Monday, October 20, 2014

Dog-sitting and Alaska Day

We had ten days walking and hiking with a 15-year old gordon setter named Zoe who lives in downtown Juneau. We had our share of homegrown carrots, lunchtime walks, Taku winds, smoked salmon, and urban bears.

The bear made its appearance on the first night. We were heading the same direction and I wasn't too keen on following him while holding the leash on a dog that could pass for a shaggy bear cub. We tried to go walking in daylight after being stuck waiting for the bruin to head off into someone's yard.

We took Zoe on a 5 mile, 1800' hike to the tram on Mt. Roberts to celebrate Alaska day (we also walked her part-way up the lower Dan Moller trail, but there was frost and ice so none of us really enjoyed that one).

All along the way, we were greeted by others who were amazed by her stamina. "Yes, us too. No, we can't take credit for her health, we're just the sitters."

I was pretty nervous - as in I just can't watch that - when she'd venture too close to the cliff edge...she's deaf and getting cataracts... But she really enjoyed being off leash for a few miles.

At the top the wind had picked up and so we cancelled our goals to hike farther up the mountain.

The last quarter mile of the hike I was calling and clapping and offering treats, just hoping Zoe would return to me to get her leash back on. We waited for her to turn back but she just continued down the trail toward the parking lot. Did I mention that she's a bird dog that never figured out cars? At the road she made a bee-line to greet a stranger. Fortunately she timed it just right to avoid any traffic and finally saw me racing toward her, treat bag in hand.

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