Flashback Fur-iday – Desert Dog

It’s that time of year when my thoughts turn toward the deserts of the southwest, a place we’ve spent five winters since 2011. We’re staying home this year, and I’m good with that, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking about sun, sand, and long walks among cactus. And all of these things make me think of Logan, my desert travelling companion on all five of our trips south.

New Mexico’s amazing white sand dunes.

He was actually kind of a homebody, in that he didn’t much like transiting from one place to another in a vehicle, but he loved to visit the new place at the end of a day’s journey. He’d go from “We’re all going to die!” in the truck to “Yippee! What a fabulous spot to explore!” the instant he hit the ground.

“I hope we’re going somewhere good.”

As much as he came to love the desert in later years, on that first trip in 2012, he was not convinced.

“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. 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.”

Feb 2012 – How Do Dogs Live Down Here?
Cactus encounter.

“I thought I’d covered all of the bases on desert hazards for dogs but then I discovered yet another — volcanic rock. Doesn’t sound like a big deal to you maybe, but it does a number on a dog’s pads after a few miles. In fact, at least in my case, it wears the surface right off making it extremely painful to walk on anything but a nice smooth surface. Luckily, I have very caring people, who bought me some boots to get around in until things were less sensitive. It was a bit embarrassing walking around camp and having people pointing and saying, “Oh, look at the doggie in the cute little boots!”

March 2012 – Sore Feet and Sore Eyes
Booted up for the rocky hills near Borrego Springs, California.

When T and Nollind discovered the world of boondocking was when Logan really started to experience the joys of desert life.

“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.”

Feb 2012 – How Do Dogs Live Down Here?
Hiking Q Mountain at Quartzsite.

On the last couple of trips south, Logan’s favourite spot was under the trailer on his mat. He would spend all day under there, alternating between sleeping and watching the world go by.

I miss the desert this year, but not being there probably makes Logan’s absence a little easier. A trip to the desert without Logan is hard to imagine. But what really concerns me is how the desert is doing without Logan to watch over it.

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First Fur-iday

It’s the first Fur-iday of December and it’s got me thinking about how this blog got started. In one word … Logan. It was his idea. He wrote the first post, gave the site its name, and signed me up to write every second post. It was tough for me because Logan had a sort of cynical way of seeing the world that made people laugh. I’m a bit of a clown in person, but in writing, I had a hard time living up to the standard he set. However, once we began posting weekly and wanted a regular day, I was the one who came up with Fur-iday. :o)

I miss Logan. And not just his physical presence in my days as a friend to explore the world of scents with, but his storytelling, his sense of humour, his every-second-week posts in the blog. I considered ending Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures when he died. How could it possibly go on without him? And then I hoped he’d find some way to send his stories from wherever it is he’s gone. But, so far, no word from beyond. Now that he’s left behind that old wreck of a body, he’s probably too busy doing this…

or this…

or maybe this…

This morning I took a tour through the early days of our blog and reread some of my favourite Logan moments. And then I thought of a way to include him in the blog and keep his spirit alive. On the first Fur-iday of each month (Fur-st Fur-iday?), I will dig back into the archives for Logan’s wisdom and humour, combine it with some previously-unpublished photos, and add in a little of my own commentary.

Welcome to the first First Fur-iday!

Me in November of 2011

On the 11th of November of 2011 (11-11-11), it all began with…

Hi, My Name is Logan. I’m probably not your typical blogger; although, admittedly, I haven’t read a lot of blogs. I’m a 7-year-old Border Collie/Lab cross. Yes…a dog.

Logan, November 11, 2011

The dog blog was born! We were just setting out on a big adventure, a 5-month RV tour in the United States, and Logan thought it would be a fun way to chronicle the journey and share our stories with friends and family. Just as T and Nollind had no idea that our original trip would turn into another four winters of travelling, Logan and I didn’t know the blog would become a weekly event over the next seven years (and counting).

Arriving at our first mini destination in Coldstream, BC.

In that very first Logan post, we got a taste of a subject that would come up again and again in our adventures, his travel anxiety. Me, I never understood it. A dog bed in the truck doesn’t feel a lot different than a dog bed in the house other than the gentle motion and noise that lulls me to sleep. But Logan didn’t see it that way …

The stops are filled with new sights, sounds and, most importantly and best of all…smells! It’s an absolute scent-fest every time we stop in a new place. Travelling between stops is a lot less appealing, or let’s make that more terrifying — hurtling down the highway at great speed with others doing the same thing in the other direction. Does no one else see the danger we’re in? Have they not read the newspapers or watched the nightly news? My people sit blissfully naive in front, seemingly enjoying the ride, regularly trying to reassure me of the safety and okay-ness of it all. But I’m not falling for it. I’m a Border Collie and we’re known for our intelligence. Some might say we’re obsessive…I prefer to think of it as focused.

Logan, November 11, 2011

Our first RV park dog run.

It would also be the beginning of Logan’s experimentation with various kinds of recreational herbs and medications…

The morning we left Canada, they slipped something into my food. It made me feel a bit sleepy, but I fought it and remained ever awake and vigilant all the way to Spokane. Somebody has to watch the road and remind them of the dangers.

Logan, November 2011

For all his wonderful qualities, and there were many, Logan was a terrible travelling companion, for humans and dogs alike. If he hadn’t been so easy and happy once we arrived somewhere (see earlier comments about sights and sounds) I’m sure T and Nollind would have left him in the care of someone at home and we probably wouldn’t have stayed away as long without him.

Our five trips south wouldn’t have been the same without Logie.

Luckily for me, Logan was a trooper, T and Nollind were patient, and we were able to tell many stories in the pages of Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures over the next seven years.

Check back on the first Fur-iday of January for more from the Logan archives!

If You’re Reading This…

If anyone could blog from beyond the grave it would be my pal, Logan. I found this letter tucked in amongst his favourite toys…

Dear Friends & Family,

If you’re reading this then I guess I’ve moved on, to wherever it is we go when our time on this earth is complete. Maybe we come back, maybe we don’t. If I do come back, I think I’ll aim for a body with a longer lifespan, like a tortoise—nah, too slow—or maybe a parrot—but then some cat might get me. Perhaps best to stick with dog or cat or horse, some creature I’m familiar with, or hey, how about human?

10-Logan-ifyour-run
Definitely not a tortoise.

But enough musing about what the big, unknown future might hold for the soul of an old dog. That’s me, an old dog. I know I’ve been saying it for a couple of years, but now I really feel it, in my bones and to my core.  As you’ll know if you’ve been reading the blog of our adventures, I’m a fighter, a fighter with a tendency to rise from the mats on the count of nine. I’d like to say I’ve got one more in me, that I can bounce back from whatever it is I’ve felt creeping up on me this past couple of weeks, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. The medications don’t help like they used to, the trips to the vet for the Legend injection aren’t giving me their promised bounce, and the distance between the house and the barn just keeps growing.

10-Logan-ifyour-bounce
Who’d have thought I’d ever run out of bounce?

My hope is that they’ll let me go, not drag things out until I’ve become a burden, allowing the me they’ve known all these years to be replaced by someone they don’t recognize … or enjoy. It can happen. I saw it happen with Chelsey as she got older and crankier and so difficult for all of us to live with. To remember Chelsey with a smile on your face you have to go back a ways, to when she wasn’t old and sick. I want to go knowing I made them smile that very day. It’s the least I can do for all they’ve given me: a good home, enough freedom to keep an independent spirit happy, jobs to occupy my Border Collie half, a diet to appease a fussy eater, adventures galore, the best of care in my old age, and love, of course, plenty of that.

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Horse dog from the day I arrived.

To Chico … I admit I wasn’t sure about you at first, hackles up and peeing on a wall in my house, but you grew on me in the years that followed. I’m glad they found you and happy to have shared our many great adventures. Look after them all for me, the humans, the horses, the barn cats, and keep telling your stories on Fur-idays.

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Is he staying? (January 2011)

To Nollind … I know I was your first love when it comes to dogs, but I’m pretty sure I’m not your last (I’ve seen you hoist Chico up onto your lap when he’s cold). I’m glad I got to be the one to turn you into a dog guy, to convince you that dogs do belong on the furniture, show you that dog poop is not toxic (despite how it smells), and teach you there’s nothing quite like the love of a dog.

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A boy and his dog.

To Teresa … For finding me all those years ago in the Bargain Finder (and wasn’t I a bargain?), for taking me into your home and your heart, for catering to my whimsical appetite and need for freedom, and for all those hours and dollars you spent searching for the solutions to my physical challenges in my later years … thank you. I’m sorry for the decision you had to make for me at the end of my life but know that you were right, it was time to say goodbye. I told you you’d know.

10-Logan-IfYou-accupuncture
Even acupuncture couldn’t keep me from getting old.

To my snowbirding pack … I’m sorry I was such a rotten travelling companion. Thank you for always taking me along anyway. Despite my near deafness, I heard the recent chatter about staying home for the winter to look after me. So, what are you waiting for? Start packing! I’ll be right there with you for every stop along the road.

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Lunch and walk break early on in our first journey south.

And to all of you who have been following our adventures these past seven years, thank you for reading, for commenting, for caring, and for noticing when a Fur-iday goes by that you don’t hear from us. This is Logan signing off, unless of course there’s a way to communicate from the other side of what they call the “Rainbow Bridge”. In that case, I’ll be in touch.10-Logan-ifyour-logan