How My Neighbor’s Dog Ate Their Tent

Tents are supposed to be sturdy, aren’t they?

You take a tent for camping because it’s supposed to keep you dry when it rains, warm when it’s cold, and safe from the elements in the dark night. It can’t do these things when there is a big ripped hole in one side. My friend Amy told me this story. She and her husband Rob were just trying the tent out in the back yard the first night after they got it. This was part of their organized preparation for the following weekend’s first spring camping trip.

The kids were so excited. Maybe that’s what set off their rather large pup to bouncing and bounding … right into the side of the tent. Ouch! I don’t mean ouch for the dog: the dog was fine. He’s a Dalmatian named Reggie, but we’ll call him Ripper for the rest of this story. Ouch for the tent!


Reggie/Ripper was not fully-grown. He had long gangly limbs, big clumsy feet, and sharp juvenile nails. All of these doggie body parts landed in a tangle half under the tent that had just been erected. He hadn’t expected the tent to be there. It wasn’t in the yard when he’d last been out. He didn’t intend to crash land right into it. Imagine the yelping and teeth gnashing as he disentangled himself. And the kids crying as they ran toward him, until they saw their dog was okay.

But the tent was not okay after that. Maybe even the best of tents wouldn’t have withstood Reggie/Ripper’s unintended assault. But maybe it would have. The story made me think about what should go into the makeup of the best tent. Certainly material would be high on my list. I’d want the sturdiest, rip-resistant fabric. Something reflective, so it can be seen easily in the dark. Poles would be next. They should stay in the ground! They should be resilient and bendable, in case dogs or kids or heavy playthings land on them.

The whole tent kit should have replaceable parts. That’s obvious. I don’t know if Amy and Roger have looked into a new tent setup yet. I’ll ask. Shopper that I am, I’ll have to help them.

You might want to watch this guide on choosing a tent: