I went on a backpacking trip this summer with my dog, Bailey.
This is the goofy boy. I’ve taken him on many hikes through our local woods but this was our first multi-day outing. I covered 36 miles. He covered about triple that, dashing up the trail, returning to see if I was still on the way, and venturing off trail to smell interesting things. I kept him on leash for the first….50 yards. After that, I let him loose, and he did his job. He returned whenever hikers were approaching. He sat by my side while they passed. I’ve hiked the AT almost twice. He is a much better blaze finder than I.
He has been my companion, and he has been my friend through many of the most difficult times of my life. He sat next to me whimpering when I learned my son had died.
He doesn’t know why he gets to sleep in my office now or why he’s getting so many treats, but he sure likes them. I’ve lost many people in my life. This hurts at least as much.
When he was a puppy, we would take him for walks along the beach. He would whine and curl up in a ball until we carried him. As he grew, Lori was worried he might be aggressive with the cats. We foster terrified cats, and Bailey is our liaison. He lies down and lets them hiss and spit and eventually curl up next to him.
He loves playing ball. I’ve never found the end to his willingness to chase and retrieve a tennis ball. He loves tearing apart the cardboard center of the paper towel roll. He loves standing over the cats while they eat breakfast and cleaning their bowls when they’re done. He loves dashing into the woods, following his nose, rushing from one interesting smell to the next. He loves swimming…in anything.
I learned this week that Bailey has lymphoma. We have maybe weeks. He doesn’t know. He’s just digging the extra treats. I love my dog.
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