How Do Dogs Live Down Here?!

Me and my hedgehog (he grunts).

I’m a pretty tough guy but, really, this desert dog stuff is pushing my limits. I drink from puddles at home all the time but whatever tiny critters live in the water down here do a number on my digestive system. Drinking from a watering hole in a dog park at Oceanside gave me a thorough understanding of the term “explosive diarrhea”. Another normally innocuous part of my life on the farm, plants, also seem to be out to get me down here. I’ve had more thorns in my paws than I can count, one big ball of nasty stuck to the back of my leg, and a spiky branch that seemed to jump right off its host onto my thigh when I walked by. I also had an eye infection that took many days of an antibiotic ointment to cure, and running in deep sand at the dunes tired out my hindquarters so much I had trouble getting up the stairs into the trailer when we got home.

Now you could attribute this to my 8 years, but I blame the sand. I can trot for 20 km beside a horse out in the Rockies and still have the energy to chase a gopher when I get home! And what is with all the gunfire and explosions down here? It seems every time we camp we’re close to a gun range or some military area where they’re testing artillery. I try to be brave, but every shot sends me under the table.

At least I don’t invite pain on myself…unlike my not-so-bright travelling companion. Chico ran up to a Saguaro cactus and jumped on it like a tree! I think he was looking for squirrels. He got down pretty quickly and hasn’t done it since. I guess he’s teachable.

We did 12 days in the desert near Quartzsite and then Bouse, boondocking, as they call it down here. It’s basically camping outside of an RV park or campground for no charge. Chico and I love boondocking — not enough water for baths, a lot more off-leash time, no being cabled to the RV whenever we’re outside, and lots of walking. You’d think it would be lonely but we actually seem to meet more people and dogs out in the desert than we do in the parks!
After 12 days we headed for water at Lake Havasu. It was much more peaceful than the ocean with tiny waves lapping the shore instead of roaring in…much more my speed. We had some swim time and some beach time. As RV parks go, that one was pretty good, except for the constant leash time. We did get to run free on the beach for a bit, whether we were supposed to or not I’m not sure.
From Havasu, south to Yuma, and another body of water. This one was smaller still, a large pond that’s part of the irrigation system. After hours in the truck I was thrilled to get out and go for a swim. Despite my earlier mistakes, I did take a big drink from the pond, and we were all a bit worried about the outcome, but by the following morning we were breathing easier. It seems the pond water is safe, even for me. We’ve been here over a week now and made some great friends in the RVs next door. We’ve all been hanging out at their place quite a bit and, if laughter is any measure of human enjoyment, Sa and Nollind seem to be enjoying their company a lot. They’re from California and are all super nice to me and Chico. We’ll be sad to say goodbye this morning.

But on we go…to our next stop on the adventure. I hear there’s a big city in our near future so I’m preparing myself for a lot more time on a leash.

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