With our work schedules, having pets would be a burden — not as much for us as for the pets. I’d be at work for at least 24 hours, my wife working long hours, too. So, for the last several years, we’ve been a home without any pets — even longer without a dog. Now that I’ve retired and no longer bound to a work schedule, and with hiking more and more miles each year, the time has come to change that.
The reasons for having a dog are many. On farms they may help round-up livestock. Hunters use them to flush out game. Many people use them as their eyes and ears, or to overcome other challenges. Public servants use them to flush out criminals, find missing people or locate evidence. But for most people, a dog is a pet — a companion. They're there to play, to cuddle, to run or hike. They're there when we’re in need of comfort.
I’ve missed not having a pet around the house. I want to share the happiness I see on the faces of other hikers I encounter on trails with their dogs. I want to relive the joy of coming home and being greeted by a four-legged family member who's happy to see me, no matter how rotten my day may have been.
So, to that end, I contacted All Breeds Rescue and Training a few weeks ago, inquiring about getting a dog. My requirements were few: between one and three years old, already house-broken and big enough to accompany me on hikes. Before adoption, All Breeds' dogs are put into foster homes for some training to prepare them for their new homes. A couple of days ago, we met what we hope will be our new family member. A one-year-old pup of what looks to be Border collie and retriever mix, with a sweet disposition, smarts and a desire to play. We took to him instantly and vice versa.
Needless to say, we're very excited, and looking forward to welcoming him into our family — still working on a name, though.
To my followers on social media, I’ll apologize in advance for the plethora of dog pictures you’ll soon see posted from along the trails. Sort of like any proud new dad will do.
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for 25 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve had a few dogs in my lifetime. One or two when I was a kid, then some 30 years or so ago my wife gave me a 6 month-old Dalmatian as a Christmas gift. Fido came with us when we moved to Colorado 25 years ago. He lived to about 17 years old, a remarkably old age for that breed. Our similarly colored cat, Bebe, died some years ago at about 20 years old. We coddled our pets, and as with many — they were beloved members of our family.