Canine Transportation System

I feel like a whole other dog from the last time we were travelling in the US. What a difference four years makes when each one is like seven. Back then, at eight years old, I was already considered a more senior statesman in the dog world, but now I’m well and truly in the senior citizen category. And back in 2017, with thirteen-year-old Logan beside me, I looked like a pup!

On top of Q Mountain in 2017. Logan was back in camp beyond those hills.

Time marches on, but I don’t so much these days. Once we get this digestive thing under control (T’s still working on it), I think my energy will be better, but for now, I’m on the short-slow-walk program. You’d think this would mean I’d be spending more time in the trailer and truck and less on the trail, but not with T and Nollind in my corner.

A saunter through coral pink sand.

Our first stop in the southwest was St George, Utah, a city in the bottom corner of the state where the elevation is low and the weather mild. The RV park was a tiny thing, so I had no issues handling any and all walks around the park at my somewhat sedate pace. But our first outing, to Chuckwalla Trailhead, just about did me in, going up and down hills and over rocks in the warm sun. And that was only a short out and back, a small portion of the trail.

Resting up on the uphill portion of the Chuckwalla Trail.

So, two days later we returned to do the entire loop of three different trails and six kilometres. I was worried. It was cool that morning, but it was going to take more than a friendly temperature to get me around the loop. And then Nollind pulled my chariot out of the box of the truck. I was saved! I’d only had one quick test ride around the yard back home, but I figured out pretty quickly what a benefit it would be in the desert.

I walked the first kilometer, and then, right around the time I started to get tired, the trail sloped off to one side and I had a hard time not doing a little sashay right down into the ditch. So up I went into the Cabriolet, my chariot, my Canine Transportation System (CTS).

What did I tell you? It’s a Cabriolet CTS. What else would CTS stand for?

There’s a foam bed on the bottom, and T used a fleece jacket to give me something to lean against. Cushy, right? Well, it was at first, until we hit the rough part of the trail. I thought they’d turn back, and so did T, but Nollind was determined to get me around that whole loop, I think for T and for me. Bouncing over rocks, pushing through deep sand, acting as a human brake on the downhills, Nollind was the trusty steed for my chariot.

I got out for a break at the top of Beck Hill to have a drink and stretch my legs, and then Nollind took off down the hill without me. What?! You expect me to walk? They did, as it turned out. I humoured them for a short distance before stopping in the trail and staring at the CTS. They picked up what I was laying down (without me actually laying down—that was next) and I was back on the road, bumping along down the steepest part of the hill.

Two days later, we were off to another nearby destination, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. I’ve done dunes before, a few times, so I was pretty excited. But these dunes seemed different than any I’ve experienced—much steeper than Kelso or Algodones and the sand much tougher to walk in. Or so it seemed. I made it up the first gentle incline, but there was no way I was getting to the top of the highest dune. Where was my trusty chariot when I needed it?

Dune running in 2014.

Back in the truck is where…wheels and deep sand not being a good combination. Just when I was about to throw up my paws in defeat, I found myself hoisted onto Nollind’s shoulders. My trusty steed turned Sherpa came through for me again. I was going to the top!

It was surprisingly comfortable up there.

It won’t be the same this winter without the ability to keep up with the peeps and get everywhere I want to go on my own steam, but at least I won’t have to miss out on the many adventures ahead. With my Canine Transportation Systems, I can go almost anywhere, and still not miss my nap.

On top of the dune with my support team.

Live on Location

It was day camping time for the adventuresome six yesterday and we were down at Little Bow Provincial Park just east of Champion, Alberta. I had this terrific idea to present the Fur-iday Files “live on location” from the park—great idea, right?—but then there was no internet service.

So … instead … I did this …

Bare ground and spring sunshine. Oh, man. Heaven.

And, this morning, I’m feeling inclined to do this …

Short walk but a big day yesterday.

So, I’ll be back next Fur-iday, with the tale of our third installment of winter 20/21 day camping.

PS: In case anyone is concerned about the proximity of the humans in my banner image, this photo was taken pre-pandemic on an outing to Rosebud.

Too Sexy for the Dog Park

It’s long been a struggle of mine, being too sexy for my own good. I haven’t written about this before because it’s … well … kind of embarrassing.

If you’ve been around dogs before, you know that, despite our cuteness, we can be crude creatures. A prime example is how we get to know each other by sniffing each other’s butts. It’s completely normal behaviour in our world and is the way we identify one another should we meet again. You’d be surprised at how much information a dog can pick up from the scent molecules and pheromones of another dog—health, reproductive status, happiness, gender, and even diet. Cool, right?

Dog park sniffing chain.

Another common behaviour in the canine world is mounting or, the less attractive sounding, humping. You’ve all seen it, one dog latched onto the back of another. The humper can be male or female, as can the humpee, and being fixed doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Sometimes it’s a misguided attempt at play, other times it’s one dog displaying dominance over another, and then there’s my situation. For me, it’s almost guaranteed to happen with intact males, occurs regularly with fixed males, and every now and then with a female. In a lot of cases, the owners are surprised, swearing it is highly unusual behaviour for their dog. Well, not when it comes to me.

If he were taller…

It looks something like this … New dog comes running up to me to say hello, tail wagging, all set for a meet and greet, and then they get the scent, that something about me that drives them to unseemly behaviour. It’s especially strong around my shoulder blades so I’ll end up with a taller-than-me dog running along beside drooling over my shoulders, waiting for an opportunity to jump on. And they do, repeatedly, sometimes having to be dragged away by their owners.

I try to keep walking and mind my own business, but if it’s a big dog and they latch onto my hindquarters, I’m stuck. That’s usually when I’ll growl or snap, to let them know I’m not impressed. But it doesn’t work. My intoxicating scent has clouded their ability to hear what I’m saying no matter how loudly I shout, “Get. Off. Me!”

Lucky for me, this guy didn’t like my cologne.

It didn’t happen as often when I was a young dog so I guess I’m just getting sexier with age. Problem is, I’m also less able to withstand large dogs jumping on top of me as I get older. Last Sunday at the Strathmore Dog Park, out of just eight dogs in the park, two of them were all over me, one of them a standard poodle who jumped on me twice and then knocked me onto the frozen ground. My left hind leg has been stiff and sore ever since and the peeps have curtailed my walks to give it a chance to heal.

Dog parks were better when I had my wingman.

Once, at the Southland Dog Park, there was a bulldog named Angus who got so crazy with lust that his horrified owner had to drag him away until she felt it was safe to let him off his leash. But what did Angus do as soon as the leash was disconnected? He came running for me from the other side of the park as fast as those stubby legs would carry him, smashing into me, knocking me to the ground, and then humping my side as I lay there stunned.

If it were small dogs that took an interest it wouldn’t be so bad, but they can’t get their noses into that sweet spot between my shoulders.

I love playing with small dogs.

So, what to do? T tried a deodorizer in my fur right before we went to the park on Sunday. It didn’t help at all. Or maybe it did and I’d have had four or six dogs on me instead of two with particularly good noses. But I don’t think so. What I do think, and I’m pretty sure my peeps agree, is that my dog park days are over, at least the small and/or crowded variety.

Pretty sure I’m safe with this guy.

I’m okay with it really. In my early days with T and N, I was more inclined to sit with them in the park than visit with other dogs (like in the photo below taken in California) and I’m generally as interested in sniffing around where dogs have been as meeting the dogs themselves. And, at this stage of life, when I no longer have excess energy to burn or a desire to roughhouse, an on-leash walk or a wander through a big off-leash area suits me just fine.

As for the sexy part, well, there’s not much anyone can do about that.