A friend of mine runs a dog hiking business. At one point in time she also did dog sitting and maybe still does, but the hiking is the really cool part. I mean isn’t that cool? She hikes packs of dogs (I’m talking about 8 dogs every day!) Monday through Friday on different trails all over the valley. I saw some pictures she’d posted on Facebook one day and asked her if she ever hiked smaller dogs. Her reply was that she hikes small dogs all the time and they love it. Of course they love it; they get to explore and hike off leash with a bunch of their buddies!
So anyway, we started chatting about Jack and she said she would love to take him on a hike and see how he does. And you know how he did? He did freaking awesome! Rob told me to try not to “shoot anxiety out my forehead” when she was on her way over. Which I didn’t really think was very nice, but it’s true and funny, so I said I’d do my best. I pretty much instantly felt calm when she came in though. She’s been doing this for years and has worked with a few dogs with similar issues, so I trust her 100%.
They saw a few other hikers on the trail and Aimee simply told them that Jack was still learning and to not reach down (sudden movements towards him or reaching down when he hasn’t warmed up to you have been triggers for him in the past). The results? “He was a rockstar.” Those were her words, hence the quotation marks.
Jack is now hiking three days a week and loving it. He is beyond exhausted when he gets home, but I honestly see a mellowing in him and feel really hopeful that he’ll continue to progress. He’s already come so far, and this is just one more step in the right direction. One day when I feel he’s ready, we may just take on another dog so he can have a buddy. We may, I reiterate. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.