Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In the Doghouse

Hey Y’all!  I’m back.  I’m back from backpacking.  I’m back from backpacking with my wonderful family and my fat, stubborn dog, Neo.  And speaking of Neo, he’s in the doghouse.  Let me tell you why…

Since we all are working folks now, and the children have commitments to their prospective employers, we decided to do our 7th annual backpacking trip over the 4th of July holiday when we had  extra days off—thus reducing the need for everyone to take excessive “vacation” from their jobs.  Knowing that we had just a short time, we decided to go explore a section of the Superior Hiking Trail (North Shore of Lake Superior) that we had not traversed before.  Having been to this trail two times previously, and having taken our dog to it one time previously, we were prepared for amazing scenery, great campsites with “latrines”, and nasty mosquitos. What we weren’t prepared for was our dog’s bad attitude.  Seriously.

Neo used to love hiking but I don’t think he loves it anymore. I don’t think he loves it because he is overweight and out of shape.  In fact, I think that Neo would count this year’s hiking trip as one of his all-time worst life experiences. 

Why do I think this?  Well, it might have something to do with him trying to shirk off his doggy backpack in the bushes…

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or his insistence on walking at his own pace far behind the family… 

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or his refusal to move his massive 140 pound body after he found a cool, muddy spot on the trail… (notice we were carrying his pack for him by this point)

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or his trepidation at walking over bridges.

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Maybe his paws were sore and he really wanted some of these doggy boots.


But I guess we will never find out since WE ARE NOT BRINGING HIM NEXT TIME.

He seemed pretty exhausted at night when we fed him supper.  And his manners at dinnertime were awful.

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I guess it could have something to do with the 15 miles we made him hike the first day—with lots of rocks and mountainous terrain like this…

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or the 23 plus more miles that looked like this…

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and this…

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and this.

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or the fear of falling into the rapids that looked like this…

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or maybe he just resented looking like one of the famous Beatles in photos like this.

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Regardless of the reason, we had to cut our hike short. We were bummed to miss out on more fun times like these…

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and these…

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and these…

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but we were afraid that we might kill Neo, or at least permanently disable him.  And we weren’t sure what we would do with him if he died on the trail.  He wasn’t looking good, so we gave him lots of water and NSAIDs and tried to balance mercy, “Come on, you can do it Neo!” with insults, “Kick it in the hiney, you fat mutt!”  After a few too many tugs on the leash, several kicks in the rear, and some partially successful tempting techniques with an entire summer sausage, we came to the conclusion that we might not get our dog out of the mountains.  So, Brent hitched a ride for the existing 14 miles of our planned hike so he could pick up our car and the the boys decided to take things into their own hands, literally. Within a matter of hours, we saw them emerging from the trail like this:

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Yes, what you see is true.  Luke and Cole discarded their packs at a trail head (and got them later), picked up the dog in a fireman hold and carried his lazy self down the mountain.  Here’s a better view of this embarrassing debacle:

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And that, my friends is the way our hiking trip came to a close.  And this is what our naughty Neo looked like when we got him in the car:

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He was a lot exhausted and a lot in trouble.

But we forgave him eventually because he looked so pitiful.  And we were all pretty tired as well.  This is what we looked like—dirty but happy that our dog didn’t die:

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And now that we are home and back to our real life, he seems to be his normal, albeit slightly elderly-acting, self.  And also, he seems to be skinnier. 

And we still love him even though he was difficult.

And we still had a good trip because we were together.

But next time, Neo is staying home and staying alive

but he probably will forgo the white suit.