At the end of our inaugural weekend together, I recognize that while we have all had fun, two members of the family are ecstatic.

They are Aspen and Sofie.

On Friday, when the dogs watched my husband and two kids pull away, their tails sagged.  They started to watch every move I made, sure that I was about to leave them, too.  I could barely walk around without tripping over them.

When our middle son was done with work and ready to go, I surprised them both with those magic words known to canines everywhere:  “Want to go for a ride?” They leapt into the air (no small feat for an arthritic 11 year-old lab) and flew to the car, panting with excitement and literally dancing from one foot to another while waiting for the doors to open.

There is literally nothing better in their lives than sleeping in the camper.  Three of their favorite people were all in one room, all together, with beds that they could hop between easily.  Their other two special people were just two steps up, with another bed they could fly up onto. 

They accompanied their people everywhere.  They met and played with other doggie friends. They went swimming. They played ball.  They chewed on sticks.  They crashed in the sun, went for long car rides—and woke up only to do it all over again.  Really, can life be any better than this in the doggie world?

This is my mental photo of my silver lining today:  two dogs, swimming in the crystal clear blue of a lake surrounded by green mountains, circling back towards their favorite people, their faces showing pure joy. 

I go to bed tonight with a grateful soul.