Dog Tales
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Dog Tales

Reiley’s Wild Thing

Photo by Hoang M Nguyen on Unsplash

Dear Sasha,

Amid great bustle and excitement, we stuffed the car to the gills with pots, pans, food, (I made sure my food went in first) toys, bedding and pillows, and a giant piece of fabric that smelled like home. My home with you.

I felt instantly nostalgic when I smelled the dust, the pollen, and all the essences of being home. I remember arriving into the world and biting and scratching my way through my siblings to my mother’s side. I remember balls I chased, and arriving with the family I live with. They loved me as a baby. Oh the walks we took in the park where I met you. Can you understand the longing I had for you when I smelled that fabric?

It must have come with them and lain dormant in the dark until this moment.

We drove for a long time. The children fought over my shaking body. After all, maybe we were going back home and maybe it involved going in that noisy, smelly, shaking thing. The mother had packed the same suitcases with clothes. The thought of seeing you again held me steady.

We didn’t go home to you. After that long, long drive we piled out into a place that had no buildings. Oh the smells! Wild animals big and small, fierce and delicious. I had to be on the leash with the children. My nose was glued to the ground!

Trees! Really tall ones with squirrels running up their trunks. I licked my lips and barked (oops, barking is not acceptable!). Spiky things cover the ground and sometimes stick to my paws and fur. They have to pull the fur out to get the sticky stuff off me. (Not happy about that!)

The children and I ran all over the place. There are other people here. Some have dogs and we sniffed each other when allowed. I smelled thousands of other dogs on every tree and it seems that they come and go at a great rate because there are certainly not as many dogs actually here as there are smells. I have great fun discerning the age of the smells, never having had this rich an opportunity to do so.

When we came back to the parents, we discovered the huge fabric thing that smells like home was stretched between poles in a clearing between the trees. The mother had set out a table full of snacks. Special food that we don’t get at the new home. The kids and I were very hungry and we ate every scrap.

It started to get dark. I was worried because the house was so far away and the wild, fierce smelling creatures were stirring in the woods.

The father lit a fire in a metal bowl and everyone huddled around it. They put fluffy white things on sticks and roasted them in the coals. Oh my! Sasha, you need to taste one of these things. My eyes rolled back in my head as my teeth stuck together with the sweetness of them. Sticky. Yes, I got some in my fur, but I was happy to lick it off, not like the spiky sticky stuff they have to pull off that taste like the cleaner at the vet.

It got very dark. The wild things got closer and I kept looking at them in the woods. They wouldn’t come near the fire, but I didn’t know why the family didn’t go home to sleep. Were they going to sleep in the woods? I vowed I would not sleep. I would bark at the wild things and die keeping the fierce things away from my family.

At last the mother stirred. She took the children into the huge fabric thing that smells like home. There was lots of rustling and moaning and whining while I stayed out by the fire with the father. He patted my head. He realised that I saw things he couldn’t and he told me it was Okay. He had a plan.

Things got really quiet in the fabric thing. The children were sleeping. I could hear their little noses whiffling.

The fire died down. Then the father poured a bucket of water on it! Hiss! The wild things backed off for a while, but I knew they would be back soon.

The father opened a flap in the fabric thing and ushered me in. Whoa! They were sleeping on the ground in these soft sacks. My rug from home was in the corner and I was ordered to lie on it.

Did they think the fabric thing would keep them safe from the wild things? I vowed I would not sleep. I growled often, but the father patted my head and told me to be quiet. I had to trust his plan. I fell asleep before he did.

They call it “camping.” They had done it at home in this same fabric thing before I was born and came to live with them, and were happy to do it now.

Have you ever done anything like that? I’ll tell you more in my next letter.

love, Reiley

Dear Reiley,

Yes, I have camped. The fabric thing is called a “tent.” The ground sleeping soft things are “sleeping bags.” I don’t know what the fluffy white things are, though. They sound delicious!

Our rains are getting less. The dry season is coming. We will be very happy to lose the mud! A new dog called Freckie came to the park this week. He sounded a lot like you, not knowing the rules and smells, asking really dumb questions. Well, I would have thought they were dumb if I didn’t have your experience to help me. I think he came in a noisy, shaky thing from far away.

Take care! Are you sending your letters from “camping” now? Did you get back to the house?

I am eager to read more about your adventure.

love, Sasha

Author’s note: I love camping! My parents sewed a tent and we camped all around Europe when I was a child. I hope you like reading about it from a dog’s perspective. And if you’d like to read more about me, go to



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Nicola MacCameron

Nicola MacCameron

Are you creative? Everything I touch turns to art. Visual art, written, aural, tactile, you name it, I love it! Author of Leoshine, Princess Oracle.