Sunday, October 30, 2011

Archie Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Archie at the summit of Mt. Tecumseh
It was the calm before the storm early in the morning of October 29, 2011 as Archie headed north for a hike to the summit of Mt. Tecumseh (4,003 ft.)  This friendly, smart approximately two and a half year old Treeing Walker Coonhound was in for a bit of winter on the Mt. Tecumseh trail.  While the major storm was still hours away from hitting the New England area, the snow that had fallen a few days earlier left an impressive blanket of white in the higher elevations.  The autumn snowfall is definitely welcome on Mt. Tecumseh since it is home to the Waterville Valley Ski Resort which will commence operations in a few weeks.

Archie agilely crossing a stream
Archie thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of the white stuff and happily journeyed along the trail as if he was a skilled winter walker from the hills and not a former flatlander who recently arrived from an overcrowded animal shelter in Arkansas.  Archie greeted all of the hikers we met on the Mt. Tecumseh trail with a calm and friendly demeanor that demonstrated his ability to easily make friends with men and women.  While we did not encounter any children or other canines in our travels, Archie would have greeted them with a similar level of calm friendliness.  Archie is especially fond of children, and he currently shares his foster home with other dogs and cats.

Obstacle was no match for a treeing walker coonhound
Fellow hikers were curious to learn more about Archie and his breed.  Upon seeing Archie coming up the trail, one man jokingly exclaimed, "He looks like a giant beagle!"  Archie does indeed share the tri-color markings of a beagle, but he is significantly larger - weighing in at a tall and very handsome ninety pounds.  In spite of his size, Archie is a big lug who loves to lean into your thigh for a pat on the head and will be equally happy with reaching the summit of a sofa to take in a view from the television. 

The relaxing ride home
Riding in the car is a new experience for Archie, and he was a bit drooly with nervous excitement on the way to the mountain.  However, having relaxed during his hike, Archie was not at all concerned about the car ride home.  He quickly settled in on the back seat and napped for nearly the entire ride which indicates that his anxiety will likely subside entirely once he has a few more trips under his belt.

Archie and I shivering at the summit!
Our round trip out and back hike of five miles along the Mt. Tecumseh trail was extremely enjoyable, and I am confident that Archie's adventure will enhance his profile to potential adopters.  Please share his journey and increase the chances of him finding a home soon.  I would like to extend a thank you to my friend Karen who accompanied Archie and I on this trek and provided photography assistance.  A complete photo album is available for viewing online. 

You can learn more about Archie and make an application to adopt him by viewing his profile at  To learn more about becoming a foster family for another dog in need or to make a contribution towards the all volunteer rescue efforts of other dogs like Archie, please visit Almost Home Rescue.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tyson Tolls to Kinsman North Summit

On the Lonesome Lake Trail
We do our best to check the weather forecasts when planning our hikes to avoid inclement conditions as much as possible.  In Franconia Notch, however, the weather is very unpredictable and often differs from that of the surrounding areas.  On Saturday, October 22, 2011, a partly cloudy forecast soon turned to drizzle and then to sleet as my partner Tyson and I made our way to the summit of Mt. Kinsman North (4,293 ft.).

Enjoying a pre-hike treat in the car
Tyson, a mostly to possibly pure bred Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever did not seem to mind the drizzle at all.  This smart, active two year old was as thrilled with his arrival in Franconia Notch State Park as he had been for the entire car ride to the trail head.  While most dogs are content to simply hang their heads out the window or lie comfortably sprawled on the seat, Tyson mostly preferred to sit upright in the middle of the back seat with his focus on the front windshield actively searching for clues to his ultimate destination.

Posing on the bridge along Lonesome Lake
As we made our way along the Lonesome Lake, Cascade Brook, Fishin' Jimmy and Kinsman Ridge Trails, Tyson and I considered taking an even longer route by visiting the summit of Mt. Kinsman South as well.  By the time we were nearly 3/4 of the way to the top of Mt. Kinsman North, the rain began to fall more steadily and the temperatures began to drop.  Taking a wait and see approach, we opted to make a decision once we reached the first summit and to enjoy our photo opportunities and views along the way.  One of the more scenic stops along our route was at Lonesome Lake where Tyson happily posed for several photos that could be added to his adoption profile.

Taking in the views at Lonesome Lake
Tyson and I encountered several groups of hikers and a few other dogs on our journey.  True to his breed, Tyson can appear leery of some strangers when first approaching them, but he happily accepted all of the hikers on the trail and was especially receptive of them once I initiated a conversation and indicated my acceptance.  One fellow hiker even got a lick on the nose from Tyson before I had the chance to officially introduce him.

Fogged in at the summit of Mt. Kinsman North
We spoke with several other hikers at the summit of Mt. Kinsman North who enjoyed meeting with Tyson, learning about his breed, giving him a congratulatory pat on the head and taking photos of his accomplishment.  Tyson showed off his sit command in front of the hikers in the hopes that one of them would share a bit of their snacks.  Of course, he enjoyed his own lunch of kibble as well as some dog biscuits before beginning the descent.  Given the level of fog and the sleet that we encountered at the top, we opted to save the summit of Mt. Kinsman South for a less rainy day.

Tyson was very agile on the slippery descent
We were happy to leave the sleet behind and have a little extra time available for a potentially slippery hike down the mountain.  Tyson proved to be even more agile on the way down the trails.  It was as if he had committed the route to memory and quickly selected the right steps on the steepest portions of the descent.  Tyson was also very mindful of my pace and did not pull on the leash or cause me to lose my balance.  I find it difficult to believe that this was Tyson's first climb up a mountain.  Given that he was picked up while wandering as a stray in West Virginia several months ago, it is quite possible that Tyson may have spent time roaming through the woods and honing his hiking skills.

Tyson and I discussing the return route
What I do know for certain about Tyson is that he is a wonderful, smart, attentive dog who is fortunate to have been given a second chance thanks to the volunteer efforts of Canine Guardians for Life, Inc.  He will make a wonderful companion for someone who is looking for a dog that enjoys new adventures and loves to be active.  Tyson is currently in foster care where he continues to work on his obedience skills, enjoys the company of other dogs (especially the ladies) and doesn't pay any attention to the cats in his home.

To learn more about Tyson or to make an application to adopt him, visit his profile on  You can also see and share a full online photo album of his journey to the summit of Mt. Kinsman North.

If you like our blog and are on Facebook, please be sure to like the Foster Dog Summit page, too!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Addi Scrambles to Whiteface Summit

Blue heeler mix Addi on the Blueberry Ledge Trail
"Smart, loving, energetic and the perfect running or agility dog," is the opening description on Addi's profile at  With such a high-energy resume, I was determined to tire Addi out with a challenging hike on a gorgeous summer like fall day.

Buckled in for safety en route to Mt. Whiteface
When I met Addi on Saturday morning, I was immediately impressed by her stunning good looks and playful demeanor.  Her foster mom informed me that Addi bonds very quickly to new people and that she would most likely enjoy hiking since she runs 2-3 miles nearly every day.  Addi hopped right into my car with such enthusiasm it was clear that she agreed with this assessment and couldn't wait to go on her first hike!  

Addi and I atop Mt. Whiteface
As we drove to the hiker parking area, I thought about how so many wonderful dogs like Addi become homeless as a result of housing restrictions.  Addi was adopted from an animal shelter when she was approximately 2 years old.  Her new family, which included two other dogs, loved Addi and were so thrilled to have rescued her from the shelter.  Sadly, only a few months later, the family had to move to military base housing where a two dog limit was in place.  Addi fell victim to the last in first out (LIFO) rule, and she became homeless for a second time in her short life.  I am hopeful that Addi's hike with Foster Dog Summit will put her one step closer to a permanent "three's a charm" home.

We chose the 8.4 mile round trip to the summit of Mt. Whiteface (4,020 ft.) via the Blueberry Ledge and Rollins Trails.  This is one of the most popular routes to the summit of Mt. Whiteface, but it does require more than a bit of scrambling near the top.  By all accounts, Addi - a 2 and 1/2 year old blue heeler mixed breed was up to the challenge.  When hiking solo with a dog on a leash, it is important to be certain that the dog is physically capable of some leaping and that you are prepared to lift the dog, if necessary.  Thankfully, Addi had some leaps, and I was able to give her a boost in a few spots near the top.

Addi and the view from the ledge en route
We met our first hikers on the trail approximately 45 minutes into our journey.  Addi alerted me to someone coming up the trail behind us by barking at them from a distance.  I was grateful for the heads up, but most of the dogs I have hiked with have not barked such alerts.  Addi, however, was a working dog intent on finishing her climb, and she clearly had bonded to me in a short amount of time.  I explained that Addi was on her first hike and had been very focused on the trail when they came up behind us.  They understood and joked that I was the safest person on the trail that day.  As we made our way up the Blueberry Ledge Trail, Addi became increasingly more confident and accepted that it was normal for other people and even the occasional dog to be on the trail with us.

Don't be fooled, Addi is just getting her second wind!
By the time we reached the summit, Addi and I took a much needed break, had some lunch and enjoyed the views.  We also made the acquaintance of another solo hiker named Martin who was planning to descend via the Blueberry Ledge Trail.  We were grateful for Martin's offer to take some photographs and his interest in Foster Dog Summit.  Addi and I decided to partner up with Martin for the return journey down the mountain.  Addi proved to be just as agile and energetic on the descent as she was on the way up the mountain, and she required very little assistance negotiating her way down the steeper sections.

I would be thrilled to hike with Addi again, but I hope that she will be hiking or enjoying some other activity with a new family before I get the chance to climb with her once more.  Please visit the complete photo album of Addi's hike to the summit of Mt. Whiteface.  Additional details about Addi are available on her profile at

To learn more about how to adopt Addi or to contribute financial or other support to the all volunteer rescue organization that provides Addi and many other dogs with foster homes, please visit the website for Almost Home Rescue of Maine.  See you on the trails!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Davey Reaches a New Home

Davey climbed Catamount Hill
A dreary weekend filled with rain was made a little brighter with news that one of the Foster Dog Summit hikers reached his final destination!  While the rain interrupted my hiking plans for the first weekend of October, it certainly did not dampen my spirits.

I was thrilled to learn that Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. had found a permanent home for Davey who tackled the trails en route to the summit of Catamount Hill back in August.  One of our smallest hikers to date, twenty-four pound Davey proved that he could climb just as well as dogs twice his size.

We look forward to receiving photos and updates on Davey from his new family which includes another dog who was previously adopted from Canine Guardians for Life, Inc.  While we await those updates and begin planning our next hike for this weekend, we invite you to continue sharing the adventures of other Foster Dog Summit hikers such as Bowie who is still waiting for his perfect family to find him.

Stella, Archie (f/k/a Davey) and Purl
We received an update from Davey, now named Archie, shortly after this post was published.  Here is Archie with his siblings Stella and Purl comfortably demonstrating how they summit the bed!

In addition to adopting, we hope that you or your friends and family members will consider becoming a foster provider for one of the many dogs waiting to be transported from an overcrowded animal shelter.  Fostering a dog is a wonderful way to assist a rescue group by providing a home for a few weeks up to a few months while their volunteers coordinate marketing efforts and begin reviewing applications from potential adopters. 

Unlike other areas of your life, when you foster a dog, "failure" is always an option!  In rescue terms, failure means that you agree to become a foster family and then decide that you cannot possibly part with him or her, so you make an application for adoption yourself.  It happens.  However, it does not always happen and there is no pressure for foster families to adopt, but occasionally people simply find a perfect match this way.

Most foster homes have one or more of their own dogs already and find that opening up their home to one more is an easy way to volunteer without making a permanent commitment to another dog.  Of course, foster families are not required to have other dogs in the household, so people without pets are encouraged to apply.  Foster dogs are fully vetted before arrival in their temporary homes and should any additional veterinary care be required, the rescue groups handle those financial responsibilities.

To learn more about becoming a foster family, please contact Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. and click on the Fostering tab at the top of the homepage.  You can also like their page on Facebook.