Originally published on September 19, 2019 for Dyrt Magazine.
It’s a beautiful sunny day. Blue sky above and green trees line a dirt path. Your dog bounds down the trail, turning back just before she would slip out of sight along the horizon with a dopey, tongue out grin.
Almost every outdoorsy person and dog lover has a version of this romantic vision. Bringing your dog on an outdoor adventure can add a lot of joy to the experience. And dogs can also be vital assets. They can find the best route up a sketchy scramble or the calmest area for a river crossing. Relying on their instincts is sometimes better and more helpful than your knowledge.
But the reality of owning a dog can be very different for people who love a variety of outdoor activities. Adding a dog to your outdoor routine comes with many challenges. Suddenly the places you can explore are limited, the weight you have to carry in food and water has increased, and you have to re-learn the dangers of the outdoors for your four-legged hiking partner.
I spoke to seven outdoorsy dog parents about the joys and struggles of bringing a pet into the wilderness.
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