Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Letting Kory Roam

We took a short drive two weekends ago.
Further out the South Fork.
By the time we arrived at this place we had traveled beyond homes (including OUR home) and beyond small and then sprawling ranches, and were now inside the Shoshone National Forest.
Sections of SNF can be found throughout Park County.
This particular section was filled with steep and mostly barren hills, and was surrounded by tree filled and snow covered mountains.................

These pictures were taken about 20 miles from the house, and when I look at them I am reminded again of how beautiful of a place it is that we now call home.
Snow has come and gone for many months.
We moved into our home in July of last year, and by August we already had snow on the ground.
It melted quickly of course but remained in the mountains, and the past seven months have repeated that same snow-melt-remain in the mountains trifecta ever since.
It snowed very often this past winter but never ever really amounted to very much.
If this disappointing winter could be summed up in one sentence it would be "Too much wind, too little snow".........................
A beige world...........................
Aside from enjoying the silence of a beautiful place, this particular trip was notable for one other reason, and that was related to our dog.
She's a great dog.
But a head strong dog.
Translation - she listens well until the moment she doesn't.
Kory has always been head strong, very inquisitive and adventurous, and very athletic.
Even now at the age of 10, she is still a very fast runner.
The combination of those variables, combined with endless open lands that surrounded our home in ID (and that surround our home in WY), as well as the potential to encounter predators, has always scared us.
That Kory would get lost.
People lose dogs every single day here.
Every day.
Some are found and reunited with their people.
But a scary-large number are not.  
What ever happened to those dogs?
Nobody knows. 
They are never seen nor heard from again.
We worried that she would be lost, scared, alone, or that she would encounter a mountain lion, wolf or bear.
When we have ventured out into the true wild - far away from civilization, far away from landmarks that were familiar to our pup - LC and I have always kept her on leash.
On this day we didn't.
It was wide open ground.
Unfamiliar to our dog.
Bear country.
We were "out there".
Close to the mountains.
In sections of open land that Kory did not know.
We took a leap of faith and let her roam.
Letting her roam and yet also watching her like scared parents letting their kid go to the park with their little friend (and without adult supervision) for the first time.
She did fine of course........................
Me and Kory looking back at LC.....................
It was wonderful indeed how I could have heart-to-heart talks with my dogs and they always seemed to understand. Each question I asked was answered in their own doggish way.
Although they couldn’t talk in my terms, they had a language of their own that was easy to understand. Sometimes I would see the answer in their eyes, and again it would be in the friendly wagging of their tails. Other times I could hear the answer in a low whine or feel it in the soft caress of a warm flickering tongue. In some way, they would always answer.............Wilson Rawls, Where The Red Fern Grows

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