Hello everyone! Today, I wanted to share something really fun I did recently. I puppy sat and dubbed the occasion as Camp Cuddles!
Okay, so backing up, you might remember that I’ve mentioned my puppy niece, Arya, a few times before. My sister needed a puppy sitter for a week and asked me if I would watch her dog. Of course I said yes! I love dogs, but I don’t have any of my own because my parents prefer a dog free home. Puppy sitting for my sister is totally acceptable though, so I really looked forward to having her dog for the week.
Here’s what happened!
How Camp Cuddles Came to Be
So, being the super extra person that I am, I decided that I was going to theme Arya’s visit as a camp. I couldn’t use my town’s name as it’s a religious name and I thought that sounded way too much like a cult (my sister agreed) so I thought up a few options. I finally settled on one of Arya’s favorite activities – cuddling! Thus Camp Cuddles was born.
To prep for Arya’s arrival I did a few things. First, I grabbed the few things we keep for her here and put them in my sister’s room. She’s moved out so I guess I could call it the guest room but she’s the only guest that says over and it was her room before she moved out so it’s still kinda her room anyway. Anyway, since that’s where she stays, Arya’s the most used to that room, because she naturally stays with my sister when they visit together. I put out a little dog bed and blanket we keep for Arya’s visits, grabbed her food and water bowls, and “dog proofed” the house. She’s a really good dog so there wasn’t much to do. Mostly I just moved my fiddle leaf fig tree, Frida, up onto a cabinet from the floor because they’re harmful to dogs if ingested. I highly doubt Arya would have even paid any attention to it if I’d left it on the floor, but I didn’t want to take the chance!
Oh, one more fun thing I did was create a camp “agenda”. I went on Canva, one of my favorite apps ever, and looked up a camp themed agenda. I had to replace the photos of kids having fun at camp with photos of dogs in nature and then change the activities/times/etc. but it was super easy and my sister loved it! I’m all about these little details so I love spending a few extra minutes (more like 20 probably) and making something fun to add to the experience. I also created a camp “mail” template to use when Arya arrived where she would “write” about her camp experience each day to send to her mommy! I have never gone to camp but in the movies the kids always write to their parents and usually tell them they’re having a horrible time and ask them to pick them up. So I thought that Arya could write her mom too but she was going to write about how much fun she was having because Camp Cuddles is a GREAT time.
How Camp Cuddles Went
Short version: it went GREAT!
Long version: it was so fun that Camp Cuddles was extended by half a week!
Okay, I’ll share a full version now. So Arya arrived and while she was pretty confused why her beloved mom got in the car and left without her, she was pretty chill about it. We did go out into the garden so she could see her mom get in the car and leave, so she would hopefully understand that my sister wasn’t going to walk in the door right away. She did seem to understand and didn’t cry about it but she did want to sit outside in the shade for awhile and it seemed like she was waiting for the car to come back. However, she went back inside without issue and was so good the rest of the day! (And week!)
Typically our schedule went like this:
- 6:30am Wake up and cuddle. Then cry when I went to brush my teeth.
- 7:00am Go outside and water the plants (flowers and garden).
- 7:45am Wait for Grandma (my mom) to come downstairs.
- 8:00am Go for walkies around the subdivision.
- 9:00am Go back home for breakfast (this was usually earlier than 9 actually, because it was so hot most days and she got tired).
- 10:00am Either nap time, baking time, or field trip time to dog friendly places.
- For shops I would call ahead and double check they were dog friendly. First I would search online for pet friendly chains and then call the specific location I was hoping to visit if they weren’t specifically pet stores. For example, TJ Maxx is a pet friendly chain, but managers at each location can decide to not allow this if they want. Arya is NOT a service dog but she is a very friendly dog so I was comfortable taking her out (and my sister said it was fine), but it’s always good to call ahead and double check. The stores I called all said they were pet friendly as long as the pet was well behaved and leashed. Those were easy requirements for us to meet so off we went!
- 12:00pm Lunch time! Usually Arya had already eaten the wet food portion of her food but left the dry food so she’d eat more if she was hungry.
- 1:00pm Nap time! She loves naps and if she hadn’t napped in the morning she was absolutely exhausted by this time.
- 4:00pm Grandpa’s home! My dad would normally get home around 4pm so we’d typically go outside to greet him at that time and hang out until dinner.
- 5:00pm Dinner time! Arya would eat more dry food if she was hungry but typically she wasn’t.
- 7:00pm Evening walkies! We’d go out again one more time in the evening so she could go potty again before bedtime and get some more exercise in.
- 9:00pm Bedtime! I decided I wanted to sleep in my room instead of my sister’s and she didn’t seem to mind the change of room. She would try to sleep on my blanket because it’s so fluffy but I would say sorry that’s my spot and send her onto her bed (which was placed on my bed).
As you can see, she’s a very easy dog to care for! Literally the most naughty thing she did was go on the couch when she knew she wasn’t supposed to. To fix that, I would just bring her bed downstairs and set it down next to the couch where she could still see us. She thought that was a fine solution! Otherwise she was super thrilled to get a walk in, get some food and water, and then nap the day away.
Camp activities included going outside to hang out, play time with her toys, shopping at the “Camp store” (aka the pet friendly stores), and movie time. The only movie she watched that she was remotely interested in was Coco and I’m pretty sure that was only because of the dog Dante. As she’s a Chihuahua I told her that was literally her heritage and she didn’t really seem to care.
Oh! We also went to Starbucks to get Arya’s very first pupcup! She wasn’t sure what we were giving her at first but once she tried it she LOVED it! I only gave her half of her pupcup and then put the rest in the fridge for the next day because she’s a small dog, so I figured it was best to give it to her in smaller increments. I also did make her homemade dog treats one day because she didn’t really like the ones I had (she’d actually had them on her previous trip here in March and liked them so I think they were stale and she wasn’t a fan). The homemade treats went home with her so she could enjoy them with her Cousin Raven (my sister’s roommate’s dog that she doesn’t get along with but we like to pretend they secretly love each other).
We did try to have training time so I could teach her to wipe her paws but it wasn’t really working out well. The TikTok I saw showing how to train it relied heavily on treats and she’s not very food motivated. Instead she learned “high five” where you just hold your hand up and she stands on her hind legs to hit your hand with both paws. So cute!!! My parents also call her Ariana instead of Arya because they think that’s easier and she sort of started to respond to Ariana. Whoops.
Originally, Camp Cuddles was only supposed to be for one week. However, my sister’s work schedule got changed so she wasn’t able to pick up Arya on the original pick up date. Thus, Arya ended up staying an extra few days! I was over the moon about it because I really loved having her around. She was the sweetest little shadow, following me everywhere and asking for cuddles. She’s the best puppy niece ever and I’m already planning Camp Cuddles 2021!
And there you have it! Camp Cuddles 2020 was a success! The camper’s parent was thrilled and left a glowing review, the camper had a great time, and this camp counselor misses her sooooo much. Please leave any suggestions for Camp Cuddles 2021 if you have any because I want to make it even more epic for her!
Thanks for reading!
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