Friday, September 21, 2012

Carley Seeks Second Home on Sandwich Dome

Carley at 10 months of age hiking on Bald Knob
When I first hiked with Carley on Turtleback Mountain back in January, the 10-month old Labrador retriever/terrier mix was pending adoption to a new family along with her sister Juney.  Unfortunately for Carley, the family quickly determined that they were better situated to adopt only one dog, and they opted for her sibling Juney.  Shortly thereafter, Carley was adopted into a new home where she resided for the last eight months before being returned due to changes in family circumstances that were beyond her control. 

While I felt sorry for the many bumps on the road that Carley had experienced en route to a permanent home, I was not at all disappointed to be hiking with her again recently on Sandwich Mountain (3,980 ft.) during Labor Day weekend.

Carley at 18 months on the Sandwich Mountain Trail
Rescue groups do their best to ensure a perfect match for each of the dogs with a thorough application process, but there are instances when an initial placement is not a good fit and the dog needs to go to a different home.  The reasons for a dog needing to be put back up for adoption are varied.  The dog may not get along with other pets in the household or a family's situation may have changed to the extent that their schedule or income can no longer support a pet in the household. 

Crossing the brook
When I began Foster Dog Summit and wanted to devote my volunteer efforts to hiking with and blogging about dogs in need of a second chance, I sought assurance from the rescue groups that all dogs who were placed for adoption would receive adequate follow up and, if necessary, would be replaced into second or even third homes if an initial adoption does not succeed.  I did not want any hikers to be placed for adoption and then possibly be surrendered to an animal shelter because the rescue group was not able to handle a second placement for them.  Both Almost Home Rescue of Maine and Canine Guardians for Life, Inc. are very reputable rescue groups who stand by their commitment that a dog can be returned and will be placed into a home that is a better fit.

When I arrived to pick up Carley for our second hike to the top of Sandwich Mountain, I was thrilled to learn that another family had already made an application to adopt her into their home.  I was not at all surprised that Carley would find another home so quickly.  She was as kind and gentle as she had been during our first hike eight months earlier.  With a rainy start to our steep climb up the Sandwich Mountain Trail, I was more than a little grateful for Carley's careful pace and skillful leash manners. 

The view from Noon Peak
As we made our way to the summit, the sun began steadily peeking through the treetops, and I had high hopes for some wonderful views en route to the top of Sandwich Dome.  Carley and I enjoyed a peaceful water break at Noon Peak where the suddenly brighter weather provided a spectacular backdrop for photos.  And since Carley seemed to be enjoying the views as well, I chose to photograph the ledge from her perspective.

We met Sam the Puggle on Jennings Peak
As we continued our trek along the Sandwich Mountain Trail, we did not encounter any other hikers until we reached the top of Jennings Peak where several hikers and a few dogs were enjoying the early afternoon sunshine and discussing the various routes they had traveled along Sandwich Mountain that morning.  Carley was very respectful of her fellow canine hikers, and we were delighted to make the acquaintance of Sam the Puggle.

Meet and greet with Tilly
A bit further up the trail as we made our way down from Jennings Peak and towards the summit, Carley and I had the opportunity to meet Tilly and her hiking companion who insisted on taking a group photo that we promised to share.  The hikers and I are always grateful for volunteer photographers when we meet on the trails.

Carley at the summit of Sandwich Mountain
After experiencing a thankfully dry climb to the summit and taking in so many sunny views, we did not spend too much time at the summit as the clouds started to roll in overhead.  We snapped a few photos and chatted with some hikers at the top of the mountain before making our descent down the Drakes Brook Trail.

Carley looking beautiful on the descent
While my posts from the trail usually conclude with a request that readers visit and share a dog's profile, I am happy to report that Carley's pending application for adoption was approved!  She has been happily residing with her new family for several days now, and they are very excited to have her in their home.  We do invite you to view her online photo album here.

See you on the trails!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Hike for Dogs of All Ages

Fifteen going on two and still tackling the trails!
With recent visits from out of town guests and a trip to Boston over the past few weekends, there has been little time available for hiking.  While the majority of trips with Foster Dog Summit take an entire day to complete, especially when factoring in driving distance and trail time, there are a number of shorter hikes with rewarding views much closer to home in the Lakes Region.

Umbry taking in the views over Lake Wicwas from
Crockett's Ledge
One of my favorite local spots is the Hamlin-Eames-Smyth Recreation and Conservation Area located in Meredith, New Hampshire.  This network of trails features a variety of short hikes of very moderate difficulty with several interesting ponds and wonderful ledge views overlooking Lake Wicwas and Lake Winnisquam.
Neely and Bandit at the summit of Cannon in 2009
Most importantly, the trails are still within the range of hiking ability for my 15-year old soul mutt - a German shepherd/Labrador mix named Bandit and his 14-year old canine sibling Neely who is also a mixture of German shepherd and who knows what other breeds.  They have traveled many miles with me over the years and were still climbing 4,000 footers up until a few years ago.

While I had hoped that both dogs would be able to join foster dog Umbry on this recent adventure, Neely's osteoarthritis has been acting up recently so she can travel only on short daily walks around the neighborhood for now.

The hiking duo!
Umbry, Bandit and I enjoyed an early afternoon walk along the 2.7 Crockett's Ledge loop trail.  We encountered only one other hiker at the beginning of the trail.  She and her two canine companions were just concluding their trip.  After the dogs barked a boisterous hello to one another, the trails were peacefully quiet for the remainder of the trek. 

Thankfully, Bandit and Umbry are getting along even better than I had expected.  I had reservations about taking a foster dog into my home because I feared that Bandit would not be accepting of a newcomer.  I am overwhelmingly surprised by and grateful for how readily Bandit has welcomed Umbry and has adjusted to his significantly higher activity level.  It seems as though Bandit understands that he needs to cut the foster dog a break since he does not have a home to call his own.

Bandit and I strategize about foster dog Umbry
Bandit and I are confident that Umbry will find his forever home soon, but we are also enjoying the time that we get to spend together.  The fostering experience has offered many rewards, and taking temporary care of Umbry has had very few challenges.  He is fully housetrained and quickly responds to voice corrections such as "Down", "Leave it" and "No".

Cat manners 101
Umbry is still learning to get along with my cat, but his chasing is playful, and she is able to convincingly stand her ground.  At this point, Umbry would do best without cats or with cats who are very skilled in handling dogs.  I also feel that Umbry's energy level is best suited for active adults and older children.  He is a wonderful walking and hiking companion, and he also politely and calmly settles into and simply hangs out in his dog bed when requested to do so. 

If you or one of your friends or family members is interested in learning more about this sweet, smart and playful Terrier mix, please inquire further with Almost Home Rescue of Maine.