Dogs Gone Wild: Chapter 1

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By The Staff

My golden opportunity! My chance to shine! My time to show my family that I’m a warrior, a champion, a real sportsman, uh, sportsdog! I’m sorry, I should introduce myself. I’m Mr. Dogwood, but my friends and family call me Woody. (Sometimes I’ll hear “Dogwood” if I’ve made a knucklehead decision or if my parents are trying to get my attention.) Anyway, I’m a black and tan miniature wiener dog who lives in the great state where I was born – Kentucky. That makes me “Woody, The Kentucky Wiener.” Like any other wiener dog, I like mealtimes, chasing cats and digging. Unlike other wiener dogs, I have a job. That’s right – a regular, set-the-alarm, carry- my-briefcase, get-a-paycheck job! My big sister Chloe (a redheaded miniature wiener dog), my human parents (Mom and Dad) and I travel around in The Woody Bus talking to kids and adults about being their best. We call it ‘Woody’s Five Ways to Be Successful.’ Mom, Dad, Chloe, and I hope we help others, all the while reminding ourselves, that with hard work, a positive attitude, respect for others and ourselves, we can accomplish great things. Mom and Dad tell Chloe and me every day that we can achieve all our goals and dreams. “Work and dream like a big dog, Woody!” Dad once told me. “It doesn’t matter that you’re little, just think big. That, plus a winning attitude and hard work will take you places!” That was the best advice I’d heard. In fact, it’s become my motto! Now, Mom, Dad, Chloe, and I travel all around and share that message with others. How great is that! 

Where was I? Oh, my golden opportunity. It started while my family was watching our favorite TV show – a competition about surviving outdoors. During the course of the show, people live outdoors, participate in different challenges, and try to survive. The person who can stay in the game the longest by finding their own food, braving the elements and staying tough is the winner. The winner gets to brag to everyone how he or she survived – and goes away with a great big money prize! Anyway, Mom, Dad, Chloe and I were watching as the competitors hiked 12 miles up a mountain and used a grapevine to swing across a river filled with crocodiles before they were safe. I made the comment that it seemed like a simple task. “Simple?” Chloe asked, “It doesn’t look simple to me.  Besides, Woody, you get tired on our two-mile walk every morning. Do you really think you could hike 12 miles and fend off crocodiles?”  “Sure I could. If faced with the challenge, I would prevail every time!” I responded, puffing my chest out a bit. I thought the conversation was closed until Dad said, “Hey, let’s put you to the test! How about the four of us take an old-fashioned camping trip?”  “TerRUFFic idea!” I barked. “Can we compete like they do on the show?” “Sure, your Mom and I will come up with challenges and you and Chloe can compete.” Secretly I smiled. Piece of cake! My sister was the smartest and prettiest girl I knew, but I was the guy, the man, the brute! I could hear it now, “Game over, Woody won!”  Mom must have read my thoughts because she said, “Remember, Woody, it’s a friendly competition and your sister is tougher than you think.” “Yes ma’am,” I replied.  “What’s the grand prize?” I asked. Dad thought for a minute and said, “Since the winner of the show receives money, the winner of our version will receive money, too – a new, crisp $50 bill!” I’d wanted a new bowling game for my WOOF system. Fifty dollars would do the trick! I was getting ready to browse the Internet to find the game I was going to buy when Dad said, “Here’s your first challenge:  You and Chloe must each pack your own backpack of things you will need for the camping trip. You can only take one bag so make sure you pack smart, taking only items that will be useful. Get your bag packed because we will leave as soon as the sun comes up in the morning!” “In the morning? At sun up? That’s early!” I replied. For some reason, Mom, Dad and Chloe laughed. I must have missed the joke but unfortunately, I didn’t have time to ask what was funny. I had to get focused. I had a competition to win and my first challenge was getting my backpack ready. And for the life of me, I couldn’t remember where Mom kept the blankets.