Sunday, January 30, 2011

Caching with dogs

My dog Jack, is not one who's very good at long walks.  We've walked him down into village area of our town, which is about three quarters of a mile away and he's really tired about halfway back from there. For him, that's a long walk, but then again, he's a smaller dog and those little legs just keep churning along, but he's also the kind of dog who will just shut down, lie down and say, enough, I'm tired.  Needless to say, I don't take him with me too often when I cache, although, he does have his own Geocaching account and has logged 10 finds.

I have been hiking and caching with others who bring their dogs along for the trek.  All of these dogs have been much larger than Jack, probably outweighing him by fifty pounds or so.  I would think a larger dog has more stamina for hikes of several miles. The last thing I'd want to do is have to lug around a dog who just refuses to walk any more.  That would be tough, especially if you're miles from transportation or only midway through your caching day.

Most of the time, the dogs are just with us because they like to be outdoors with their companions and they love to run and/or go for along walk. All of our walks with dogs have usually been over a couple of miles.  Yeah, they get tired at the end, but they always seem to have extra energy, much more than I can say for me after some of our hikes.  It would be nice to have that kind of stamina.

When you're caching with dogs, you have a different mind set as well.  You're constantly on the lookout for them, making sure they're not getting into trouble.  Then again, sometimes, they just need to explore, like Sheila did last week when she decided to climb that tree.  The cache was there, just not up that high.  But she had the right idea for the most part.

Another thing to like about dogs is they don't eat very much while on the trail and if you have the right equipment, they'll even carry their own gear.  One dog I went on a hike with had his own saddlebags for carrying his own water and everything else he needed for the day trek we had planned.  All you really need is a good container to use for a water bowl and you're really good to go with a dog.

The other thing I've noticed about dogs is they're smart enough to rest in the shade.  I'm pretty sure what goes through a dog's mind is something like this.

"Oh boy, I'm going on a walk with food guy!!  Walk, walk, walk, pant, pant.  Run, run.  Oooooh.  There's lots of good smells on this trail.  SQUIRREL!!!!   C'mon Food Guy, let's go!!  You're going too slow for me.  Oh, wait, you're looking for that geohiddenthingamabob aren't you?  That's OK with me.  I get to rest and relax in the shade while you look.  I hope it's a difficulty Five.  That way I get to rest for a good long while, cause I know you're not that good at finding those geohiddenthingamabobs.  SQUIRREL!!!"

You know, you can stop me at any time, because I could probably go on for a long time like that.  I'll leave you with one more short story before I sign off today.  There was a cacher in the San Diego area who went by the handle Yrium.  He took his dog with him on many of his caching outings.  Several of Yrium's logs were written in the style I posted above, as if his dog had written them.  They were some of the best logs I'd read and always seemed to bring a smile to my face.

Unfortunately, Yrium passed away a couple of years ago after a battle with cancer.  Although I'd never met him face to face, we'd written emails back and forth, played fantasy baseball together, and so I felt like I knew a little about the man.  Every time I log a cache for Jack my dog, I try to write it in the style that Yrium used to write for his dog and then I dedicate the log to Yrium's memory.

This past month, my friend Craig and his other companion Sheila lost their third companion Gromit.  He's on the left in the second picture.  Gromit went way too early in either people or dog years.  He was a good companion and a good trail walker.  He will be surely missed.  This blog entry is respectfully dedicated in memory of Gromit.

Pictures were taken at the following geocaches:
Leaf Me Alone - by Whinger
Jumping to Conclusions - by Webfoot

Profile for Webfoot


Erika Jean said...

I can't believe that dog climbed a tree. I don't think I've ever seen that!

Webfoot said...

The tree is angled quite a bit, so it's more of a ramp as opposed to a straight up and down tree, but she just scrambled up there, following one of the cachers who was up there looking for the cache.

Renee said...

Lovely blog entry... My husband and I have 2 Miniature Schnauzers named Buzz and Woody - brothers in fact but from two different litters. They only weigh about 17 pounds each but will follow us to the ends of the earth when we are in the woods. I guess it all depends on the dog, not its size. They definitely seem to have the internal conversation similar to what you have posted "come on, come on... this way, oups, that way - Squirrel!!!! I wonder what this tastes like... IIIII loooove toooo ruuuuun!!!"