I’ve grown up a lot since a female hiking partner charged in 2006 that, “With your lifestyle you can’t even take care of a houseplant.” I was proud to be guilty as charged: I was 25 years-old and since college graduation 2.5 years earlier I had slept more nights on the ground than in a bed.
When my wife and I started dating in late-2010, however, I quickly realized that she was part of a package. I’d also have to win over her orange domestic shorthair, Oden, who true to the stereotype had an oversized role in the life of this single woman. Initially, Oden was as protective toward his and Amanda’s relationship as a German Shepherd, but I slowly bonded with him over treats, body heat, and shoulder blade massages while working from Amanda’s apartment on weekdays.
My full embrace since then of my role as a pet parent is still surprising to me, especially since as a kid I was a much bigger fan of our family dog, Sport, than our reclusive cat, Cocoa. Oden is just a cat, I sometimes try to convince myself. But, no, he’s much more than that to us. We ensure his quality of life, and in return he gives us unconditional love, albeit often in an elitist feline kind of way.
At least for now, our outdoor adventures with furry friends are limited to the backyard. But for pet parents who take their dogs on hikes and backpacking trips, the responsibilities are even greater. Dogs are less capable of anticipating risks or communicating their needs, and they have no ability to navigate, purify water, or develop a pre-trip training regimen.
This coming Tuesday I’m excited to join Petco in discussing the responsibilities of pet parenting, specifically in regards to summer outdoor adventures with dogs. From North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, we will be interviewing live via satellite with television and radio stations around the country. So, Mom, make sure to turn on the morning shows!
We will address topics like:
- Trip planning and preparation
- Hydration and nourishment
- Essential gear and supplies
- Risks and natural hazards
- Trail etiquette
The goal of this campaign is to offer practical and basic advice to help you and your dogs have safe and fun outdoor adventures together this summer. Get more details on my Facebook or Twitter feeds, or at www.petco.com/summer.