Zen On Dirt

A Week with a Hound Dog

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I was pretty bummed to have to go back to the Front Range for dog sitting after only a week back in the Scamp (after three weeks of house living in Boulder). I grumbled a good bit about it and actually had a piss-poor attitude about it for a while. Given that the week in Salida hadn’t exactly put me in a great mental space didn’t really help my mood.

My parents knew that they were going to travel for another week and had booked an intensive week of dog-training for Sparkles with a local trainer. And I think that, on some level, no one actually expected Huck to still be alive.

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He’s a 14+ year old hound, and when I arrived for the three weeks of dog sitting earlier in the month, he was recovering from a second inner ear infection that left him stumbling around like a drunken sailor with a crooked head and minimal bowel and bladder control. He’d recovered from a similar ear infection a year ago, but at his age…I figured my job was to keep him as comfortable as possible.

But lo and behold, over the three weeks that we were there, he continued to improve. He made motions at wanting to chase deer, still lunged at any cyclist, and would try to do downward dogs with his rickety old joints whenever the leashes came out for walks.

Huckleberry Hound Dog. Back from staring death in the face once again.

But that did leave my parents in a bit of a pickle, in that they needed someone to take care of him while they were traveling.

I guess I should consider myself lucky that I have the flexibility to help. And I do. I was just grumpy at the idea of having to leave the Scamp in Salida and go back to house living after such a short time of being “back home” in the Scamp.

But you want to know something? Hanging out with Huck for a week was actually exactly what I needed in my life. We took him up to Winter Park to avoid the heat and proceeded to enjoy mountain living to the fullest.

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A week of chill where we could go through some of the spare bikes/bike parts that we had up there. I changed out two old t-shirts for new ones. Swapped my light down jacket for my synthetic one. It was like I got a whole new wardrobe!

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A week of enjoying small walks down to the creek so that Huck could drink from flowing water, one of his favorite things in the world.

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Huck much appreciated being let out every few hours, so we didn’t really even think about trying to do anything ‘epic’. Instead, we played around on the backyard trails, keeping rides under two hours and runs at 45 minutes.

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We did a short-ish hike around Berthoud Pass, skirting the large amounts of snow still clinging to the high cirques.

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There was no agenda. No real goals. Just wandering. I thought a lot about backcountry skiing.

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And a little bit of running downhill back to the car to escape the impending storm.

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At the time I didn’t realize how badly I needed a week of chill. I didn’t realize it a week later, and I didn’t realize it a week after that either.

But sitting here, catching up on this blog, two+ weeks tardy, back to being motivated for movement in the mountains (and trying real hard not to be stupid about it), waking up not exhausted, and feeling the stoke of adventure again, I realize how badly I needed to back off from “making the most of summer” for a little bit.

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Pulled pork sandwich from Lewis’ Sweet Shop in Empire for the Ol’ Hound Dog. 

When we gave Huck back to my parent after their trip, he was fatter, more agile, and far more willing to walk on hardwood floors that he was before they left.

With hindsight, I wish I could have been a bit more appreciative of the week of rest that Huck forced. But if we always had hindsight for present situations, then we’d never have those life learning experiences, now would we?

So here’s to continuing to finding the silver lining in any situation, and trying to find it sooner than two weeks after it.

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2 thoughts on “A Week with a Hound Dog

  1. I lived in Grand Lake for a few years… damn… I really miss that area some days. Beautiful photos…

  2. An older dog can teach us so much about enjoying each moment, on slower terms than you and I usually live our lives. Some of my happiest memories are from days spent with my dogs after they became grey muzzled and creaky, knowing that there weren’t lots of days left for them but following their leads about how to live. I’m so glad that you spent that time with Huck, on his terms!

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