My first piece of clothing was a green Shedrow jacket that looked like a small horse blanket. I was okay with it. It fit with my farm dog life and was great during the minus twenty cold snaps. When my feet got cold to the point where I was hopping on as few as I could manage, they bought me Muttluks. I wasn’t sure about them at first, but it was a happy morning when I took them for a test run and discovered they kept the frost off my toes and the ice out of my pads.
When Chico came along, I got a new jacket and he got the hand-me-down green one. The new one has a fleecy collar that looks a bit dorky if it’s standing up but the jacket is otherwise comfortable and warm and looks a bit like a Carhartt coat so still country rugged. It’s softer than the old one, therefore comfortable for sleeping in, like when we first started out on the trip this year and my bed under the table was chilly. I think my new jacket actually came from the market in Quartzsite. Kind of funny, considering I never need it once we get this far south.
Our first year of desert travel, my feet got sore when we were hiking at Picacho Peak. The rock there is volcanic and rough and after a day on the trails, I could barely make it off the trailer mat to water a bush. We hadn’t brought my Muttluks, thinking they wouldn’t be needed, so Teresa & Nollind drove to the nearest city and bought me another set. They helped a bunch, but by the end of the winter, the soft leather soles were already wearing through. Moccasins are not built for rock and coarse sand.
Now I have Ruffwear boots, kind of like a hiking boot for dogs and, until this year, they’ve been terrific. I felt like they put me in 4-wheel-drive when they went on. I could go anywhere! But this year, by halfway through the first walk, the right one was rubbing on my toes and, although I tried to maintain my usual level of stoic, I couldn’t seem to stop myself from biting at it like some crazed beaver. They tried adjusting it a couple of times but the front ones continued to hurt and I preferred to pick my way over the rocks than wear them. Until this morning’s walk …
Chico told you his toenail story. Well, to protect the damaged nail while we’re out walking, Teresa & Nollind bought him some little kid socks, a 3-pack from the dollar store, and one goes on his injured foot with a Velcro strap to hold it in place. This morning, they put a pair of his socks on my front feet before the boots went on. My thoughts as I looked at the cute little sports socks with 12-24 months written in grippy letters on the bottom? “You’ve got to be kidding me! Socks?! And toddler socks at that?”
I’d like to say I’m just humouring the humans because they are well-intentioned, but I have to admit the socks make the boots more comfortable. I went the entire hour walk without wanting to bite them off my feet and didn’t feel obsessed with licking at my toes when the boots came off back at the trailer. I am back in 4-wheel-drive!
So, here it is … I’ll admit to not being as tough as I once was when it comes to rocky terrain or the cold. I’ll wear the socks under my Vibram-soled boots. I’ll wear the Muttluks at home when the weather is frigid. I’ll wear the jacket rather than shiver all night long. But … that’s where I draw the line! They try to come near me with some doggie t-shirt, a Santa hat, or one of those ridiculous Halloween costumes, and I am getting on the phone to the humane society. I have drawn my line in the sand, people!
We’re still here at Quartzsite, possibly heading out in the next few days. I heard Nollind say we’re here until we leave. Seems to be the nature of this year’s trip…following our noses.