human at the top. My paws were scrabbling, you see. I was desperate to find a hold! But then we got up and there were sleeping bags everywhere. It was just one giant bed cuddle puddle! How amazing! I found myself in Heaven. Did I die? When? How? I don’t remember any pain, but it was splendid! Warm, cozy, with people everywhere. Mom tucked me into her big blanket, but I kept leaving to go say good night to everyone. I think I got everyone, I definitely got at least 2. (3?) There were too many people to keep track of! They promptly fell asleep and I tried to tuck myself back in, but, lacking opposable thumbs, I had to wake mom up to zip her jacket up around me.
I woke up with one thought and one thought only: Dear Master of all Good Boys and Girls please let me out to pee! I jumped on mom’s face to wake her up and I zoomed around saying good morning to everyone and licking all their faces. It was awesome! Everyone was so nice and smelly and warm! Mom picked me up and brought me closer to The Hole, but I wasn’t ready to leave Heaven yet. It was scary. I zoomed around and said good morning to Louisa, Ainsley, and Pim! And then Nanna! And Emily! And Lucas! And Lawrence! And probably another 2 (3?) people! I can’t count! I’m a dog! Mom grabbed my collar and picked me up, pulling me into the hole. I scrabbled and pushed with my paws on the edge, but she’s stronger, and handed me down to a human on the ground. It was terrifying, and not for me. But then they let me outside to pee and it was raining. I was SO cold. My nice warm night in mom’s jacket was forgotten, I was now wet. The humans puttered about eating more food and dropping more food, and then we were heading back down the trail. What? Already? But we had enough food to stay for days! Maybe they knew it was just going to keep raining. In any case, it was scary outside because everything was grey and I couldn’t see or hear very well with all the water falling on my stupid* small* head. *edited by Heather*
We headed down in one big group, slushing and mushing through puddles, and nobody spoke or laughed the whole way back, and some people slid and slipped because they weren’t using their front legs. Silly humans. Soon enough we were back at the road and waltzing on downwards. Mom said we were going in a different car so we can go right home instead. I was with mushroom man! and Emily! and Strawberry girl! None of them seemed too happy to be cuddling with me, so instead I jumped on Mom’s lap and stayed there.
The car stopped twice (three times??)??? on the way home. Mom went in for a moment and came back with chocolate, which she didn’t let me have, chips, which she did let me have, and cuddled me tight. We stopped again and she tied me to a sign! A friggen sign! She left me her jacket but I was NOT happy. I could see all the humans sitting around another big table, ignoring me. That is not how being a dog should be. I wanted to sniff and touch and be cuddled and pee on the table leg! No fair, being stuck outside. Some people would smile at me and say hi, but none stayed longer than a minute. They’d get my hopes up of freedom, then disappear. Some time later Mom untied me and we got back in the car, then soon enough we said bye to mushroom man, and then mom was letting me out back on our driveway. Our driveway! We were home already? It felt so early! She grabbed her bag and my towel, and we went in.
And then I got a bath.
Once I dried off by running around everywhere, decorating hardwood with pawprints, and rubbing every which way on rugs and carpets and blankets and shaking water onto walls and out of my ears, I jumped up with more than 2 (maybe 3?) blankets on mom’s bed, dreaming about all the yummy cheesy food.
A good trip, my legs were stretched, and I curled up happily and warm and dry before falling asleep.