BLUE, The Master Hiker

BLUE, The Master Hiker

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


 Illumination: intellectual or spiritual enlightenment.
I came upon this word in a book the other day.
It stuck in my mind, and when I sat to write this evening, well,
the word resurfaced--
I believe it is what I have encountered
with a group on a very special hike.
When this hiking program began
 in late August of this year,
I had no idea what impact it would make on others, let alone myself.
I had simply wanted to be part of Stray Rescue in an outdoor setting
where I could hike with the dogs and give them some exposure
 through this blog.
On a cool, sunny late November day, I was enlightened by
 an adventure-seeking group of dog lovers.
Not sure I can really describe how this day changed us.
There was something magical going on
during that encounter--for the humans and the dogs
--but you will benefit from some introductory pictures first.
 ^This is Danny-who KNOWS a journey in the truck
means trekking time.
^Gentle Carlos, who has a very sad story (which I will post soon),
 carefully surveyed the group in the parking lot.
Seven humans and six other dogs--plus cyclists, cars, children running.
 Just getting him to participate was the big question.
His close friend, Ben, was there by his side--at all times. :o)

^Though he spends endless days climbing through buildings
and escaping from brick-throwing inner city ruffians,
 Randy Grim (with Koala) was hesitant to try this hiking stuff,
 concerned he might not be cut out for trail trekking! (He was a PRO!)
^One of the cutest things I have seen in a while!
This is Alleluia with his buddy Barbi!
He was our young squirt on the team!
^When it comes to making friends with my son Pete, Red Rover
 was a natural! RR is a big ol' male shepard-lab mix
 made from butterscotch pudding.
^This fine guy is Scout having great time outside with
 his new friend Kerri. She had no trouble handling this
 muscular, yet compact trail dog. He was so easy to work with!
 He has been out hiking before (check out his featured day)
Allyson was thrilled to have a hiking companion that was all about
getting along and cooperating. Aussie was--well--AWESOME!
A future posting will focus on this big dude.
I have hiked with Danny a few times in the past
simply because he is a great responder
--he is so intelligent! (Kinda handsome too!)
This fuzzy stuffed animal is Koala--she was so laid back and chilled

that Randy, her partner, dealt with absolutely NO pulling nor any behavior issues. She was also our only female pup.
So you probably know the routine by now--
dogs and hikers do the trail and have fun and go home and
I tell you about a few magnificent four-legged adoptables.
More to it.
This day was an event for a group of people
 with one common goal:
Giving some shelter dogs a chance to BE DOGS!
To run in leaves, sniff holes, bark at birds, chase a scent,
 "mark" fresh trees--HECK--
EVEN take a dump in the woods!
(Somehow I think dogs get a special thrill from that)
(so do some humans for that matter)
And amazingly, despite any "issues" they have or crappy memories
 they carry, any stress or uncertainty they may feel ....
All of them, Alleluia, Aussie, Carlos, Danny, Koala, Red Rover, and Scout
They were no less of a dog because they came from the streets,
 or a violent past or lacking an owner/companion of their own.
They were real top-notch canines
--bonafide adventurers,
courageous and bold.
They were approachable and cordial.
They showed very few signs
of past damage.
And they were free to be....
just DOGS!

And the best part of this entire day
 [besides Carlos shedding some layers of pain and anxiety]
[oh-and Randy discovering a new pastime :0) ]
was what the SEVEN PERSONS who accompanied
 these canines gained from it all.
They learned something about themselves as well as from the dogs.
Sure, they had fun and felt like it was worthwhile.

Well.... they became more WHOLE. 
It was as if a new appendage was created within their hearts.
Perhaps similar to a field where one day there are only
 a few flowers in bloom  
and then the next day--it warms up--and something happens.....

And when all was said and done,
every dog was dreaming of tall fragrant trees,
 massive mountains and wild rivers,
open vistas and happy endings.
--Donna McCall
From behind a wooden crate we saw a long black-muzzled nose poking round at us. We took him out — soft, wobbly, tearful; set him down on his four, as yet not quite simultaneous legs, and regarded him. He wandered a little round our legs, neither wagging his tail nor licking at our hands; then he looked up, and my companion said: "He's an angel!"
--John Galsworthy
Aussie in the truck asking me to let him sleep in my lap
before we return to the SR shelter....
One minute later.
(PS I want to thank everyone for this day. Randy, I cannot explain
 how wondeful you are.)



  1. And, once again, I am going to thank you for all you have done for the dogs. Truly an amazing woman. I want to hike with you!

  2. Mary, send me a message via FB or e-mail