The Dogs on the Bus

Golden retriever Orly runs through a snowy meadow
Orly loves to run and play in the snow!

If you haven’t seen this story yet, you’re definitely missing out.

I thought Orly’s dog hiker was doing well to manage her minivan filled with dogs of all sizes and shapes (though some days a disproportionate number seem to be golden-retriever-sized and -shaped…). But this Alaska dog hiker is impressive. (Check out the TikTok video.)

The dogs have assigned seats! And wear seatbelts!!

I love the ones who are all dressed in their coats, waiting for the bus …

Dog hiking is a much bigger Thing than I ever guessed.

Orly goes two or three times a week, depending on everyone’s schedules. I stay home and work to pay for her expensive hobby.

She gets picked up, greets her friends, and settles into the van. After all the dogs are on board, the pack goes for a nice long hike out in the woods. In the spring and fall, there was often the opportunity for a mud bath (and Orly is not one to pass up such a stellar opportunity). Winter seems a little cleaner.

Many, many treats are involved.

Golden retriever Orly rests her head on a small pillow whose pillowcase has drawings of cartoon dogsThe dogs hike off leash, with frequent check-ins (snack breaks). They race around chasing each other through the woods. It’s a pretty good life for a dog.

She shows up back home a few hours later and often heads to the bedroom for a nap. (Her newest trick? She likes to nap on my pillow.)

Orly’s pack includes some of the other dogs of the neighborhood, so their hiking friendships extend to occasional play dates.

Very much unlike Jana or Cali, Orly is a dog who really loves and needs to play with other dogs. Often. And very much like both of them at the same age, she has boundless energy. I alone cannot offer her enough exercise and stimulation to tire her out. I am not sure that any human can do that for an adolescent golden retriever. Hiking gives her what she needs. Well, some of what she needs. Two hikes per day, seven days per week might come close to tiring her out … maybe.

 

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