Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Umbry Finds a Foster on Mt. Passaconaway

Umbry on the ascent via Dicey's Mill Trail
For anyone who has questioned my new found appreciation for winter hiking, let me assure you that there is nothing like climbing a 4,000 footer in a heat wave to make you long for snowshoes and the cool challenge of slipping down an icy trail in the company of a sure footed canine.  Thankfully, with a dog who hails from Arkansas, a shady route to the summit, plenty of water breaks and time to wade in the brook, I was the only one in any level of discomfort on the trails leading to Mt. Passaconaway (4,043 ft.) this weekend.

Bella and Umbry conversing about the trails
My hiking companion Umbry and I selected the tree covered Dicey's Mill Trail to the top of Mt. Passaconaway and were off to an early start in an effort to avoid the midday sun.  We enjoyed our pre-hike conversations with the beautiful canine Bella and her human. Bella's companion suggested that since we were not hiking over to Mt. Whiteface on this day that we should consider descending along the Walden Trail.  We opted to follow this advice, and I texted a change in the hiking plans to my husband back home so that he would be aware of the different trails we would be taking.

True summit is completely wooded with nicer views just below
Our trip along the Dicey's Mill Trail was quiet and very enjoyable.  Umbry and I encountered approximately a dozen other people and two other dogs in the area around the summit.  Two year old Umbry is nearly a pro with the sit command, and he hardly ever stepped more than a few feet ahead of me on the leash.  On our descent down the rather steep sections of the Walden Trail, Umbry obediently responded to my command to stay behind as I walked ahead of him and occasionally needed to reach back and assist him with a lift from an especially steep location.  Since Umbry weighs approximately 35 pounds, it was not at all a strain to give him a lift and assist, but I also tend to be overly cautious about allowing rookie hikers to jump from high places.  As a young, active Terrier/Jack Russell mix, Umbry likely did not need as much assistance as I provided. 

Taking a break on the descent
Umbry is currently being cared for by volunteers with Almost Home Rescue of Maine while he awaits the perfect family to call his own.  After arriving from Arkansas a couple weeks ago, Umbry was residing in his foster home for several days until an unexpected change in schedule required that he be assigned to a new one.  Discussions about Umbry's need for a new place to stay reminded me of just how critical a stable network of foster homes is to the success of rescue groups. 

In addition to publicity and fundraising events, my own animal welfare advocacy efforts include everything from cleaning cages and walking dogs to providing rescue and sheltering assistance to animal victims of natural disasters and puppy mills.  However, other than the occasional stray dog or cat who has resided with me for a few hours until I can locate its family, I have never opened my home to provide foster care for a homeless pet in need. 

In search of a home from a high place
That is until now. 

I am boldly going where I have not dared to go before, and Umbry will be joining me as a foster dog later this week.  I look forward to sharing my rookie fostering experience with all of you in the hopes that it will inspire you to open your heart and home temporarily for a homeless dog in need.  Shortly after I finalized my fostering decision, I came across the following story of Wonderful Wilbur that was shared by the rescue group Canine Guardians for Life, Inc.

Please help me as I embark on this fostering adventure with Umbry by visiting and sharing his
profile on and the online photo album from his hike.

See you on the trails!


  1. I'm in love with Umbry! And I'm so happy that you've decided to try fostering!! My prayer is that you will continue, and that you will inspire others to this act of love and compassion as well. STABLE foster homes are the lifeblood of rescue, and we are so in need!

  2. Thank you, Judith. It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision. I had Umbry for an overnight pre-hike visit when I realized he could be a good fit as a foster. Since he was in between temporary homes, I figured I had to give it a try anyway. Wish me luck, and please do not hesitate to offer good advice since I know you have so much fostering experience with Canine Guardians for Life, Inc.

  3. Judith, I think Lisa-Marie has the "rescue" gene and will love fostering. I'm surprised it took her so long. ;) Thank you for connecting AHR with Lisa-Marie and, Lisa-Marie, thank you for making a difference for homeless dogs. I shared Umbry's hike with the Mike and Kathy Norris at the Wynne Shelter in Arkansas (Umbry's originating shelter) and they were just so happy to see him hiking in the mountains -- it meant a lot to them.