His wound is still healing but the big dawg is doing well.
Fall is settling in here with night time temps in the low 30’s and high 40’s. After over three months of living happily in a tent we may just have to find a place with a roof.
So here we are. At the beginning. I have come to the decision not to continue the canoe trip down the Missouri river this paddling season.
The decision was easy.
Any type of long distance journey has inherent risks. Illness, injury, or disability that can conclude in death of a team member. I use risk evaluation constantly to minimize the potential of these things occuring.
You see this has been a two member team of one dog and one man. Has been that way for ten years. We have gone all over the USA. 99% Of the time it is to someplace remote, mountains, deserts but we really love going to places they call “Wilderness”
The large open wound that Zeusy is carrying in his chest will take time to heal. He is also showing signs of being easily fatigued from his injury.
It is not worth the risk.
A quick risk evalution shows he is at risk for further complications if the wound becomes infected. His fatigue shows that he is probably not capable of self rescue if we wind up in the water. The Missouri’s is wide with quick currents.
It is not worth the risk.
He is an important part of this human-dog team. He has been vital in his role. When going up river, stuck on large sandbars and hauling the canoe distances overland to the river he has been incredible. I hook his leash to my belt, I grab the canoe or it’s ropes and yell “Go! ” He is a powerful one hundred pound German Shepherd and pulls me easily as we both pull the canoe and gear.
His role as security, tent warmer, comedic relief and protector has been invaluable as well.
He has also been friend maker too! Charming Kendar and Marshal at James Kipp. Melissa on the Turnbull ranch was enthused by him. Shyanne, Josh and others produced huge smiles when the formal introductions were made and he raises his paw to shake their hands when the greeting of “Nice to meet you,” was spoken to a dog who likes meeting new people.
One of the funniest things said to me as he took off at lightning speed down river to chase waves was ” I think your dog is going to beat you back to St. Louis.”
So here we are. At the beginning. The last two months has been one of the most incredible experiences for both of us.
It has never been about point A to point B. It is everything in between those two points that make a journey. The points are just the start and the end.
“This is the end” your mind is saying. No not hardly, this is a travel blog. That is what we do. Travel and share it with you.
There is next paddle season to try and complete the Missouri. Plus the fact that we are still in North Dakota and I scored a job at Bayside Resort in Linton, ND for a few months. At least until we head to St. Louis and then the East Coast. Still many places, animals, people and things to experience.
Besides there is still a ton to share from the last few months.
I only will paddle two hours before he gets a break. If he has to go sooner he will look at the river bank and whine just enough to let me know. He then runs and dives in the water. He then finds me a stick to throw. Game on until it is time to go again.
He has loved the rivers since I first took him many moons ago.
So the big boy went and visited his Veterinarian Dr. Stacey Schaeffer of the St. Louis Veterinary Clinic located in South St.Louis City. As the weeks now have turned into days before our departure it was prudent that I have my partner as ready as I am.
I first met Dr. Stacey at the World Bird Sanctuary where she volunteers her time to care for sick and injured Birds of Prey in the wildlife hospital. I soon learned to pay close attention because I was going to learn faster performing as a wildlife rehabilitator by listening during her exams of the birds. I then put what she wanted for the birds into my brain as well as practice. Taking Zeusy to her veterinary practice in South St. Louis I knew I wouldn’t be let down .
Once in the clinic the exam began with the super amazing Page being the Vet. Tech who would handle Zeusy as Dr. Stacey performed her exam. I was concerned because I knew he was not going to tolerate being pushed, poked and prodded. He never does.
Before I or Zeusy knew what was happening super amazing Page had him muzzled and restrained in a hold worthy of any MMA victory. Zeusy would have tapped out if he could have. In 9+ years I have never seen the thrasher so held in one spot so safely. I am still impressed !
This allowed Dr. Stacey to perform her always thorough exam, while giving me the best advice for this upcoming trip. Everything from explosive diarrhea to snake bites was covered. Zeusy is my best pal so watching him get the best of care just swells my heart and makes me happy.
Have an animal and want to go to the best veterinary practice ? Call St. Louis Hills Veterinary Clinic and make an appointment. Everyone there are great animal people and your pet will be well taken care of !
And thanks Catamaran for making it happen.
We made it into the top 15 finalists for the “Live Your Kurgo Adventure.” We are elated ! Would you vote for us one more time? It is easy. Click on the link to our Kurgo profile and click the like button. Super simple. So vote for us one more time ! Thanks ! Zeusy would like to shake your paw!
Some thoughts on sponsorship………
Kurgo is sponsoring four different people, with four different dogs with their 2015 “Live your Kurgo Adventure” project. They have given these four different people with their four different dogs a fantastic opportunity to explore and complete their four different adventures. The plus side is they get the chance to photograph, video, and write for Kurgo so they can share this adventure with the World.
Sponsorship of adventures and exploration on our amazing planet has been occurring since man looked in the direction of terra incognita and has petitioned a more wealthy benefactor with a please and a thank you.
James Gordon Bennet jr, the wealthy heir of the New York Herald told his newspaper reporter Henry Morton Stanley to go find Livingstone on the African continent. Adventure for a news scoop, very common for the brash Bennet.
John Jacob Astor at one time the wealthiest man in the World sponsored an overland and naval expedition to what is now the Northwest United States to explore lands ripe with the furs so highly in demand in Asia and Europe. Astoria, Oregon is still named for him. A common gesture by adventurers to the financial backer of their enterprise. The expedition failed thanks to the war of 1812, but is an amazing story.
So why sponsor people and their dogs for an adventure? It makes sense actually. Only in the last century or more has the concept of cars, trucks, jeeps and airplanes as tools of adventure and exploration have come to be the norm. Before the horse became the beast of war and burden people traveled with their dogs. Indigenous people migrating with all their worldly goods packed on a travois that is strapped to their dog is well documented. Dogs are what pulls the sleds in colder hemispheres. Dogs got Amundsen the prize of the South Pole.
Some dogs are more well-known in the history of adventure and exploration. Seamus, Meriwether Lewis’s intrepid Newfoundland was the main dog of the Lewis and Clark expedition across America’s newly purchased territories from France. Robyn Davidson had her dog Diggity as she trekked across the deserts of Australia for over 1700 miles.
In today’s modern World the dog is still a daily part of life among their two footed friends. The lucky ones get to go explore the wilder places that seem to be a more natural fit for some dogs.
So Kurgo is giving four different people with their four different dogs an opportunity of a grand adventure. What a fantastic idea !
It doesn’t matter where he plants his paws, desert, mountains, rivers, or forests, he is happy. It starts when I am packing my backpack. The excitement really revs up when I bring out his. He knows we are going “To the Woods!” I better not say it aloud. His happiness will explode !
He came into my life 8 + years ago. When we first met he was 10 months old and weighed 83 pounds. But he was wrecked. He was emaciated, dehydrated, suffering from whipworm, and all his pads had been cut by a paranoid schizophrenic who claimed he and the overgrown puppy had been fighting the devil. He claims they won.
He came home with me, quickly loved by my kids, and given a lot of time to heal. In about a month he was putting on weight, the whipworms were gone, and he could walk on concrete without expressing his pain with very sad whinning.
This is the time he became the most obnoxious, undisciplined, rowdy, food stealing, do as I please problem. He was out of control !
He had no obedience training and did not even know how to go down steps. He proved very good at grabbing crystal Christmas tree balls and tossing them down the steps just to see them smash. I cringed everytime my five year old daughter would yell out, “Dad he did it again ! ” He was lucky it was her, because she adored him. In no time he reduced the ornaments to the top 1/4 of the tree.
Daily training ! Commands in German ! After all he was a German Shepherd. Trips to the park for more training, and throwing the tennis ball that he will chase forever. In no time he was shaping up to be more of a disciplined dog. What was so much fun is that he is fast, athletic, and powerful.
While all this was happening my marriage was in its death throws. Sad and depressed I would immerse myself into making this dog something. After hours in the park we would watch the sunset as I day dreamed of being in someplace wild, strapped into a backpack walking with my dog. I soon found out that he would repay me ten times over for every belly rub he suckered me into.
In no time we moved out. The marriage was over. Now it was time to change my life. But every obstacle that got in the way did. It is unbelievable when times get bad they get really bad.
He knew it, he protected me and made me smile. One evening as I laid in bed, I called for him to settle in to his bed. He stood fast in the adjoining room looking up and sounded off with a half bark, half howl. I found that strange. What was he looking up at ? I walked into the room as he looked me dead in the eyes then back up again. I had foolishly left a candle burning. I blew it out, and he walked directly to bed. I slept peacefully that night knowing he was there.
We always spent our time on walks and hikes. It was something we both craved. Sometimes I wished we would start walking and never stop. The hikes would take us to rivers where he became a water dog. He loves it ! We swam together and a stick would replace the ball as the best thing in the world to be thrown in the river and retrieved. That is after a leaping splash. We would climb the tall bluffs of the Mississippi river. Picking a line that would give him enough room to put all four paws on a ledge until he can be pushed , pulled or he would jump up to the next. He never hesitated. He never gets scared.
Backpacking, camping and hiking in the Mark Twain National Forest would bring us both joy. Sleeping together on the ground, or in a tent would give us enough rest to continue our foray in the woods. He is a four season dog. Some trips in below freezing temperatures, some in 100º or higher. Soon we were off to other places, deserts and mountains of New Mexico and Arizona to name a few.
He became a fantastic trail dog. Always leading the way, but only getting a certain distance before stopping and looking back until the distance is closed, and he knows we are in sight of each other. He will also run back and forth if his people are not in eye sight of each other. The herder in him wants a close orderly group.
He carries his own food in the saddle bag type packs I would strap him into. It never bothered him, or slowed him down. Recently he carried his own food for a six day trip into the Bell Mountain Wilderness. He leapt over downed trees and hopped onto rock formations just like a pup. The reality is he is 9 1/2 years old now.
He will be on guard at night. Always keeping one eye and one ear open. When the coyotes howl back and forth between ridges his ears pop to attention, head swinging to whichever one was vocalizing. Owls he could care less. A bear once visited our camp at 2am in Arizona. It came out of a tree line popping and huffing. He circled the tents not letting up on showing his displeasure at finding us in his forest. I was sitting up with one hand on the collar and one on the tent zipper. Not wanting a late night bear fight I whispered for him to stay. His body was tense, his ears erect, waiting for the signal. The bear moved on into the opposite tree line, we both relaxed and fell asleep but not before enjoying the cold mountain air and the beauty of the milkyway.
Our adventures would lead us into the beauty of National Forests, National Parks, National Monuments, and anywhere in the wild.
As long as we are outdoors, we are smiling and happy !
Love you Zeusy !