I’m going to tell you the story about how I went from having no interest or desire for a pet dog to letting one sleep in bed with me while I’m pushed to the very edge with no covers to speak of. How I used to tease the kids saying we would get a dog as soon as they found one that didn’t poop to saving portions of steak and roast chicken for the crazy mutt that lives in my house. Our hiking dog Luna has been with us for about a year and a half now, and it’s hard to imagine our house without her.
How We Rescued Our Hiking Dog, Luna
Let me say it again, I DID NOT want a dog. But these kids of mine sure did. So they pestered me incessantly about it. And I held strong because there are a million reasons why a dog is not a good idea for us. First one being that we travel A LOT, and dogs are not always allowed in many of the National Parks and wilderness areas we tend to visit. A dog would cramp our travel style, for sure. And when we are not traveling, Dave’s at the office and I work long shifts at the hospital as a nurse. And the kids are busy with school, sports and everything else. We just clearly don’t have time for a dog. And our little house is full to the brim with these four rambunctious kids of mine. Our yard is small and we have no fence. We definitely don’t have room for a dog. So I stayed the course and kept saying no to even the idea of a dog.
But my kids are stubborn and so very persistent. And they weren’t giving up. And then my resolve started to unravel just a little bit when the kids got their dog-loving grandma to tell me very earnestly how important she felt taking care of a pet dog was to children during a visit to her house in New Mexico. And I actually agreed with her logic, even if I didn’t want to admit it to myself. And then, later on in our road trip, when camping in Carlsbad, we met a very cute and well behaved pet dog of another camper. And seeing how well behaved that beautiful dog was made me think it was possible we could get a dog at some point. But certainly not any time soon. But you see, my mind was open just the teensiest bit to the idea. And these kids of mine, they know me REALLY well, and they began their attack.
So we are driving along the road in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico and they are saying things like, “What if there was a dog here for us to buy?” And I tell them under no circumstances would we be buying a dog on our road trip. And then they upped the ante, “What if there was a free dog here, could we get it then?” And to this I said that I knew there was no dog around here, cause remember, WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!. And they kept badgering me and then I said the thing which would change everything- If there is a FREE puppy here, on the outskirts of Roswell, New Mexico, that needs to be rescued, I would agree to it because I would consider that fate and I would know that God wanted us to have that very puppy. Now at this point the kids are cheering and I am smirking because I know there is no free puppy needing a home here, right?
But don’t underestimate these clever kids of mine. Later that day, when we the rest of us were busy visiting Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, touring the Visitors Center and hiking the beautiful area, Naomi was secretly being busy herself searching the internet for a free puppy needing a home in Roswell, New Mexico. And wouldn’t you know it, she found it on Craig’s List. There was a puppy that had been born on a ranch that were being kept outside in a crate and she desperately needed a home. And what does Naomi do? She calls that number and sets up an appointment for us to go get that puppy that I had apparently already agreed to. So she proudly walks up to me with the address of our new puppy and tells me we can pick her up in the morning. And I’m thinking, Lord have mercy, what have I done?
But I kept my word and just set my mind to the fact that I would get this dog for the kids. And I would put up with her for their sake. So we headed out to a ranch the next morning where we were handed our 8 week old Border Collie/Catahoula Mix puppy, sight unseen. And we take her in our car and I am just in shock that this has happened because I forgot to mention, I haven’t even discussed this with Dave who is back at home in Cincinnati! And the little puppy was trembling and scared and absolutely COVERED in ticks. And she promptly throws up all over the car. So Sophie drives while I clean the puppy up and remove the dozens of ticks attached all over her, including in her ears and between her toes. And that night when we stop at our hotel, I have to bath her three times in order to get her fully clean. But she is sweet and so adorable, and I’m starting to feel like I kind of like her.
Luna, Our Hiking Dog
And in the last year and a half? I have fallen IN LOVE with this crazy puppy, who the kids named Luna. Don’t get me wrong. She can be a pain in the butt, like that time she DESTROYED my down feather bed while I was at work and I came home to a bedroom covered in feathers. And she has eaten plenty of shoes when the kids leave them lying around. But at the same time, she is such a good girl and truly the perfect dog for us. She is an awesome running partner and helps me feel safer on secluded trail runs. And this dog can hike for miles and never runs out of energy and in the last year has been camping and backpacking with us in several places including Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota and both Porcupine State Park and the Manistee River Trail in Michigan. Luna is an awesome hiking dog and even carries her own Dog Backpack! And day to day, she is just so much fun and brings even more happy energy to my already loud and crazy household. And she is spoiled rotten. And I am so thankful I was tricked into getting her. So that’s the story of how we got our hiking dog, Luna, the very best souvenir we will ever get. And as for Dave? How did he react to her? Well that’s another story for another time.
So if you find yourself caving in and deciding to get a hiking dog too, I think…I know you will be so grateful you did. I’m certain there is a Luna the hiking dog out there for you too.
If you think that adopting a pet is right for you, you can find local dogs (and other pets too!) that need homes through Adopt a Pet and Petfinder who help facilitate adoptions from numerous rescue organizations across the country.