I loved Mr. Piddle and I could tell he loved me as well by the way he would look me in the eyes as he humped my leg. He wasn't my first poodle though, my first was named Theodore Von Hind-lick, and I loved him even more than Mr. Piddle. Sadly, Theodore Von Hind-lick was eaten by a bipedal bear on a similar camping trip many years ago. A friend of mine who was with me when this tragedy occurred claims it was not a bear at all that ate poor Theodore, but a Sasquatch of some kind, however he also thinks Vaseline is a good sandwich spread, so what the hell does he know.
I remember how beautiful the day was when Mr. Piddle and I made camp, the birds were singing, butterflies were butterflying, insects were happily drinking our blood, and Mr. Piddle was thrilled because this was the only place other than my ex-wife's house I would allow him to remove his diaper.
Because I'm an incredibly poor planer I neglected to bring food of any kind, so our first day was spent attempting to catch fish from the near by river. I don't believe in the use of guns for hunting or rods for fishing, if you are going to kill one of natures beautiful creatures it should be done with nothing other than the appendages Zeus gave you. Needless to say, Mr. Piddle and I had nothing for dinner that night as we sat around our non-existent fire, because I also forgot to bring a lighter.
Night time is scary in the wilderness, strange animals can be heard barking and growling, moaning and howling, and every one of them would like nothing more than to slice you open and have a fondue party with your entrails, which is why we hid in our tent the moment the sun when down.
Amongst the cacophony of disembodied groans emanating from the brush, one sound stood out above all others. It was a deep, heavy breathing, accompanied by a low growl that seemed to be directly outside the thin layer of nylon we cowered behind. It scared me worse than that time grandpa's scrotum popped out of his shorts at the water slide, but not Mr. Piddle, he was much braver than I. Mr. Piddle hardly seemed to care about the sounds. While I sat shaking like a priest in a court room, he casually nibbled at his underbelly or licked the dingleberries from his ass, as if he hadn't a care in the world, which kinda' bothered me because it made me feel like a coward. If an old, balding dog isn't frightened of these disconcerting noises, why the hell was I?
Come morning my courage had returned and we both exited the tent under the protection of sunlight. Our campsite was completely devastated; the pots and pans I had brought for cooking were folded in half like playing cards, most of my suntan lotion had been used up, the hammock had been snapped from its perch between the trees as if sumo wrestlers were using it for a trampoline, and my binoculars had somehow found their way to the top of a nearby pine tree. As if this wasn't confusing enough, giant human-like footprints, twice as large as mine, littered the campsite from one end to the other.
My first thought was that a barefoot Shaquille O'Neal had raided our camp looking for a basketball, but I quickly abandoned that idea when I realized Shaq probably would have politely asked to borrow a ball instead of just taking one.
And then, for the first time in my life, I had an idea. What if my friend had been right all those years ago when he insisted it was Bigfoot that had eaten Theodore Von Hind-Lick and not a bear? Could all those stories about the wild man-beast actually be true? The very idea made the hair in my nostrils curl.
Now, I know most people would have packed up their tent and gotten the hell out of there the moment they realized what they were dealing with, but not me, I had a better idea.
Every picture or video I'd ever seen claiming to have captured bigfoot was blurry, shaky, or just plain unbelievable. If I could get a clear image of the beast using my iPhone 5, I could sell it to the tabloids for enough money to buy an iPhone 6, while simultaneously becoming world famous.
That night we had no reason to believe the creature would return but stayed up all night waiting for him anyway. Me and Mr. Piddle played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit until the early morning hours (he won), before falling asleep in each others embrace. And then, at about 3:50 in the morning I was awoken by the same heavy breathing from the night before.
I could hear whatever it was digging through the empty cooler near my Jeep and managed to quell my shaking hands just long enough to set my iPhone to record, strap it to Mr. Piddle's collar with a bungee cord, and toss his sleeping ass out the zippered door.
I understand this sound like a heartless thing to do considering how much I claim to love Mr. Piddle, but he was so much more fearless than me that I believed he truly wouldn't mind. When he started to paw at the tent door and cry like a baby in George Bush's arms, I realized he did indeed mind, but I was still a little irritated about loosing at Trivial Pursuit, so I pretended to be sleeping.
I heard the loud stomp of the creature moving toward my tent. There were a few barks from Mr. Piddle, a yelp, a crunch, and then silence. The fear coursing through my veins was too much for me to take and I passed out cold.
My anxiety was so great it took me hours to exit the tent after waking in the morning. When I did Mr. Piddle was nowhere to be found. My iPhone on the other hand was resting up against a nearby tree as if tossed away like garbage. The loss of Mr. Piddle was devastating to me, but the thought that I may have footage proving the existence of Bigfoot helped to brighten my mood.
Unfortunately, the iPhone 5 does not possess night vision capabilities, so the images I received showed nothing but blackness, while the audio of the creature was overshadowed by loud screams of fear emanating from me. I don't remember yelling like that, but I'm not surprised considering I'm a bit of a coward.
So it turned out I sacrificed Mr. Piddle for nothing, which bothered me a bit until I realized I could just go to the pet store and get another dog.
I also made the decision right then and there to never go into the wilderness accompanied by a poodle, and I suggest you do the same. Bigfoot seems to be real and he has an apparent penchant for poodles, which he scarfs down like crack cocaine at Charlie Sheen's house.
I've since gotten another poodle that I love so much I keep him locked in a water tight safe at the bottom of my swimming pool. One day I'm going to open it and teach him how to fetch, but until then, the safest place for him is far below my splashing feet.