Sunday, August 28, 2011

Leo Bags Peaks Pierce and Eisenhower

Leo at the summit of Mount Eisenhower
Foster dog Leo had a tall order for the day in attempting to reach the summits of Mt. Pierce and Mt. Eisenhower in advance of the approaching Hurricane Irene.  Leo is an approximately one year old, mostly Labrador retriever mix, who is currently being fostered in New Hampshire where his temporary family reports that he is a wonderful dog who is always in search of the next adventure.  With that much energy and sense of adventure, I decided that Leo would be up for the challenge of hiking the Crawford Path Trail to the top of Mt. Pierce (4,310 ft.) and then continuing on the summit of Mt. Eisenhower (4,760 ft.) - a round trip hike of 9.6 miles.  This hike and several others suitable for canine companions are featured in the book Best Hikes with Dogs - New Hampshire & Vermont written by Lisa Densmore.

Buckled up for safety en route to the trail
On Friday afternoon, we learned that the White Mountain National Forest would be closing effective as of 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 27, 2011 in preparation for the storm.  So, in order to make certain that we got an early start, Leo and I traveled north on Friday and spent the night at the pet friendly Johnson's Motel and Cottages in Twin Mountain, New Hampshire.  Hosts Paul and Colleen Sampson are very welcoming of pets, and they even provide complimentary bandanas to their canine guests.  Leo was the perfect guest remaining quiet and well behaved before settling in to go to sleep on the floor promptly at 11:00 p.m.

The view from Crawford Path en route to Mt. Pierce
By 7:45 a.m. the next morning, Leo and I were on our way to the Crawford Path trail via the Crawford connector from the parking lot located on Mount Clinton Road.  Leo proved to be an excellent hiking companion, and he was both curious and determined during the entire ascent.  Along the way, we met with a number of hikers who remarked that they could not believe such a friendly dog as Leo was without a permanent home to call his own.

Leo and I at the summit of Mt. Eisenhower
Sadly, Leo's situation is not uncommon in most states in this country and throughout the world.  New Hampshire has been very successful in its approach to dog overpopulation through comprehensive programs in education, legislation and sterilization.  Most other states, however, are still struggling to duplicate these successes in controlling the homeless pet problem, and millions of dogs like Leo are still being euthanized as a result.  Thankfully, through the efforts of rescue groups like Canine Guardians for Life, Inc., dogs residing in overcrowded animal shelters are being given a second chance using a dedicated foster home network of volunteers.

Leo resides in a foster home with both dogs and cats, so I did not have any reservations about allowing him to interact with other pets on our hike.  He respectfully greeted a handsome Corgi and a Rottweiler mix on our journey up the trail.  He also kindly interacted with people of all ages including a large group of children who were hiking down the ridge trail towards us on our way to the summit of Mt. Eisenhower.

Strapping on the feed bag on the summit of Mt. Eisenhower
Leo acted like a dog who regularly hikes in the White Mountains, and it was difficult to convince people we met along the trail that he was a recent arrival from Alabama.  We took several water breaks and stopped for lunch after we reached the summit of Mt. Eisenhower.  Fellow hikers on the summit of Mt. Eisenhower were inquiring about Leo and kindly accepted our request to take a photo of the accomplishment.

Wading in the water at Gibbs Falls
Leo hiked just in front or alongside of me on the way up the mountain, and this allowed for several photo opportunities.  On the way down, however, with several areas of slippery rocks it was much safer to have Leo walking behind me, so that he did not accidentally pull me and cause a fall.  He was very obedient in following my commands to remain behind on the leash while I descended at a slower pace than his sturdier four paws may have preferred.  Leo's obedient efforts were rewarded with a refreshing break near the end of our journey where he was allowed to wade in the waters of Gibbs Falls.

As we concluded our hike, Leo and I had the opportunity to meet fellow rescue dog Gretel and her owner Dana who had also just completed a long hike along the Crawford Path trail.  Leo interacted very well with Gretel, and neither dog's level of playfulness seemed to indicate how tired they must have been from such a long journey.  To view pictures of Leo's entire hike, including his meet and greet with Gretel, please visit his photo album online.

UPDATE - Leo now has his own profile on  Please visit his profile if you are interested in learning more about him or would like to complete an application to adopt him  We would be very grateful if you could also share our blog with your family and friends and be sure to like us on Facebook

See you on the trails!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Davey Tackles Catamount Hill

Davey hiking on the Catamount Trail
Foster dog Davey had a wonderful hike along the trails of Bear Brook State Park on Saturday, August 13, 2011.  With nearly 10,000 acres and over 40 miles of multi-use trails that are suitable for hiking, biking and horseback riding, Davey and I had several routes from which to choose.  In keeping with our foster dog summit theme, we opted to hike to the top of Catamount Hill - one of three peaks located within the park.

On his way to the top
Two-year old Davey weighs a mere twenty four pounds, but this terrier mix proved he can tackle the trails like a dog twice his size.  We met fellow hikers and briefly interacted with some dogs on our journey to the peak of Catamount Hill.  Everyone was impressed with how quickly and enthusiastically Davey tackled one of the most difficult trails in the park.  He was equally well mannered with people and their pets.

Posing at the scenic lookout
During the climb, Davey was more interested in walking and exploring the sights, sounds and scents of the trail than he was in taking photographs.  However, by the time we reached the scenic lookout located just before the hill's peak, Davey was at his photogenic finest and posed for several pictures.

As we finished our journey and returned to the parking lot, we met up with Derby - a fellow terrier mix who was also recently adopted into his family.  Davey and Derby played extremely well together and acted more like old friends than new acquaintances.  Additional photos from Davey's adventure can be found in his Foster Dog Summit album available here.

Davey meets Derby
Davey is currently in a foster home where he has the opportunity to interact with a variety of different dogs, and he is doing very well with his crate training routine.  He is extremely friendly, curious and eager to please.  Davey will be a wonderful companion to the lucky family who opens their heart and home to his warm eyes and bright smile. 

To learn more about this wonderful terrier or to share him with someone you know would be the perfect adopter, visit Davey's page on Petfinder.  If you are interested in learning how you can support or adopt other dogs currently residing in foster homes, please visit Canine Guardians for Life, Inc.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Back with Bertie on Mt. Cardigan

Bertie at the summit enjoying the mountain breeze
One good hike with a foster dog certainly deserves another.  Bertie, a dog who is searching for her forever home after being rescued from an overcrowded animal shelter, bagged her second peak in two weeks last Sunday, July 31, 2011 when she reached the 3,121 ft. summit of Mt. Cardigan.  This very popular hiking destination is located in the towns of Orange and Alexandria, New Hampshire and is part of the Cardigan Mountain State Park.

Bertie proved once again that she is the perfect companion in the car and on the trail.  She playfully greeted fellow hikers and their canine companions throughout our journey along the West Ridge Trail.  We met a very tall, dark and handsome Bernese mountain dog named Timber.  He was rather impressive and very friendly.  We couldn't help but wonder how passersby may react to hearing his guardians call out to him, "Timber!". 

Bertie was especially interested in meeting and greeting the young children we encountered along the way.  She is obviously very comfortable interacting with people and animals of all ages and sizes.  In addition to the many dogs Bertie has met on her hikes up Mt. Kearsarge and Mt. Cardigan, she also currently shares her foster home with a mixed breed named Joey and three cats.

Time for a close up of that spotted tongue.
While I would certainly welcome the opportunity to hike with Bertie a third time, I am hopeful that this adorable Chow Chow/Spaniel mix will next cross my path on a hike where she is in the company of her new family.  Be sure to visit and share Bertie's profile on and help find her a home.  Additional photos of Bertie's journey are available in album on the Foster Dog Summit fan page and a short video clip of her at the summit of Mt. Cardigan appears below.

Rescue organizations such as Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. rely on the availability of foster families to ensure a safe and healthy stay for dogs who are waiting for their forever homes.  If you are not ready to make a long term commitment to adopt another pet but would like to consider hosting a dog temporarily, we invite you to learn more about becoming a foster family for a dog in need of rescue.