Just got back from family camp. And there’s one peculiarity to family camp that always turns my head: no pets allowed. Apparently there was a time when everybody and their dog brought their, um, dog, but anymore? Pets are forbidden. But why? What’s the big deal? After all, what kind of family camp could it possibly be without all the members of the family?
So. After a great deal of thoughtful consideration, I bring you the following reasons pets might not be allowed at family camp. I have asked no one, and make no presumptions about any of them being true. These are just my own reasons and reflect only the proclivities of my minuscule brain, and thus reflect only pets I have had myself. Therefore, no snakes, microscopic insects, or spiders (sorry).
Cat. The reason cats are not allowed at camp should be self-evident, but in the case it is not, we will sum it up in a single statement: no cat in their right mind would give up the chance to spend three or four days at home without a toddler or other youngster picking up, stepping on, or otherwise molesting the sleep and/or meditation of said cat. Thus, the rule protects cats from the homes of people who rely so heavily on feline companionship that they would otherwise drag said feline to camp with them. The essential qualities of felinity are very much aligned with the companionship needs of most mammals, so it is possible that a cat, now and then, would get dragged to camp, but most cats would really prefer to be out of the reach of above-mentioned hands and feet, and therefore would, if it occurred to them to do so, thank the proprietors of above-mentioned camp for forbidding them from attendance. One note, however… said cat has likely not considered the absence of hands that feed and water and let in and out of necessary doors. Where are the attendants when we need them?
Goldfish. We know your goldfish will likely not live long. It may not survive the three days you spend at family camp. But there are too many little tiny fish buried at camp already. Please leave yours at home. Even if it’s a sturdy fish. It may attract Grizzly bears. And pet Grizzly bears are not allowed either.
Budgie. Have you ever seen a budgie sitting on the branch of a pine tree, not quite sure how it got here, not quite sure what to do next? It upsets the natural balance of things, somewhat like ring tones or a tutu on your Pomeranian. There is no cuttlebone in the Montana wilderness. Leave the budgie at home.
Rock. Pet rocks are, of course, in danger of being lost on the beach, unless they are clearly marked in reflective colors, which most pet rocks are not. They are also in danger of being thrown into the lake by pet camp bullies, of which there are always one or two, even at family camp. Or they are in danger of being thrown by camp bullies so as to bounce off of innocent six-year-olds’ heads. Uncool, we say, and therefore please leave your pet rock at home. Also, though we recognize that the bully is not precisely a pet, for the sanity and safety of innocent six-year-olds we would prefer that you leave your camp bully at home as well. He or she will be able to get along without you. Promise.
Dogs. Have you ever seen a squirrel-mad dog in the squirrel-ful wilderness? If so, you have likely seen a dog that will run headlong after each squirrel it finds until its heart nearly pops. You have been witness to a dog that cannot be controlled, that tries to run in three directions at once (since the squirrels are in three or four or five directions at once), that does not pay any sort of attention to children or senior citizens or authors of dog books who might be in the way. You have seen a dog driven nearly mad. Especially if said dog spots, while chasing a squirrel, a deer or bear or (God forbid) rabbit. (The rabbit is, of course, the most dangerous, as wild rabbits are known to be ferocious.) Also, have you ever seen more than one squirrel-mad dog chasing the same squirrel at the same time? Have you ever heard someone make use of the term “fur will fly”? More than one dog chasing the same squirrel at the same time is where that term comes from. Furthermore, the camp dog (yes, there is a camp dog that apparently disregards the rule regarding pets… unless, of course, he is a dog that is not considered a pet, in which case never mind)… the camp dog would rather not have competition for squirrels and bears and rabbits and leftover turkey wraps. So, enough said on that note. Camp dog has dibs.
These are the sum total of pets we could come up with for this post. If you have a pet not included here, feel free to give us your reasons for leaving them at home in the comments following the post. Or, if you’d rather, include the reasons your pet should be allowed at Family Camp. Please note that your comments will likely have no effect on the family camp in question, but it will make you feel better to vent your frustration. As I have just done here.
Photo: Terry Bain