Weekend getaways, picnics, relaxation outings are commonplace in our human circles. If humans need it, ever thought of something similar for our canine counterparts? Dog trainer Pooja Sathe comes up with a vacation scheme for those beloved members of our family, who deserve nothing but the best!!! Crazy K9 Camper’s Dog Camp held at YMCA Camp Lakeside at Nilshi in July this year was an event with a difference. It was a camp attended by over 12 dogs and their families, where the sole goal was enjoyment for the four-legged darlings. It was a two-day action packed schedule, chalked out well in advance.
The camp was organised solo by Pooja Sathe, an avid animal lover, especially dogs. A dog trainer by profession, she has been involved in organising such novel events for the dogs and other animals over the past two years. This camp was also organised keeping in mind the need for the K9 members to have their share of relaxation and change of atmosphere. “If people die to go out of town for small outings, why shouldn’t the canines too have their share of it,” she says.
The YMCA Camp Lakeside proved to be an excellent location for the camp, since it was not too far from Mumbai (about 150 kms) and yet far enough to keep those involved in it, away from the hustle bustle of the city life. It also had enough space for the dogs to be left free and contained enough to not let them go away too far.
It was heartening to see the dogs off leash for almost all of the two days, which seemed to provide them with the much needed relaxation and freedom. They had the full freedom to discover and explore the wilderness, which is their natural habitation. There was a unanimous feeling of happiness amongst all present to see the pets having so much fun.
Spice of life
To spice up the camp, Pooja organised various interesting events, the most enjoyable being the ‘Dog Recipe’. The pet owners had to team up and cook up delicious recipes like dog biscuits, ice cream with fresh fruits etc. The aim of the event was “Cooking for your Pet”, and if the pet did not eat it, one was automatically disqualified.
Then there was also an excursion to the lakeside, which presented one of the most amazing scenes of nature. The owners stayed on the lakeside while the pets enjoyed a nice and cool swim in the lake. It was absolutely enthralling to see the pets playing and splashing in water. They seemed to be enjoying the cooling experience, away from Mumbai mania.
All the 12 dogs present at the camp displayed very special character traits and two days were more than enough for everyone to find that out.
- Jini, a female German Shepherd had a bad time wooing off two males – Cocoa, a chocolate Labrador and Tommy, a mix breed. They were absolutely smitten with her and tried to woo her for all the time they were there.
- Then there were the two female Dalmatians – Pygmy and Pixie. Both were real powerhouses of energy and had feet like quicksilver. They also possessed immaculate discipline when it came to following master’s orders.
- The two female Labradors, Bhavani and Hidimba, were the laid-back kinds and very peace loving indeed. However, all that went for a toss when they got into the lake.
- The most impressive name belonged to a young six month old fawn Labrador. The name Troy created in the mind an immediate sense of power and control, which was enough to attract anyone to him.
- Jazz, who was Pooja’s male Labrador, was the most energetic and also the most voracious eater of the lot. He would never sit still for more than a few seconds. Needless to say, Jazz had a really jazzzy time at the camp!
- But the best dog of the troupe was undoubtedly “Julie”, a female Cocker Spaniel who was almost like “lightning in flesh”. She was so agile and energetic all the time that it left the other canines hunting for her, but in vain. She kept everyone busy all the time.
The most adventurous event, however, was the trekking programme arranged for the pets and their owners. It was some sight to see a caravan of dogs, their owners and their vehicles marching on to Camp-18, a hill well known for the cloud cover during the monsoon days. The owners parked their cars at the base of the hill and the trek began. It took almost over an hour to scale up the hill and come back down. (Even here the dogs were kept off leash almost all the time. One could easily see the animal instincts inside them come out and show off in all their colours.) The trek was an easy one and it gave the dogs a chance to indulge in an activity that they must have never experienced.
From the hill, the campers were taken to a waterfall, which proved to be the most enjoyable part of the camp. The dogs literally had a ball of a time in the waterfall. It was great pleasure to see the dogs frolicking around in the waters like crazy creatures.
There was even a sports session held on the basketball court where everybody brought out their footballs, basketballs, rings and other accessories and had an hour of running around and playing. Each dog received a goodie bag besides the loads of happy memories attached to the last two days of the camp.
But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and it was sad to see such a rocking camp finally dispersing. However, there couldn’t have been a better platform than this to start out such dog camps. The four-legged troupe we had, deserved great accolades too, since they all gelled together amazingly. And even though the camp ended, the whole experience and feel of it all, is still fresh in everyone’s minds, including the canines and their owners, even today.
For more info on YMCA Camp Lakeside Nilshi, visit: www.ymcabombay.com/cs.htm