Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, New Goal

My ultimate goal with Rubi has never been to achieve titles or win approval. Our biggest goal has always been to help Rubi live the fullest life she is able with her given limitations. B spent the first five years of her life limited to a house and/or a yard, and I promised when I signed her papers that this would not be the case for the next ten years. With that in mind, we've got a new goal that promises to be as challenging as any title we could hope for.

Every year or so since my early teens, my dad and I have gone wilderness camping "up north." We usually end up in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, although we prefer to go into Canada whenever possible. This isn't drive to a single camp site and roast marsh mellows with communal showers fifty feet away camping. This is canoe and portage ten miles every day, dig your own latrine, hide your food from the bears, don't shower for a week camping. Why would anyone want to do this?
Picture from our last trip into Canada.

Because it's freaking awesome, that's why. There might not be any running water (my least favorite part), but there's also no cars, no cell phones, no boss telling us what to do - nothing but peace and quiet and the beauty of nature.

My dad: he looks like he belongs in the woods, doesn't he?

This year, we've decided to do something different. Instead of canoeing, we've decided to backpack the Border Route Trail that runs between Minnesota and Canada. This means that for the first year, it's actually feasible to bring along a dog.

Or two.

I've decided to bring both Piper Ann and Rubi. I want to bring two dogs because we're looking to go during early May - this means it will be cold. I don't have room for an extra dog in my sleeping bag, so two dogs will hopefully be better able to conserve body heat at night than just one. Piper Ann gets to go by virtue of being the Good One. Rubi gets to go because, my god, can you imagine how much fun she'd have?

This trip promises to be as much work as any title or training adventure we've yet had. Rubi will need to learn to behave while walking with another dog, retain her house manners while outside, and how to sleep in a tent, among other things I'm sure I haven't even thought of yet. Plus, there are barriers that have nothing to do with training. There's still a slim chance that we may do a canoe trip instead of a hiking trip, which will mean that I won't be able to bring the girls. Rubi and Piper Ann will need clearance from the vet not only for hiking but also to carry packs of their own. Between Piper's knees and B's shoulders, this is a serious obstacle. And then there's the money for permits, gear, and food. Oh, and I'll have to switch their diets, because I am not backpacking raw meat into the BWCA.

Still, if we can make it work, guaranteed it will be a trip to remember.


  1. I love it! My best friend and I took my mom and dad's dog Ebony on a one-night winter camping excursion (we snowshoed in to the site). She hated us I think, but man is it nice to have the extra warm body laying on top of you!