Dogs coming home from camp on a mini-busToday when I went walking with my friend at the park, we saw a mini yellow school bus with several moms hovering around. The driver backed down the steps in the doorway of the bus. He was holding two leashes.

“Whoa,” I said to my friend. “Isn’t that, uh, politically incorrect to put kids on a lease?”

“Cha-yeah,” Laurie snorted. Then the noses of two dogs appeared at the end of the leashes. We stopped to gawk.

“Here you go,” the driver said to a woman who stepped forward. “They both did very well, but you know Pepper cheats at poker.”

“Oh, I know,” she said, laughing. “Whenever he and the other dogs play, he usually ends up with all their dog biscuits.” The other moms chuckled and nodded.

I sidled up to a woman toward the back. “What’s going on?” I asked.

“These guys are just coming home from a weekend doggie camp.”

“Really?” I said. “And they bring them back on a bus?”

“Oh, yes. They pick them all up here Friday afternoon and bring them back on Monday.”

“Really? Did I hear him say poker?” I asked.

The woman laughed. “That’s just a joke,” she said, “you know, like those velvet paintings of dogs playing cards?”

“Um, no.”

“Oh you know, like the ones they paint of dogs gathered around the table smoking cigars and playing cards, with aces sticking out of their caps and pockets?”

“I know the ones,” Laurie said. “Dogs playing poker. It’s a classic.”

“Anyway they just have a fabulous time at the camp. Oh here’s my little Poopskie now.” She went forward and scooped up a small white bijon poodle.

My friend elbowed me. “Boy the school system has gone to the dogs.”

“I’ll say.”

“Take a picture. The windows are all steamed up but you can see dogs sitting in the seats looking out.” So I snapped a picture of the bus before we resumed our walk.

“Can you imagine,” I said. “Here’s the bus driver –  ‘All right, everybody ready to have fun today? Okay, well let’s go! No. Wait. No. Pepper, no. I’m telling you, you’d better put that leg down. Put it down. I… will… put… a… cone…. on…. your… head… if you don’t put that leg down NOW. All right that’s it. You’re getting a cone head.’”

“Oh my gosh,” Laurie said. “Can’t you see that little white bison saying (she made a squeaky voice), ‘Mr. Bus Driver, Chico keeps climbing on me and thumping like a bunny. Make him stop.’”

“Oh, and when they get to the place, all of them keep walking around smelling each other for the first hour and forming these little trains like circus elephants.”

“That’s too funny,” Laurie said, laughing. “I can see it.”

“And their moms pack them little doggie lunches and they trade back and forth. ‘I got a Milk Bone I’ll trade somebody for a Pupperoni stick.’”

“And there’s this one poor mutt that only has a baggie with cheap dry dog food and they all make fun of him.”

We keep walking, giggling the way you do when things get silly and it feels good to laugh and you don’t want to be the one who stops it.

“And then they play Frisbee and all the sissy dogs sit over to the side and get in little snarling matches because they can’t catch a Frisbee.”

“And then it’s nap time and there’s a big room with towels and little blankets, and they all pick theirs and start pawing and scratching them around the room until all at once they stop, walk around the towels three times, and then lie down.”

“And one of them says, ‘I’m dog tired.’”

“Yeah, and another one says, ‘It’s a dog’s life.”

“And another dog sees Chico messing with the bijon, and says, ‘It’s a dog eat dog world.’”

She leaned into me laughing and almost knocked me into a skateboarder whizzing by.

“Then one of them won’t is all hyper so the guy says, ‘You better settle down right this minute buster or you’re going in the doghouse.’”

“And he whimpers and covers his eyes with his paws.”

“And then one of them lets an SBD and they all get up and start sniffing each other’s butts trying to figure out where it came from.”

“And that bijon says, ‘This is the last time I tell you, Chico. Get your ice cold nose off of my ass.’”

“Yeah and they settle backdown but start making fun of Chico because his mom dressed him in a tiny red plaid sweater that says, ‘Macho Man,’ across the back.”

“And it’s got pompoms hanging off it that are bigger than his cojones.”

“Except he doesn’t have any.”

“Well then, how come he keeps wanting to thump the bijon?”

“Uh, don’t know, maybe muscle memory.”

As we start toward the large hill on the backside of Gabriel Park, I wonder how much longer we can keep this foolishness up – I’m already winded from the giggles, but I don’t want it to stop, so I say, “And then it’s time to go home and they all start howling, ‘99 bottles of beer,’ on the little bus and the bus driver gets really mad.,”

“And they’re smoking cigars and playing poker and one of them has a couple of aces sticking out of his bandana.”

“They get back here to the park and the bus is all foggy because of the cigar smoke but the moms think it’s just from them panting.”

“And the seats are all chewed up because they ripped chunks out every time the driver wasn’t looking and spit them across the aisles at each other.”

“Then they climb off the bus wagging their tails and the bijon starts yapping, and what’s she’s trying to say is, ‘Please don’t make me go back there ever again. They’re all just a bunch of ANIMALS!’”

“And her mom says, ‘Oh you had such a good time, didn’t you? I’ll just have to send you back again next weekend so you can play with all your new little friends.’”

“And Chico cocks one eyebrow up and says, ‘I’ll be waiting, mi amor.’”

“Oh my gosh, Suzanne, you should write this down. This is too funny.”

So I did.