Friday, June 9, 2023

Introducing Seneca Ray, our 3rd generation trail dog

I'd like to formally introduce Seneca Ray Serpico. She's a rescue with some trauma that we hope will become a wonderful trail dog. She's our first female dog and very dainty and gentle. Dainty and gentle as she may be, she has giant snowshoe sized trail paws and an inquisitive nature. And those eyebrows! Most importantly is her shepherds lantern (the white tip on a herding dogs tail), something I've grown accustomed to over the last 13 years motivating me to finish the hike even on days I'd rather turn around. 

Seneca's namesake was Seneca Ray Stoddard. Stoddard was a naturalist, cartographer, writer, poet, lecturer, and - most famously- a landscape photographer known for his images of the Adirondack Mountains. His works helped popularize the Adirondacks; America's first wilderness. Verplanck Colvin created the New York State Forest Preserve and Seneca Ray Stoddard help put it in the hearts and minds of America. 

Colvin, our 2nd generation trail dog, visited 37 states, spent hundreds of days in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine, but like his namesake Verplanck, the Adirondacks were where he spent most of his life exploring the wilderness. 

Seneca will be just as lucky to travel the Northeast and the US, but the Adirondacks will always be home base for adventures big and small.  

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Goodbye, Colvin...

I always dreaded this day. You were everything I ever wanted in a dog and so much more. Obedient, loyal, protective, endlessly patient, and the most trusting companion imaginable. 
I remember vividly when I didn't think you were trainable. Later on I doubted you'd ever be a good trail dog. You lived up to your namesake -Verplanck Colvin-surveying every corner of the Adirondacks and 38 states. 
You were so well trained -even things I didn't teach you- like waiting for your family at trail intersections. A puppy that couldn't swim, couldn't scramble and absolutely hated the wind and water, you ended up loving the mountains more than I ever thought possible. You were perfectly made to be out there, right down to your weatherproof coat. Anytime I took up a new activity you adapted to be the best X dog I could imagine. Trail dog, crag dog, canyoneering dog, paddling dog, swimming dog, mountain biking dog, traveling dog, and anything else I threw at you. 
There were days I didn't want to be out there that you made it fun for me. Your shepherds lantern got me up mountains when I wanted to just call it a day. I hated trips without you and I always appreciated how grateful you were for everything we did. You were so positive, you were "just" a dog but you made me laugh all the time. 
The thing I loved most, beyond you being my best adventure buddy, was how you just loved being close to us and how much you loved and trusted us. We loved you every bit as much. I'm grateful we found you 13 years ago and most grateful you chose to make me your person. I'll never forget the loyalty, appreciation and love you showed me and everyone else who's lives you touched.


Thursday, January 12, 2023

The End Is Near



Having to make the decision to euthanize your dog before it looks like they are truly ready to go is the hardest decision in the world. But as I think about it, Colvin has always lived for two things, me (and the rest of his family) and the trail. His trail days are officially done as of a week ago. Now it's hard to tell if his apparent desire to live and endure is just an extension of his overwhelming desire to work for me and please me. If it's not and he is still as happy and alive as he appears than I feel like I'm just killing him. But if he's suffering than it's time for him to stop thinking of me, and me to think of his needs first.