Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

My Dog-Boy

In a nod to National Dog Day, I thought I would do a short write-up about the boy who won my heart over seven years ago and still holds major control over it today. It all started with a trip to the Humane Society in Milwaukee, WI…

This somewhat silly looking, floppy-eared four month old mutt bounded towards me with excitement in his eyes; of course I soon found out that he (then named Fuzby) was more interested in tearing up the paper I was holding than playing with me…until I moved the paper away and those big brown eyes focused on me. I quickly decided to adopt him and save him from his silly name, so I renamed him Sydney and took him home.

Sydney with his pack

Sydney with his pack

Those first few years were a bit tumultuous for us as Sydney learned that eating windowsills was not a good thing and taking a quick solo janut to the nearby Culvers might land him in trouble. It was also an amazing time as we bonded, and I learned how to read his cues when he thought I was in trouble or didn’t like someone. I used to have a car magnet that said “Who rescued who?” and that couldn’t be truer of our relationship. I may have taken him home from the shelter, but during those first few years, he saved me in many ways.

As we transitioned from life in the Coast Guard and semi-regular visits to “the farm” to see Momma Sheri and Poppa Bruce, Sydney and I set out on our own adventure. Over the past 4 years, Syd has been my confidant, my adventure partner, and my best bud. He has helped me through heartbreak, loneliness, fear, and sadness. All it takes is a wag from his curled up tail and a look of playfulness in his eyes to make me forget my woes.

Syd & I at the summit of Harney Peak, 2012

Syd & I at the summit of Harney Peak, 2012

Last week, while Brian and I were away on vacation, Sydney (& Brian’s dog Pup) were left with a friend. Apparently Sydney, my little wandering adventurer, decided to escape the fenced in yard and go for a jog. Sadly, his jog took him into danger. I received a phone message saying that Sydney had been hit by a car with no further information. I immediately burst into tears thinking the worst and started hyperventilating at the thought of my boy hurt or worse; I was a major mess and wouldn’t have been able to do anything if it weren’t for Brian. He quickly had us listen to the second message which told us Sydney had been taken to his vet’s office. Brian took it from there and the next thing I know, Syd was going to be ok and would be having surgery the next day for a spiral fracture in the tibia of his hind left leg.

scary spiral fracture

scary spiral fracture

Dr. Moore and his staff at Cody Veterinary Hospital were amazing! They sent me pictures of Sydney’s broken leg pre and post-surgery and kept me updated on his progress.

Sydney a bit doped up post-surgery

Sydney a bit doped up post-surgery

When we returned from vacation this weekend, Dr. Moore made special arrangements by coming in on a Sunday just so I could take Sydney home.

He is resting and healing these days

He is resting and healing these days

My boy has a few months of recovery ahead of him, to include a second surgery to remove a rod in his leg, but before the end of the year, I will have my adventure buddy of seven years back out with me on the trails!

Looking forward to many more hikes!

Looking forward to many more hikes!

This past week has been a great reminder to me of just how important a role Sydney has played in my life since that early-July day in 2007 (& that I am lucky to be marrying the man I am!). I know my life wouldn’t be as full of love and happiness if I had not taken him home that day 🙂

It was a hiking, buskwhacking, creek crossing kind of weekend

If you don’t enjoy a good tale of a weekend of outdoor adventure to include bushwhacking, creek crossings, and countless miles of uphill hiking with two adorable dogs and a stupendous partner, then stop reading right now.  If you are still reading, you are pretty rad 😉

This past weekend my handsome and equally adventurous boyfriend and I decided to head for the hills.  We needed a break from our cell phones and technology in general, so we decided to head into the Shoshone National Forest and specifically into the Washakie Wilderness.

After a Friday evening of walleye fishing (by him; I get my resident license next week!!!), Deer Creek Trail was our destination Saturday morning.  After a leisurely morning of prepping and packing, we hit the trail with two rambunctious doggies and a yearning to simply be with nature.

Getting ready to start the trip

Getting ready to start the trip

We trekked uphill for about 4-5 miles the first day before deciding we didn’t have the energy to make the first big creek crossing that same day.  This was going to be my first time sleeping outside of a tent, so I was anxious and excited as we started creating out lean-to shelter out of the two tarps and cord we packed in.  Oh, and did I mention we had already seen a crap load of bear sign (tracks and scat) throughout the day?

Sydney examining a waterfall we would cross over

Sydney examining a waterfall we would cross over

After a simple meal of soup, crackers, and trail mix over a perfect fire, all four of us hit the hay.  Well, to be fair, I am pretty sure both dogs were up most of the night patrolling the perimeter of the camp 🙂

The next day brought my biggest creek crossing to date.  Ok, let’s get real here, this dang thing was not your average creek; it was a snowpack melt fueled raging river! There was absolutely no way any of us but Brian was going to make it through the crossing where the trail normally goes, so we had to bushwhack through downed trees, raspberry bushes, and crazy poking shrubbery to get to a better spot to attempt our first of four crossings for the day (2 up the valley & the same 2 to get back to our campsite).

We got down to the water’s edge and it become very apparent that the water would easily come up to mid-thigh for me.  Having packed light with only one pair of pants each, we both decided to shed our pants.  Yep, you read that right; I crossed streams and then hiked several miles in my underwear (nope, no pictures)!  Now, mind you we saw zero other people this weekend and there’s really only one way in or out of the area right now due to snow (as we would discover later in the day).

I was beyond nervous as we began the crossing because my beloved Sydney has NEVER done such a thing.  In my mind, I kept seeing him pulled downstream away from me, but as he got deeper and deeper into the rushing waters, instinct took over.  He took every crossing like a natural; it was as if my little boy was made to be a mountain running, creek crossing, hiking dog 🙂

I survived our first "creek" crossing

I survived our first “creek” crossing

As we traversed mountain sides, we saw obvious signs of past avalanches to include a large snowpack with tons of debris.  After our second creek crossing, which was much easier and mellower than the first, we finally got a view of our destination, Deer Creek Pass.  At this point, it became very clear that our attempt to cross the pass and peak into the infamous Thorofare would be thwarted by massive amounts of snow.

We decided that since there would be no summit and we would have to hike back the 6+ miles we had just hiked with only slightly lightened packs, there would be no going further.  As we headed back for our campsite, we took our time to completely take in our surroundings while enjoying the peace and quiet of the outdoors.

Amazing views were everywhere we turned

Amazing views were everywhere we turned

Our final creek crossing of the day had me feeling comfortable enough to stand in the water long enough to ensure both dogs got to the other side (Pup started to float down river a bit before I grabbed her collar).

Both Sydney and Pup were so tired that they didn’t want to move while we were building our fire and cooking supper.  Poor Syd was so exhausted he was shaking and limping on one of his paws.

Who says dogs can't wear raincoats?

Who says dogs can’t wear raincoats?

While I was starting to freak out aand figure out how we would pack him out the next day, Brian remained calm and reassured me that Syd is a strong dog and would be ok.  However, he did say that if Sydney wasn’t better in the morning, he would simply carrying Sydney out on his back.  How can you not love a man who would do that for the dog that has been your life for years?!

Our campsite for the weekend

Our campsite for the weekend

During out hike out, which was thankfully almost all downhill, I reflected on the great days we had spent in this gorgeous place that we call home.  Trips like this one help bring about a sense of calm within me while reassuring me that this is truly where I belong!

The Shoshone National Forest is where I belong!!

The Shoshone National Forest is where I belong!!

Sunday Gulch hike…on a Sunday of course

Ok, so the first day of our South Dakota trip was pure awesomesauce (https://anappetiteforadventure.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/2-dogs-2-people-fun-in-sd/) but the second day was just as great!  After a super…umm healthy (not!) breakfast of pancakes at IHOP 😉 my mom and I gathered the pups into the car for another day of adventure.  We headed back to the Sylvan Lake area in Custer State Park to hike the Sunday Gulch trail.

Sylvan Lake is stunning

We made sure to carry a bit more water for the pups because we were out of all water when we got back to the car the day before.

One Teton Sport hydration pack and two dog bottles…I am a water mule!

We first had to go around the lake, which had a good amount of foot traffic, and through a cool rock opening to find out trailhead.

Mom and Fia in the rock crack leading to the trailhead

This hike was a loop just shy of 3 miles, but it was definitely an interesting start as we scrambled down huge boulders to get to the bottom of the gulch before winding along the floor and then ascending the gulch sides back to Sylvan Lake.

Part of the scramble we came down

Mom pointing out one of the “interesting sights” the Sunday Gulch hike boasts…

After making it back to the car with two once again tired pups, we decide to drive towards Hill City and hit up a few wineries before heading back to the hotel.  We stopped at two, Stone Faces Winery and Prairie Berry Winery.  They both had some tasty wines including their individual takes on rhubarb wines, but the lines were so long we opted to try and not buy.

After some shopping (we only have WalMart in Cody), we headed back to Firehouse Brewing for another feast of good food and brews.

Sylvan Lake is too pretty not to include another shot of it

The next morning we went our separate ways with my Mom and Fia heading back to Wisconsin while Sydney and I started our drive to Colorado and entirely new adventure!