Friday, August 6, 2010

A Tribute to a Great Hiking Partner

Good friends are a true treasure and very hard to come by.  For me a good friend needs to be loyal, honest, and trust worthy.  They must be these things when I am at my worst and of course when I am at my best.  Recently I lost one of the best hiking and fishing partners I have had the pleasure to "wander" with.  My good friend "Rosie" passed away surrounded by love in the home she knew, and I write this as a tribute to a great dog.
Rosie playing with a rock on the Bay of Fundy Shore at Telegraph Brook

For many of the columns I have written, I have written over 80 now, she was often by my side when I felt inspired.  She knew when to speak and when to stand quietly and simply take it all in.  In her prime she was full of energy and often prompted me to get my butt off the couch and go for a hike.  As she got older she simply went because she knew I needed a hiking partner, and as she got older still she went out of loyalty and tradition.

Rosie was a dark brindle, boxer-pitbull cross, and was the runt of her litter.  Being the runt only meant she was feisty and energetic.  These traits caused me more than a few headaches as I house trained her.  As a young puppy she would tag along on fishing trips, and on one such trip I almost lost her.  She got swept away in the Smith Creek while we were fishing.  She was trying to get to me in the middle of the river where I was standing in my waders.  She was not strong enough at this point to swim against the strong current and was swept down to a turn and under some overhanging vegetation.  When I finally pulled her out she looked like a drowned cat, and it took a long time before she ever stepped in the water again.

All dogs love to chase and chew on things.  Rosie's item of choice was often large rocks and if someone was to toss a rock into the tall grass, she would sniff around until she found it and then bark at it until she could find away to get it in her mouth and bring it back.  On one occasion she chased a stone a young boy had thrown over the Bluff.  She bounded down over the face and in about 10-15 minutes time came back with the same stone the boy had thrown.  Watching her go over the face of the Bluff just about gave me a heart attack as she was not usually one to enjoy rock scrambling or heights.  In fact, I had to carry her down a ravine one time in Arnold's Hollow as she wouldn't come when I called.

There are so many memories made through her 14years that I could never list them all.  Some of them are good, some, well, not so good, but isn't that the way it is even with humans you love.  I think sometimes we lose our ability to love unconditionally but Rosie never did.  No matter how far I travelled, or for how long, when I came back she would always meet me at the top of the stairs waiting to stretch her front legs up to my shoulders and give me a big kiss.  I'll miss you Rose…but I'll see you in the woods and on the trails.
Rosie as a one year old puppy.
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