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Hiking With Dogs Adds More Joy To Adventure

Tom Malone/Adventure Tribune
Hiking with dogs brings an additional sense of joy and camaraderie to every adventure, though I can’t quite decipher the reasoning behind that added sense of elation. And I know I’m not the only one; I can’t think of the last outdoor adventure I embarked on where I didn’t see someone with a dog.

In the United States 44 percent of all households claim at least one of the country’s 78 million pet dogs, according to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Plenty of those households hike often, and many bring their dogs as equal hiking companions.

I have two dogs: an Australian Shepherd and a Heeler/Lab mix. My dogs possess polarizing personalities; one enjoys people and lounging, while the other only like fetch and sprinting. Naturally, though, they both enjoy hiking.

When I pull my car into its parking spot (marked or unmarked) at a trailhead in the Rocky Mountains, my dogs seem to sense that they have an opportunity to roam free in nature. When they exit the car and scout the upcoming trail, their tails begin to wag, their ears perk up, and their noses dance.

In this moment, I immediately feel appreciation for being in nature. Though I normally feel bold and adventurous as a I begin a hike, I tend to focus more on the mission than the scenery I’m surrounded by; however, seeing my dogs’ excitement as they embark on a hike gives me a more optimistic, exploratory attitude about the hike ahead. They use all five senses to hike, which encourages me to appreciate the smells of the trees, the taste of the air, and the feeling of the dirt.

When I reach a difficult passage, I find courage in seeing my dogs leap and bound from rock to boulder to safety. I find a bond when my dogs and I stop for water breaks and snacks in the middle of the trail.

When we return home, I revel in the fact that we experienced an adventure together. They sprawl on the floor and take naps, while I stretch out on the couch and do the same.
Do you have a favorite place to adventure with your dog? Share your stories with The Adventure Tribune!

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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