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.

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