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Welcome to Four Directions Hiking with Donna McCall

My mission is to introduce available dog companions to you, through hiking experiences with the canines from Stray Rescue in St. Louis. All of these dogs are great as outdoor partners for anyone who loves to hike, backpack, trail run, whatever! The dogs travel with me to trails in all four directions. They come in colors of black, red, white and yellow, which happen to be the colors representing the four cardinal directions of N,S,E, and W, in American Indian culture. Thus the name Four Directions!

MORE PATIENCE!

In the previous hiking post, I wrote a few thoughts

about PATIENCE

I decided to continue it to THIS posting, the reason was

a bit unlike the last, however…




Weather has never been more difficult of a

challenge for Four Directions than this

winter season.

We made it! It worked.

Though the photos are fewer,

less bright, and fewer in number,

the hike commenced as planned!

And the crew that attended

was not your average dozen.


(this is our line of vehicles as we departed Sunday morning)

pa·tience

noun

1.

the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation,

annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper,

irritation, or the like.

2.

an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance

when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.

3.

quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence:

to work with patience.

4. to accept challenges of unknown obstacles forthcoming,

an in:

while participating in a sleet-stricken freezing morning

on a trail

with a dozen beautiful shelter dogs

who truly needed a hike. J


Every block of stone has a statue inside it

and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
- Michelangelo

32 DEGREES CELCIUS



My hiking bud was a good-sized, super dog named 32 Degrees,

with a beautiful blue-grey coat and a big ol’ head.  I don’t know if  he is in Celsius or

Fahrenheit, but I do know that 32 was one of the best dogs I have had on the

trail.  This starts to sound like a broken record, because every Stray Rescue

dog is a joy to take out, but this one was really, really cool.  32 is a strong lad,

pulling me up and down hills with no problem, and staying focused on the trail.  He was very good

with his roomy, Burlesque, and one thing I noticed, he seemed to be pretty un-impressed

with other dogs, certainly not aggressive.  The group of pups was kind of loud,

a lot of barking, and when one of the nearby dogs would bark or lunge a bit toward 32,

he’d just keep a wary eye on the other dog.  He’d bark some, of course, but

it was more to say “why don’t you chill and enjoy the scenery”.  Some of

the other dogs on the hike needed to be moved around and re-positioned

to calm down, but my boy was always cool as the other side

of the pillow.  Easy like Sunday Morning for you

Commodores fans.  I felt spoiled.

The ride out to the hike was non-eventful, with both dogs merrily chewing on

treats and looking out the windows.  32 was quick in and out of the jeep, loves to

be petted, takes treats with ease and generally was a breeze to handle.  I got the

impression if I would have let go of the leash, he would have just sat there, or come

over to be petted.  He was almost mellow, and seemed to be sometimes deep

in thought.  At times he wanted to go off trail and explore, and he liked

to be petted from time to time…while we were moving, which is tough to do.

32 handled the cold, snowy trail with zero difficulty, pulling me along when

needed, stopping when asked, and just was a great hiking companion.


On the way home, he slept hard, until we pulled up to the fast food joint for

some burgers which he devoured happily. He then went right back to

sleep all the way back to the shelter.  I had one last sit with him before

bringing him back in, and he ate up all the head scratching

and petting I could dole out.  I always miss the dogs when we

leave, but 32 was something special.  He’ll make a wonderful companion

for some lucky person or family.

~~TERENCE K.


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/32-degrees-celsius

BURLESQUE



Look at that face!  Burlesque seems to be asking “What are we going to do

now?”  She was so excited to go on a field trip and hopped right into

the car, happily munching on a bone and hanging out with her roommate,

32 Degrees.  She was surprisingly  quiet in the car on the way to

the trailhead, but perked up as soon as her paws hit the trail.

Burlesque is a strong girl with a lot of energy, but she takes directions nicely.

Each time I pulled back on her lead she slowed down to my pace.  The day that we hiked was

cold and rainy, but she maneuvered the terrain like a pro and seemed very happy to

be out with all of the humans and other dogs.  She took treats gently from my hand, and even

when she was rewarded with a cheeseburger for being such a great hiking companion

she was very polite.  After a full morning and a full belly she

caught a few ZZZZs in the car on the way back to the shelter.

She’ll make a great addition to a lucky family.

~~DAWN K.


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/burlesque

RALPH



I was very excited that Ralph would be my hiking buddy for my second hike with Four Directions. Ralph and I had taken a long walk through downtown St. Louis a few weeks prior, and I was excited to see how he would do on the trail. Ralph was excited to get in my car and get going. He settled down and spent the ride to the trail looking out the window.

Once we were there, Ralph was ready start hiking! He got pretty excited to be around the other dogs, and let us all knowby barking joyously. As soon as we put Ralph at the front of the pack, we settled into our stride. He was quiet and focused on the trail, enjoying being the leader for all the other dogs. Ralph enjoyed walking through all the piles of leaves along the side of trail, he made sure each and every leaf was sniffed. Even with all his sniffing he walked at a pleasant pace and didn’t pull too hard. I was especially pleased with Ralph when we had to go down the big hills. He seemed to understand that I needed more time maneuvering, and slowed down, looking back at me every few feet.

​Even though we encountered most forms of precipitation (rain, sleet, hail, AND snow!), Ralph didn’t let anything dampen his experience. He did like to bark at the other dogs whenever we stopped, but his barking was more out of a desire to play with everyone as opposed to being aggressive. Ralph is currently participating in the Puppies for Paroles program, receiving intensive training with an inmate at a local prison. After his three months of training and loving, Ralph will no doubt be the perfect pup for a loving, active family.

~~MARGO

http://strayrescue.org/adopt/ralph

LaDee



Reader, now take a look.

See that adorable expression?

Well, that isn’t for everyone to receive.

Nope.

I must tell you, that to get this far with

LaDee, you will need

to win her heart.

She is selective—in fact quite choosy.

(Secretly, I won her over with a heck of a lot of

trial and error and FINALLY FRESH STEAK!)

Once she DOES take the

LOVE LEAP, you are hooked

and so is she.

A patient and quiet girl,

LaDee not only rides without any trouble,

she never complains about the weather or the surroundings

that otherwise might affect her.

She watches over her companion on the trail, and doesn’t mind

curious dogs in her midst.

A joy to have on the end of your leash,

LaDee becomes your REAL COMPANION, meaning,

devoted and loyal–solid.

~~DONNA


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/la-dee

DIG DUG




This was my second hike with Dig Dug and he was yet again an amazing

companion on the trail.  Dig Dug appears to thrive during these hikes and really

embraces his surroundings with calm and ease.  He does not pull nor lunge to anything

unless he intends to mark it.  He’s curious, but not aggressive

and has no fear of the elements.  We experienced rain, sleet, snow, high winds and

bitter cold on this hike, yet Dig Dug was not phased and continually had a

big smile on his face.  At no point did he ever show aggression and maintained his

position just ahead of me even as he descended the rolling hills.

For the purposes of this hike, I made a point to challenge Dig Dug

by constantly changing course and directing him where to go.  He

listened attentively and was eager to blaze our own trail regardless of the

terrain.  Since this was our second hike together, I can honestly say that

Dig Dug has made a magnificent amount of progress since our first

meeting.  He has such a calming presence about him now and really appears to

carry himself with confidence.  He’s not afraid of his surroundings and humans

the way he was when he was originally rescued.  I am extremely proud of him

and his transformation.  I believe he’s ready for his forever home and would

make a great addition to a loving family who is willing to help him make

that next step toward become the perfect companion.

Plus, I think he’d be better served having a couch to snore on all day.

~~ROB


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/dig-dug

UNO



My Hike with Uno, the Boston Terrier Mix

What can I say about Uno? She was absolutely amazing from

beginning to end. She was an easy hiking partner, staying at a

comfortable pace and paying close attention to me when going down slippery slopes.

It was an honor to take her on her first hike with Four Directions Hiking!

I expect many more hikes in her future.

On the way to the hiking trail she resorted to chewing on

a nylabone in the backseat of my car.

As we approached the trail head, Uno was more alert and sat like a lady

looking out the window. On the hike itself she did not react to any of the

other dogs even when something excited them. Uno impressed me by

her calm nature; even during the short break we took she remained attentive and calm.

After about two hours of hiking in the cold, wind, and snow

(WHAT A TROOPER!) she was definitely ready for a nap.

On the way back she did just that. I heard quiet snores

from a happy dog the entire way back.

If you are looking for a quiet, well-mannered dog to take on adventures

Uno would be the one for you! She is a smaller pup, but has one

of the best personalities I have ever seen at Stray Rescue! Come meet her

today because she is waiting for you.

~~ANNIE

http://strayrescue.org/adopt/uno-0

FROGGER


Frogger was a little anxious on the car ride. I’m not entirely sure

she had gone on a hike but just being returned from foster could have added to it.

(note: SHE HAS NOT BEEN ON A HIKE).

She was affectionate and attentive from the very

start giving ear kisses the whole drive.

At first Frogger was ready to take off like lightening but she

eventually calmed down. She would check back with me every few

feet and we matched pace every so often. She did her business off trail like a good little lady.

With the cold weather she did get the shivers and so we cuddled

together a few times. Frogger also had some anxiety about other dogs

but if you blow “raspberries” and make little strange noises she quickly

loses focus on them and her attention is back to the trail and her hiker-partner.


Frogger is a great dog with lots of energy and love to give.

I adore this girl and after a good run I think she’d be ready for a big blanket,

popcorn, and a movie. She’s going to make the person or family

that take her to her forever home very happy with all the love this

little lady has in her heart.

~~CAROLYN


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/frogger

DAISY



I had the pleasure of hiking with Daisy. I could tell right away that she was a

staff favorite, everyone’s face lit up when they saw her and lots of people

stopped to say hi and pet her. It was like being with a celebrity.

Driving Miss Daisy was a blast. She got in the back seat and let me cuddle

with her a little bit while we waited for the others. She is so cute and sweet.

I love her tail, it never stopping wagging the entire time. I kept seeing it in my

rear view and thinking it was my back windshield wipers. She was perfect in the

car, quiet and calm. I told her she could come up front but she gave me a look like

she had better manners than that.


I was told this was her first hike but you would not have known it. She was great

on a leash and stayed on the trail. She was behind Ralph most of the time, with

no problems at all. I could tell she was getting thirsty right before we stopped for

break because she was licking snow off the leaves on the ground.

A couple times when we stopped, she would try to play tug of war with her slip

lead or a stick that she found, and I could tell that she is a fun, playful girl. I truly

wished we were in a fenced in yard and I could throw a ball for her.

Daisy is adorable, sweet, soft and cuddly, great on a leash and in a car, and pretty

in pink. She is a fantastic girl, just ask anyone at stray rescue.

~~Nicole


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/daisy-0

MICA


On an unseasonably cold, sleeting March day, as I drove to the shelter for a

hike, I was wishing I were home in my warm bed. How was I going to get through

a wet hike being pelted by sleet? But all my trepidation vanished when Micah

pranced out to meet me like a ray of sunshine thawing my heart and my mood.

He has beautiful, glossy, mink-like fur and a white tuxedo chest. He was wearing

a cute red jacket and looked both regal and adorable.


Mica was such a pleasant hiking companion! He was relaxed on the way out

and slept most of the way. Once we got on the trail, it became obvious to me

that Mica must have some leash training…. Or perhaps he is a natural? He rarely

pulled on the leash. He would walk as fast as I wanted to walk, but when I stopped

or slowed down, he would be right by my side. What a joy to hike with a dog who looks

to you for cues about the pace! A few times he barked at the dogs behind or in front of

us, but when I corrected him he would stop right away. He also demonstrated “sit” for me.

The shelter staff described Micah as dog-selective, but he was very easy to work with

since he listens so well. And on the hike, he selected a dog he would like to make friends

with: La Dee. He was giving every indication of enjoying her company.

Micah slept all the way back to the shelter. He was such good company today

that I found myself wondering how in the world a fantastic dog like him has not been

adopted. He would truly make a perfect companion for just about anyone!

~~SUSAN


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/mica

FRESCA


This was my first hike – or walk of any kind – with Fresca. A little shy at

first, Fresca was unsure what was happening when she was brought out of

her apartment. She was reluctant to climb into the back of my SUV, but

willingly let me lift her onto the cushy pile of blankets in the back.

Fresca hardly moved the entire trip to the trail, but when we arrived she sprang

into action and eagerly leaped out of the back. Once we figured out the best

pair of hikers to follow, which happened to be Walker Texas Ranger and Scott,

off we went. Fresca was a great hiker, never pulling and always keeping pace with

Walker and Scott. She was a little curious about the snow/sleet that pelted

us early in the hike, and since her leashed were never really stretched tight,

Fresca occasionally checked to make sure I was somewhere very near to her.

On our break, Fresca showed no interest in the doggie treats I brought. She sniffed

the backpack and found a pack of Fig Newtons, which she pulled out, tore off the

wrapping and quickly devoured. The only telltale signs of her thievery were the crumbs

that stuck to her snout. I always find it interesting how many dogs are able to unwrap

things and inhale the evidence without eating the paper. It was impossible to not smile

when she batted those pittie eyes and let out a very ladylike belch in my face.

Fresca snuggled and gave kisses after her snack, and mugged for a few pictures

before we resumed the hike.


The entire group was fairly tightly packed on the return to the parking lot, and

Fresca had no issues with other dogs. Walker became a little more infatuated with

Fresca on the way back, but Scott and I made sure they were kept a safe distance

apart simply to keep the peace. Fresca has a roommate and is very comfortable in

that setting.

We stopped for lunch before returning to the shelter, and Fresca is a huge fan of chicken!!

After a gentle ladylike belch, Fresca curled up on the blankets and slept soundly

all the way back to Pine Street. Once you gain Fresca’s trust, she becomes an

absolute love bug. She is the perfect companion on the trail and most assuredly

in a forever home.

~~PAT


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/fresca

WALKER, TEXAS RANGER


I met Walker that morning and immediately i could feel a nice bond with him.

He also had a calming effect that was noticeable as soon as I met him.

On top of that he is a beautiful looking dog. As we got our gear together and went

to the car. I realized he didn’t know how to hop in the back seat. I had to

teach him how to get in. He learned so quick and was patient. The funniest

part was when the power seat went forward to make it easier for him

to get into the car he was fascinating by how the seat could move.

He would just stare at it in amazement.

As we left in the car Walker just sat and relaxed and happy.

He acted as if he did this everyday. Occasionally while

driving he would move and bump against me in a sweet, loving way.

He was just great in the car. I really enjoyed that car ride with Walker.


As we got to the trailhead, he became excited to be out in the open country.

But he didn’t pull he just walked ahead of me on the trail. It was

snowing that AM and he was enjoying the wetness! Walker was a great hiking dog.

He seemed interested in the other dogs (no untoward reactions) but kept

on hiking without a bit of trouble.

As we stopped for a snack break, he was a great observer of what

was going on and watched other dogs get their photos taken. He seemed

excited to have his done and did well when asked to sit and pose.

During the ride back Walker took a nap and was just great. We shared a special treat

and he took the treat right from the palm my hand very gently. Walker is

simply a quiet, friendly gentleman. He can make anyone who is having a

bad day instantly have a smile on their face.

~~SCOTT


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/walker-texas-ranger

JANET



Janet was very excited to get out of her kennel and explore outside.

She was very interested in the other dogs walking on the sidewalk at the shelter.

She jumped right in the car, and began chewing on the nylabone.

It was apparent right away after just a few minutes driving that she does

not have the belly for the back seat.  This will be something to keep in mind

for future rides.  Car sickness happens!

On the trail, she just wanted to get together with the other dogs,

either in front or behind.  She needs direction to keep her focused

moving forward.  She was a real trooper, keeping up her energy

throughout the entire hike.  She greatly benefited from the harness.

She seemed to love other dogs more than people,

although I think once she gets to know her human best friend she

will show greater attachment. She is very sweet-natured and confident.

~~DAWN


http://strayrescue.org/adopt/janet

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does

failing to hear and see it.”
- Michelangelo


http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Patient