What do you get if you combine two 12-year-old boys, a mother, a grandmother, and a Yorkshire terrier for a week in Kiawah Island, South Carolina? You get exercise, sand fleas, sunburn and fun.
At 6 a.m. the day we left, I had loaded the Mazda van with a red sports bag, a cosmetic bag, a stack of beach towels, snacks and cases of Coke and of Sprite. The trunk was already three-quarters full before I even picked up the other passengers.
As I arrived at my daughter’s house, her crew came out the back door carrying enough stuff to fill a westbound train of wagons. There were suitcases, pillows, backpacks, beach bags, a dog bed and board games. By the time we crammed everything into the van, there was barely room for Bone, Candie’s three-pound Yorkie.
Candie took over for the ride, and I took over for the worry.
“Eeek! Look at that truck. It’s too close.
“Search! Get in the other lane!
“Are you sure this is the right road?”
“Mom, stop screaming. You make me nervous!”
Too excited to sleep, the boys settled into the back seat and pulled out their portable video games. Then they started shouting strange orders.
“Sit. Stay. Lie down.”
At first I thought they were talking to Candie’s dog.
“Who are you talking to over there? »
“We play Nintendogs, grandma.”
After many questions and explanations, I discovered this nifty Nintendo DS game involving a stylus, a touch screen and a built-in microphone. The game lets you take care of different breeds of virtual dogs that you can feed, train, wash, and walk. You can even teach them to do tricks.
Additionally, Nintendogs lets you connect your console to another person so your dogs can play together. Of course, both boys did this and talked to their pets simultaneously. Sometimes they had to shout to be heard by the DS microphone.
“Shake. Shake. SHAKE!” The constant screeches sometimes made me tremble more than the virtual dogs, but I was impressed with how the game captivated two 12-year-old boys on a seven-hour car ride.
While on vacation in Kiawah, I learned all of the Nintendogs game controls, including spin, begging, back flip, ball game, and roll. Naturally, the real dog, Bone, ignored all the commands issued by the boys and spent most of his time doing what he did best: napping. However, he enjoyed taking daily bike rides in the small basket attached to Candie’s bike. His little paws firmly planted on the front of the basket, he surveyed the scene like a Great Dane.
The week in Kiawah of frolicking on the beach, watching alligators in the lagoons and, of course, playing Nintendogs, passed quickly, and the boys and dogs, virtual and real, did remarkably well.
It was a vacation that was definitely dog friendly, but at least the virtual dogs didn’t require any cleaning.
Judy L. DiGregorio is the author of three Celtic Cat Publishing comedy books, “Memories of a Loose Woman”, “Life Among the Lilliputians” and “Tidbits”, plus a CD, all available on Amazon.