Duchess was adopted from an animal shelter. I knew immediately she was the right one. We went by maybe 50 canine cages, but she caught my eye, and I was not interested in meeting any other dog. She was about 6-7 months old. She was most likely abused and showed a little stress incontinence when men approached her. And she was so sweet.
The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs. Charles de Gaulle
Can she be a vegetarian? I never liked meat and my son decided not to eat meat for the love of animals. So, we attempted, but it did not work out. People who met Duchess know she ate like a royalty. Dog food was not her thing. She wanted to eat what we ate. I tried some vegetarian meals, but when during one of our morning runs I noticed a tail of some rodent sticking out of her mouth and then heard the crunchy sounds she made when eating that poor creature, I realized it will not work out. I was nauseated. So, I started to buy her steaks, organic chickens, salmons and sushi - oh, she loved sushi. I would even order steaks in restaurants for her.
“Ever consider what our dog must think of us? I mean, here we come back from grocery store with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth. Anne Tyler
My best hiking buddy
Our early trips were small hikes and we both were becoming gradually braver and braver and were reaching for higher summits. She was my running partner during my marathon years and was able to run 50-70 miles weekly. She mountain biked with me and she back country skied with me. She gave me bravery on my first trips to Colorado Mountains. I am not sure if I would be able to reach the summits without her. We spent many nights out alone, but we were not alone - we had each other.
Dogs are minor angels, and I don’t mean that facetiously. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy, etcetera. If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special. If they had ALL of them, we would call them angelic. But because it’s “only” a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more. However when you think about it, what are the things that we most like in another human being? Many times those qualities are seen in our dogs every single day - we’re just so used to them that we pay no attention.” Jonathan Carroll
The 14ers dog. Duchess had developed a reputation. She was a great scramble dog and summited 45 Colorado peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation (Mt. Sneffels was her favorite with 4 summits). Some 14ers I did not try to take her on, e.g. Capitol (she just camped with me below), some we were not allowed to go to, e.g. Long's Peak because of its location inside Rocky Mountain National Park and "no pets allowed" within national park boundary. Culebra Peak is located on private property and they also do not allow dogs. She loved reaching the summits. Duchess also summited many 13ers and lower peaks. She hiked canyon lands of Utah and deserts of New Mexico. She visited many states, from New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada (yes, she went to Vegas), California, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and Texas. She was even across the border in Mexico. She travelled well. A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won't be too bad. Robert Wagner
Little History: Dogs were the first thing humans domesticated - before any plant, before any other animal. The origin of domestication is not clear, some say up to 30,000 years ago. That is a long, long time ago…Some wonder whether we domesticated dogs, or whether they domesticated us. Some theories claim that early wolf like canines approached us first while they were scavenging around garbage on the edge of human settlements. The animals that were bold but aggressive would have been killed, and the animals that were bold and friendly would have been tolerated. And now our dogs came onto our sofas and beds, and some are obese and lazy, and suffer same conditions as humans do…
“Dog’s lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
The last trip - Shelf Road
Thank you for your comments on Duchess's last trip photo. I really appreciate it. Many of us have dogs and fear when the moment comes, but as long as we remember them waiting for us and being happy, we should believe we meet them again…
If interested in reading about domestication of dogs - click here
. And briefly they come from a sister branch of wolves, not directly from wolves.