Rv’s son, Steve, came over in the morning to help us pack up the horses so Richard wouldn’t have to lift anything heavy. His back had stopped hurting at Dave’s house, but sadly, it started hurting again when we were packing up the first morning. Lon came over as well to see us off.
During our last minute conversation before we left that morning, we happened to mention that we really want a dog. We have been holding off for several years because we did not feel comfortable with the complications of leaving home with a dog to go on a trip like this, nor did we want to find someone to watch it for a year. It has been hard enough being away from my cat for a year and finding someone to watch him. (I’ll take this opportunity to insert a little thank you to AnneMarie for her continued willingness to take good care of our baby that we dearly miss!) But after nearly a year on the ‘trail’, we are quite comfortable with our current lifestyle and would be more than willing to spice it up a little with a dog if the opportunity arises. We aren’t seeking out a dog, but we happened to mention to them that we kinda hoped that maybe at some point on this ride a dog would adopt us.
At the mention of that, their eyes all lit up! They got a little excited when they shared the story of the dog that was in their yard. She had shown up there about three months ago and promptly had a litter of puppies. They adopted all the puppies out, then had continued to feed the dog just to be nice. She was a sweet dog, but RV was unable to take care of her and give her attention, so they had been trying to find her a home with no luck. They said we were more than welcome to put a leash on her and take her with us. We declined. As I said, we were not seeking a dog actively unless the dog sought us out. Besides, we hadn’t even payed any attention to her to know if we even liked her. We said our final goodbyes and rode out the driveway.
The dog followed.
I’m not even kidding. She had no reason to take to us. We didn’t even pet her more than a pat on the head when she first sniffed us.
Mine and Richard’s heart skipped a beat. We said ‘this is not possible.’ Ignore her and she will go home.
3 miles went by and she was still following us like she belonged to us. I don’t mean following from a distance and running all over the place. I mean right there next to us. Close enough to get stepped on by the horses. She stayed off the road when cars came by, was polite to cats, friendly with other dogs, always stayed within 200 feet of us at all times, wasn’t a barker, was friendly with other people we met along the day, and would run around and play with squirrels and such but come right back.
We finally gave in and got off to pet the dog and get a feel for her personality. She was the sweetest, most adorable, intelligent, and submissive thing you could ask for. Beautiful too. She appears to be half husky and half greyhound, built nicely, and in great weight and health.
OK. Do not get attached. She’s probably going to run away. She is after all a stray.
We arrived at our destination for that evening which was an enclosed stone shelter building with two fireplaces and a picnic table built in the early 1900’s on a lakeside. The dog was still with us. Steve showed up again to help us unpack and was tickled pink that she had followed us all day!
A funny side note- about a quarter mile before the building, we heard a small commotion and Richard looked back to see Fiddle’s pack hanging upside down from her belly! Somehow we just had our first pack wreck! After hearing a small “help” from Richard, I hurried over to help. Fiddle stood there completely unfazed and has obviously seen her share of upside down packs! What a good mule! Thankfully, Nina and Jason, the caretakers of this campground, were right behind us and just took the packs over to the building so we didn’t have to repack her.
Once settled in the building, we decided, “Why not, we’ll see if this dog really is THE ONE.” It was a perfect place to get to know her. Cement floors in case she wasn’t potty trained, nothing to chew on but our own stuff, and just us and her. We laid out a horse blanket to teach her where to sleep, but she preferred our inflated camp pads! She very willingly and quickly learned not to step on them and that the blanket was her bed. We were amazed how quickly she learned and wanted to listen to us. We got through the whole night with her sleeping exclusively on the blanket, only going to the bathroom outside, and not bothering any of our stuff. We were quickly realizing what a smart, sweet, gentle, and special dog she was. We were determined not to name her for a while. Would she follow us tomorrow too? And what about when she gets tired? Will she still want to stay with us bad enough? We’ll see.