Sunday, August 13, 2017

Camping @ Brunet Island State Park

Last weekend I took a few days off work so I could enjoy an extended weekend camping trip at Brunet Island State Park in Cornell, WI. I've camped at this park several times and always enjoy my stay.

This time my new boyfriend would be joining me & Charlie, and we brought our kayaks along to take advantage of the water access at most of the campsites.

Since the campground is on an island, almost all the campsites are on the water with access to the Chippewa Flowage, which makes it super easy to launch your boat without leaving camp.

I was a bit nervous having Charlie on a 5-day camping trip after her issues earlier this spring with noise-reactivity and fear-aggression toward other dogs, but after her recent Reiki treatments I was hoping she'd do well enough to stick it out for the entire duration.

We succeeded! Everything went perfectly and all of us had a great time.

Hanging out at camp next to the fire.

Charlie stuck to Alan like glue and the two of them played games of non-stop fetch, collected fire wood and kindling together from the woods (Charlie shredded most of her sticks, and stole ones from Alan's pile) and the three of us attempted a few kayaking/fishing excursions on the water.

Charlie snuggled up next to the fire in the evenings, tired out from the day's activities... something she'd never done before since she's usually scared of fire. This time, though, she was relaxed and calm.

Chillin at camp while the sun sets on the water behind her.

Nodding off after a long day of outdoor activities.

A few of the neighboring campsites had dogs, which normally would have sent Charlie into frenzied barking, but she didn't even seem to notice the other dogs. We even had her off-leash several times at the campsite and she never made an attempt to visit the other dogs or bark at them. She seemed content to just hang out with us.

The kayaking was a bit tiresome for us humans, though. Charlie, being part Border Collie, has herding instincts and doesn't like her "pack" separated. Having her people on two separate boats is something she's not sure how to deal with. She's constantly trying to get on the other person's kayak, only to turn around and want to go back to the kayak she just came from.

We roped the two kayaks together at one point and drifted on the water for a while, which seemed to appease Charlie but wasn't very practical for too long. Once the boats were untied, she again whined and paced to get on the other kayak.

Steering a kayak with a 45-lb dog shifting her weight around all the time is completely tiresome. My wrists and shoulders were so sore from correcting the boat constantly. It was quite the workout! I suggested leaving Charlie in the car back at camp since the weather was cool and I knew she'd just lay down and take a quiet nap while we were gone, but Alan insisted on us all staying together.

Charlie waiting for me to throw her stick for a game of fetch while taking a break on a sandbar.

"I'm ready..."


Charlie's fetching instinct is so strong that Alan couldn't do much fishing while we were out either. Casting lures looks like something she's supposed to retrieve so there was no way that was going to work. But Alan was kind and patient and just happy to spend the day together. He's a keeper for sure.

I was so proud (and surprised!) with Charlie's good behavior and calm demeanor. Even as I packed up the car on our last day, she just laid on her mat and waited patiently for me to give the cue that it was time to go. During past camping excursions, she'd be sitting in the car whining to leave on the last day.

Camp is all packed up and Charlie is snoozing.

I know for a fact that the Reiki sessions are the main reason for her change in behavior. Her energy is aligned and she feels more confident and sure of herself. I also know that Alan's presence is reassuring to her and the two of them are bonding beautifully. The combination of the Reiki treatments and having Alan in our lives has been magical - for both Charlie and myself.

Life is so good.

Tent sleeping.