Brandon Reiter, infamous Facebook Live Reporter/Producer of the 2017 Rope Burning event has somehow came in possession of a letter written by our 14-year old camp dog, Casper, to his new younger brother, Yogi. Here it is, unedited….
I remember when I was in your paws.
I didn’t know what to make of my new life as the camp dog. It all happened so fast. I was just a young pup, rolling around with my brothers and sister. Before I knew it I was bought here to Honesdale, PA.
At first I was scared and intimidated. Such a big spread of open land for a little puppy to explore. Luckily, like you, I too had a big brother to explain how it all worked. His name was Taxi. At first, Taxi was not happy of my arrival, as I’m sure it may seem like I may not be happy of yours. You know, you bite and hang on to my ears, paws and tail, at times. I am tolerating it because I did the same to Taxi.
But as the time went on and Taxi got older, I knew that he was thrilled I had come along. Because he knew that I would pick up the bone (so to speak) and keep the Towanda Camp Dog tradition alive. Just as I know you will as the days go by and the summers roll on.
After all, Yogi, that’s what this place, Camp Towanda, your new home, is built upon: tradition.
Each summer, as the busses crash onto the shores of this camp, as Mitch (our Dad) likes to say, hundreds of campers come pouring out, excited to see each other. And believe me, they will be excited to see you too.
As the camp dog you represent something important to these kids. You are their common ground. No matter who they are, how old, how young, how big, how small, they can come to you, pet you, rub your belly, and they will feel unjudged by you. Even the campers that are initially afraid of us (and all dogs), my goal (and Taxi before me) was to help them feel comfortable.
As dogs, we show the humans in our lives unconditional love. And as camp dogs, we have an even bigger task of showing hundreds of campers each summer this love.
Let’s get one thing straight, you aren’t here to replace me. You are here to carry on the traditions (and remind them of me and Taxi). Because eventually, they will come back. Even when they are older and are finished at camp, they will come back with kids of their own. They will look at you and remember their camp dog(s), and all of the love we gave to them.
There are a few tips I have for you, before your first summer:
- If you ever see a lawn mower, leaf blower or golf cart, you must bark like a lunatic until it goes away!
- Right in front of The Mansion is a great place to lay down, the sun beams on you just right and everyone who passes you by pets you.
- Sunday nights are The Grateful Dead BBQs. If you time yourself right, you can be part of the clean-up crew; you know, those campers sometimes drop food on The Grassy Knoll. But, don’t let Stephanie know.
- Try not to puncture 24 Ghost balls your first day; otherwise they might keep you away from the court (rule k-9 or not)!
That’s about it for now young Yogi. That’s all I got for now; basically it’s all I can remember; as I don’t really speak or think in English!
We are very lucky dogs; although it’s a big responsibility, it isn’t too ruff! When you get to be my age you will look back and know it as just about the best life a dog could ask for.
Let’s have a great summer together….the kids will be here soon (in June)!!
From your big brother,