18th Street Has The Best Dogs, plus a First Time Hiker Meets a Real Pit Bull (LOL)
Occasionally, I meet people interested in participating as a shelter
volunteer and specifically ask to become part of the hikes
does out on the trails. Their first hike is always a joy to be part of,
mainly because they show up early, look refreshed and have more than adequate
attire, gear, and enthusiasm. It is contagious, and I need a bit of inspiring
By the way, to avoid getting in trouble, I am NOT saying those who
have been veterans are no longer passionate, but, like most things in which
we participate, we get comfortable, and a bit relaxed. I am an example
of that very thing! Showing up a few minutes late is a reputation I have, as it
turns out, anyway!
For this hike, I happened to be BRINGING the rookie
hiker myself, since he is my good friend and future partner in business,
and happened to be visiting the area, attending meetings and sightseeing.
All the way from western South Dakota, we all welcomed Ed, this fine dude who
ASKED to participate in one of the hikes. Since I was certainly going to do my
best to leave a GRAND impression (even if it meant being ON TIME),
I made sure of a prompt appearance at the meeting point, the petite-sized
18th street shelter of Stray Rescue.
(turns out most of the crew was in fact late due to “traffic” issues!).
That worked in my favor. LOL.
I am happy to “report” that Ed was quite taken with the people and the dogs.
He actually had his very first encounter with a pit bull mix—ever!
I had to smile a little when he had indicated he had never “met” one before,
but I promised him he would SURVIVE
it, and perhaps he would
CRAVE a second encounter.
Ah, rural South Dakota….
a future pit bull haven….
By the way, Quinn sure made sure of a perfect initial impression.
Before this post continues, I want to say thank you
to Courtney, who really went beyond the call of duty
and, reading her write-up got me quite emotional….
Love you, Courtney, you ROCK!!
18th Street has such a great group of dogs, several
of which are cleared* to hike with us. Thank goodness
they are available when the shelter at Pine is inaccessible
due to downtown events!!
(*Certain dogs cannot hike due to acute or chronic health issues, typically)
Enjoy the fun we all had that chilly morning
with Antoinette, Quinn (ADOPTED!), Diamond in
the Ruff, Wendy, and Sonny Crockett!
Words cannot express how excited I was when I found out that
I was hiking with my favorite Nettie girl. Since we know each other
so well, I knew it was going to be a wonderful time. As always,
I was greeted with happy barks and jumping at the door. I sat in
her apartment to put on her pink doggie coat and give her a few
belly rubs (her favorite).
She hopped into the back seat of my car and immediately relaxed.
She is excellent in the car, Nettie settles herself in the back seat when it
comes to car rides. She is one patient girl.
Time to hike! Nettie was ready to go! The snow was not going to get in
her way. She is awesome on the leash and is a great hiking partner.
She was gentle with me when it came to icy spots. During our water
breaks, I fed her a few treats and rubbed her ears. She is such a love bug!
I had to take a few photos of her because she is so beautiful and
the scenery was an added bonus. I also snuck in a few Nettie kisses too.
When the hike was over, it was pretty clear that she was wiped out.
She always quiet in the car but this time it was because she was
getting her beauty rest. I decided to make a quick stop at a drive-through
restaurant and got Nettie her own chicken breast sandwich. At first, she didn’t seem
too interested in it but it wasn’t long before she scarfed it up.
I’m so glad that I was able to hike with my buddy. She’s an awesome girl
and LOVES people. Despite her past before being rescued,
she welcomes anyone she meets with kisses and tail wags.
I had the special honor of hiking Heparin, a beautiful white angel.
Hep, or Heppie, as she sometimes known, knew right away that she
was going somewhere special. She barked and jumped as I put her
coat on and leashed her up. Once in the car, she alternated between
the front and back seat before finally settling in the back. Not wanting
me to forget she was there, or perhaps from sheer gratitude, Hep gave
me kisses – big sloppy, wet ones – for the entire 20 minute ride.
I’ve never felt so loved in my life!
On the trail Heparin was perfect. I thought she would be more of a puller,
but she was in tune to my stride, slowing down when I pulled on the leash
while going down hills and turning around periodically to make sure I was
okay. She didn’t react to the other dogs, even when in sniffing range of the dog
butt in front of her. When we stopped for a water break and treats, she took the
fresh turkey and roast beef I brought a little too exuberantly
(can you blame her?!), but when I reminded her with a firm “gentle,”
she took the food softly from my fingers. I was impressed with her
listening skills and touched by her desire to please.
I was curious as to what she’d do on the ride home. Sadly, I didn’t
get any kisses because she was too busy snoring in the back seat!
Back at the shelter, though, she gave me one last thank you kiss.
I would love for Heparin to get adopted. A loyal, affectionate,
obedient companion, she would do wonderfully in a home.
I had the pleasure of hiking with one of my best friends, Wendy,
who is a darling of the Stray Rescue 18th Street shelter. She is the
epitome of a Doggie Princess from the way she sits and carries
herself, to the way she talks to you when she sees you, to the way
she prances on the hiking trail. I knew we would have an amazing
day with the great weather and the group of people hiking that day.
I met her at her apartment at the shelter. After our greeting filled
with hugs and kisses, I helped her put her warm coat on…it was a bit
cold and chilly that day. However, my sweet Wendy Woo (her fan club
calls her Wendy Woo) loves the cold and loves the snow. So, we both knew
it would be an excellent day for our time together with a little snow thrown
in for good measure. She was a dream in the car on the way to the Chubb Trail.
She is so attentive and such a good listener in the car. My sweet Wendy
assumed her favorite position in the car—the window seat so she could take
in every sight that passed us on our journey. Wendy was so excited when we
arrived at the trail—she gave her little Wendy yodel and butt wiggle—I knew
she was happy! She knew there was a fun day in store for both of us…there was
snow, a chill in the air, her 18th Street friends, and so many new smells awaiting
her! Wendy settled into the hike immediately and took guidance from me
but she never really needed it—I could have put her on auto-pilot! She was
such a great hiking partner that she often turned back to make sure I was
keeping up and when I would slow down she would too.
Wendy never reacted to the other dogs on the trail or anything
for that matter. She enjoyed our water breaks and took the opportunity
to explore the off trail sights and smells. We had an amazing hike
spending time together—we talked about what a beautiful girl she is
and what a wonderfully mannered young lady she has
become—she showered me with more of her sweet kisses. Wendy was
a trooper the whole way back to 18th Street and was fast asleep as soon
as we pulled out of the parking lot. It broke my heart to bring this sweet girl
back to her apartment, but she showered me with Princess kisses and
promptly put herself to bed for a much deserved nap. Wendy is approximately
four years old and is 100% potty-trained. She loves all the volunteers
who take care of her everyday but would really love a home with her
own forever family to take her on walks, watch HGTV, and her own bed
where she can take her afternoon naps. Please check out Wendy
at http://www.strayrescue.org/adopt/wendy and her own Facebook page at
and meet this amazing girl! She’s one in a million.
I had the opportunity to hike with Diamond in the Ruff,
and my favorite part of taking her hiking is the car ride
to and from the trail.
Upon leaving the 18 Street Shelter, Diamond immediately
thinks the first car parked at the curb is her personal limousine.
But with the snow, ice and Hot Chocolate Run that created issues
getting close to the shelter, I opted to park on Lafayette Avenue.
The more cars we passed on the way to my car, the more
Diamondthought she merely was going to a walk. When she
discovered my car,Diamond nearly yanked me into a huge snow
pile trying to get to the tailgate.
nce inside, Diamond examines every possible place to sit for the ride
to the trail, even on my lap behind the wheel. As usual, she settled for the
passenger seat, but at one point near Antire Road, she thought the view
looked better from the driver’s seat and climbed onto my lap and rode there
until we turned off.
Diamond enjoys hiking near the back of the pack, and the scents
on the trail were particularly interesting on the Chubb Trail. It was the first time
on this trail for both of us, and Diamond was very careful not to take the downhill
switchbacks too fast because of the ice and snow. We both thoroughly enjoyed
watching Sonny Crockett digging to China at the base of a dead tree stump,
and she no doubt snickered a little when I skidded and fell near the end of the hike.
And while Diamond certainly loved wearing the jackets provided,
she was very adamant about the fact that reindeer slippers are not
trail-rated for hiking.
We were visited by a group of hikers, and several trail runners. Diamond
waited patiently for the groups to pass, and also took treats gently from my
hand on our breaks. It was a strenuous hike in that we expended a lot of
energy staying on our feet. So with holiday music playing on the radio,
Diamond snoozed all the way back to the shelter, and at one point
snored even louder than Bruce Springsteen’s
version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”
We all know our buddies have had the best time when they get back
to their apartments, climb on their beds and fall sound asleep.
And this hike was no exception.
Glad to make those later shelter shifts a little easier!
I was paired up with Sonny Crockett for my hike on a snowy,
cold Sunday morning in December. As we all met up at the
18th Street shelter and spent some time giving our friends
some love, everyone warned me “Oh Sonny, he’s a strong one!”
I laughed them off—didn’t these people know that my own foster
at home was super strong? I can handle anything!! Sonny is adorable
and reminded me a lot of my last forever dog, a chocolate lab.
He has a beautiful brown coat, spunky ears, and the way he
takes a treat is absolutely priceless. I entered his apartment and
calmed him down best I could to get his harness and leash on.
He was so excited to get out for the day, as they always are. Once
we got to the car, Sonny really wanted to ride up front with me, but
when we started off down the highway, he settled nicely into the
back seat. By the time we reached our destination, the Chubb Trail,
Sonny was ready to go. He had enjoyed the ride just fine but this
boy needed his exercise and there was a lot to explore!
We hopped out of the car and anxiously awaited the others.
Sonny wanted to take the lead, but we went ahead and fell into the
second position in line instead. He didn’t seem interested at all in
the other dogs around him. There was way too much to smell and
look at and dig up than to worry about anything or anyone else on
the trail with him. Sonny is an inquisitive boy, and I underestimated
just how much he wanted to GO! He absolutely wanted to smell and
get into everything. Who can blame the poor pup! He’s pretty puppy
like at age 2, and he spends most of his day in an apartment. I let him
have his way on the trail, and he took it! We didn’t spend a lot of time
on the actual trail, as Sonny was far more interested in seeing what was
off of the trail. You can tell he has a lot of retriever in him, as he was
digging at trees and smelling his way towards something!
Sonny would make someone a great hunting or running companion,
because this boy has energy like I’ve never seen.
The trail was an intense one, and with Sonny taking me on adventure
after adventure off the trail, about two-thirds through I switched with Ed and hiked
with the sweet Quinn back to our cars. She is a total sweetheart and very laid
back on the trail, as long as she was in the back and didn’t have anyone behind her
to distract her. In fact there were a couple of times she just looked up at me like
“okay I’ve had enough, lets just sit here!” Completely different from Sonny,
Quinn really wanted to know what the other dogs behind her were doing,
so we stayed to the rear. I looked ahead at my new friend Sonny and
he was walking nicely next to ED!!!I laughed and thought
“well he must have worn himself out on the first part of the hike!”
The night before I went on this hike, I had slipped and fell while walking my
own foster dog. I didn’t think I was going to make it to the hike, but knew if I didn’t,
I’d be letting down the dog. The weather the next morning was perfect for staying in
bed all day, snuggled up with foster watching holiday movies.
My friends asked me the night before “why don’t you just cancel?
It’s not like the dog will know you aren’t there. Or can’t you just take
the dog on a regular walk, why does it have to be
on a hike in the snow?!” I told them I would know I wasn’t there.
When I told them the story about my hike with Sonny, they laughed and
said “don’t you wish you had just stayed home?” I told them with absolutely
no hesitation that no, I did not wish I had
just stayed home. I love hiking with these dogs, and they love going on the hikes.
It gets them out. They get to do things they don’t usually get to do. Of course I love
staying at home and snuggling with my foster dog. But she gets that every single day,
and the dogs in the shelter, while taken great care of, don’t get the one-on-one
attention all the time like a forever or foster dog does. Waking up early, bundling up,
getting stuck on a sheet of ice, and going on a snowy adventure with a super
excited shelter dog allows that dog feels special for one day.
It is absolutely, 110% worth every moment.
Quinn was everything I had hoped she would
be. I wanted Ed to meet a sassy, perky, and confident
little lady who would help him understand what I had been
describing to him for months!
“PIT BULLS ARE THE BEST DOGS IN THE DOGGIE WORLD, ED!!
WOW!! Where have YOU BEEN??!!”
She certainly gave him affection to the max, and let him be
in charge of the partnership they shared on the trail.
I don’t need to explain this to the reader!! You already KNOW how
PERFECT these dogs are, so….
In Ed’s own words, of which I am certain you will find worth the read…..
Visiting both the large and smaller shelters was a true experience.
I never realized so many dogs needed homes.
In the shelter the dogs are treated well & are being well-cared for,
but let’s be real–a dog shelter is not the life they deserve.
When I think of a person living a “sheltered life”, I think of a
stress-free existence, but when I think of a “sheltered” dog,
it’s totally different.
As far as being introduced to Quinn, the dog I was going hiking with,
well, we were quick to become friends, and I think she knew she was getting to go
some place out of the ordinary. On the way to the trail in the truck,
Quinn was well mannered & calm. During the hike, she was a team
player, being around several other dogs & hikers,
yet she hiked well with every one, and not much pulling on the leash, either.
The entire morning was great. I could tell she really enjoyed her time outside.
Looking forward to more hikes when I am in town.
QUINN WAS VERY RECENTLY ADOPTED AND ALL OF US
WITH FOUR DIRECTIONS HIKING WISH HER AND HER FAMILY
THE BEST!! ~~DM