There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
Dog days in this home has taken on a whole new meaning! Each summer we host a weekend retreat we've come to call "cousin camp"...a weekend break for the parents and a yearly chance for our five little cousins to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa...and Gus. An event that requires weeks of organizing...coordinating calendars, drafting blueprints for the yearly water project, plotting crafts and games to fill the hours and teach new skills.....and fill Grandma's wall with photos! What started as a spur of the moment sleep over has now become a weekend extravaganza, planned hour by hour...and this year, involving traveling to mini golf and a water park, making rain sticks and stepping stones. Each year the theme changes......the kids grow a little taller.......the games get a little harder.....the task seems a little more daunting....but it's the camp counselor, Gus that makes cousin camp fun. On these muggy hot dog days of summer...the last few days between baseball and backpacks..... this little band of cousins make an ocean of laundry...and a mountain of memories.....and learn what being a family is all about! What we've learned? ....that one little brown dog can entertain 5 little children for hours! There is no laughter as sweet as the sound of little children around a reluctant dog in a bathtub...and no sight sweeter than that same wet dog sleeping curled smack in the middle of a floor full of sleeping bags and children. We've learned that simple joy is in the sight of sweaty summer tanned boys and a sun bleached blonde little girl in the midst of yet one more basketball competition.....and in hot pursuit of the butterflies in Grandpa's garden, Gus at their feet...with strict instructions on the catch and release rules! We've learned that there is simple joy in watching the older ones learn to help the younger ones...and how sweet it is to hear the sounds of those little voices shouting "this is totally wicked...we love this place" as they race to slide again and again down the water slide creation Grandpa dreamed up this year. On these dog days of summer....Gus has become the dropped food cleaner...the tear licker....the toy chaser...the butterfly catcher...the basketball dodger..the toe teaser. He models hats and t shirts...he suffers in silence as he's brushed like a doll....and he sings along gladly as our chorus of five belt out his favorite song. He snags all the treats they'll hand out...and still begs for more. He finishes the weekend a little chubbier...dog tired...and ready to do it again next year! Come to think of it...that's just how Grandma and Grandpa finished their weekend too! Thanks, kids....it was a "totally wicked weekend" and we love this place too!