A black poodle and 2 goldens run through a field of purple flowers
Maisy, Cali, and Orly love visiting Packer Meadow. Here, they enjoy the spring camas flowers.

I love watching happy dogs running free. Letting her run and run and run is also the only way I can get Orly tired enough that she calms down … for a very short while.

So, over the summer and fall, we’ve gone on lots of dog adventures to places where dogs can be off leash. This can be tricky, since many off-leash places around Missoula are wilderness and, you know, full of bears and coyote … and millions of acres where a dog could get lost.

In her youth, Cali had a tendency to wander off. She did not get many off-leash hikes.

I did a better job of teaching Orly to come back when called (or, more likely, just got lucky). She comes instantly, collects her high-value special hiking treat, and zooms off to run circles around more trees.

That works out well. It means that I can send her out with her doggy hiking group a few times a week. It also means I can take nice hikes with both girls. Cali is now old enough that she doesn’t wander far, and Orly regularly checks in and demands a snack break. Cali has learned to check in and ask for snacks as well. Sometimes when she hasn’t even left my side.

Watching them run through the woods, splash in the river, or run huge circles in a meadow is beautiful. Their joy is contagious! (Until, of course, Orly finds a muddy ditch and decides on a soak …)

Golden retriever Orly runs through a snowy meadow
A late-fall trip to Packer Meadow gave the dogs a chance to play in SNOW!


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