Over the holiday weekend, Shawn & I hopped into the Ford E150 that we've been working on and headed out into the woods to do some camping. While we were there, we had a less than pleasant experience with one particular set of camp neighbors - and their dogs.

Before I met Shawn, I had no idea how much I would enjoy sitting in the woods next to a campfire. We never camped when I was a kid and honestly, we never even went on vacations. In fact, I had only been camping once before I met my husband and it wasn't the greatest experience. I just thought camping wasn't for me. Fast forward to 2016 when Shawn took me out to Hoosier National Forest to camp and I fell in love.

I had so much fun the first time he took me camping. We hiked and saw wildlife. The food cooked over the campfire was delicious and that campfire was a thing of beauty all its own. I had no idea camping could be so much fun. Since then, we been out numerous times and visited several different campsites. We've tent camped and most recently, we slept in the van. The platform bed inside it is far superior to sleeping on the ground, even with an air mattress. Camping is just a joy and something that I really look forward to and get excited about now.

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There are some things that can make for a not very great camping experience though and it's one of those things that you're likely to encounter in a group campground setting like we were in this weekend at the campground in Hoosier National Forest - dogs. Now, I completely understand wanting to bring your dog with you camping. In fact, I think it's wonderful when people bring their dogs camping... as long as they abide by the campground rules.

At Hoosier National, there are signs up all over to let dog owners know that their dogs must be leashed while on forestry lands. There were a number of campers out this weekend with their dogs in tow who were abiding by the leash rule of the campsite. However, our camp neighbors had with them at least three dogs with them and none of them were leashed. I witnessed their dogs run out of their campsite at other people, ourselves included, and at other dogs. This is dangerous for the other campers, for the other pets and honestly for the dogs themselves.

Keeping your dog on a leash at camp is honestly one of the smallest yet most responsible things you can do as a good pet owner and a good camper. So before you take your four-legged friend into a national forest or state park campground, make sure you have your leash.

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