My Dog’s Namesake

I named my dog Dylan after a kid at camp. There are two camps in my life. I went to Camp Thoreau from age 9-11 and worked at Camp Lohikan during college. Dylan the boy was at Lohikan. He was a cool kid who was liked by most campers and counselors. I don’t remember him as being particularly athletic but he was definitely tall for his age. He seemed to be perfecting a stoner cool persona as if he had seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Spicoli had made a great impression on him. Everyone was in the gymnasium for the camp olympics. There was another camp visiting and playing our kids in volleyball and wrestling. There was going to be a wrestling match between senior boys from our camp and senior boys from the visiting camp. They were only matching participants by age because Dylan’s opponent was a good 6″ shorter than he was. When our kids in the gym saw the boy that Dylan had drawn for the match they went crazy. They started chanting, DyLAN, DyLAN, DyLAN! Dylan in turn looked at the boy and decided that he had already won and raised his arms over his head in victory and enjoyed the confidence of his peers. The other boy saw what was happening and started to cry. It seemed for a minute that he was giving up before he’d even started. The chanting of Dylan’s name only got louder while the counselors from the visiting camp gave their wrestler a pep talk. They were able to get him to go through with it. The smaller boy seemed unsure and scared while Dylan was all smiles and was raring to get started on his cake walk. However, once the match got started the smile quickly left Dylan’s face. The smaller boy was like a shark and was relentless in his determination to take Dylan down. Once our crowd caught on to where things were headed they got very quiet and the kids from the other team started cheering jubilantly. I remember watching Dylan’s wincing red face as he was being expertly pinned to the mat. He did not expect this to happen. There was no escape from a spanking humiliation for one boy and utter triumph for the other.

Dylan the dog came from Philadelphia. I got her when I first moved there and was working as a telemarketer for a Dating Service called Great Expectations. She was a German Shepherd Husky mix and looked very tough on the outside. Once on the street a little boy looked at her and said, “Mommy that dog looks like a WOLF”. She was really just a marshmallow inside. She was extremely afraid of thunderstorms and would hide in the bathtub shaking, panting and whimpering until the storm had completely passed. I didn’t know all this about her when I gave her the name though. When she was a puppy she was a one dog wrecking crew and tried to eat or chew on everything in her wake. Once she destroyed a potted plant in the apartment. She broke the pot and scattered the dirt all over the floor. There were paw prints literally 2′ up on the walls. I imagined her running circles on the walls of the room a la Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding.

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