I have learned that some people don’t see me as a typical dog owner. I’ve done some embarrassing things in the name of adventure and what I see to be responsible dog ownership. I’ve made some mistakes (most of them involving dog poop). I go above and beyond so that my small dogs can enjoy hiking trails just as much as the big dogs. I’m hyper-vigilant about their care and am pretty sure some would see the amount of money I spend on Chester and Gretel as obscene. I dote on my dogs as if they were children (although I DO know they are really dogs).
Some of you will read my confessional and say “Me too”. Some of you will laugh at me instead of with me for being so “over the top” when it comes to caring for my dogs. Some of you will just think some of these things are gross. There is one thing some of you might even be mad at me for. That’s ok.
Things I’m Not Ashamed to Admit
- I’ve eaten jerky treats meant for dogs. Once I did it out of curiosity. Another time I did it on the trail because I was hangry. It was the natural kind – just dried, cured meat – and didn’t have any sodium. That’s what it tasted like too – plain ol’ dried meat chunks.
- I put a doggy sports drink mix in my dog’s water when we hike. When Chester and Gretel get amped up on the trail they are more interested in checking out the chipmunks than drinking water. They need to stay hydrated so I put Animal Naturals K9 GoDog (affiliate link) mix to add enticing flavor, electrolytes, and carbs. I really does make them go with more gusto.
- I’ve pushed Gretel in a stroller on a hiking trail. Gretel injured her back and wasn’t allowed to hike for a while. The poor girl was going through withdrawals I think so I put her in a stroller made for dogs so I could take her into the woods. I picked what I thought was a flat park trail but it turned out to be really steep in some areas. I pushed Gretel up and over hills and roots for only 20 minutes until it got to hard to wrangle. I got weird looks but I tried not to let them bother me.
- I bought a $65 high performance outdoor blanket for each dog . Yep, that’s right. No flimsy fleece blanket will do for Chester and Gretel. Little dogs with minimal hair get cold out in the elements so they need something to keep them warm when they are not moving. Their RUMPL blankets (affiliate link) are made with Ripstop Nylon, synthetic down fill, and have a water repellent finish. My excuse for buying such a high-end blanket is that it packs down smaller so it fits in my pack better and might be slightly lighter than a fleece blanket. The reality is that I want Chester and Gretel to look cool when lounging around on rest breaks and at camp.
- My hiking backpack is at least 5 lbs heavier because of my dogs . Chester and Gretel are small and have long, fragile backs so they can’t wear a doggy backpack and carry their own stuff. I schlep their dog food, water, food , and gear into the backcountry every time we go hiking.
- I secretly revel in the attention I get because my dogs are so fit . I am proud of the fact that Chester and Gretel aren’t fat. Every time I take them to the vet, I’m told how wonderful and rare it is to see a Dachshund that’s a healthy weight. I’ve had people on the street and trail ask me what type of dogs Chester and Gretel were. They didn’t recognize they were Dachshunds because they are used to seeing ones that look like plump sausages. I beam inside every time.
- If I had to choose between hiking with my dogs or a human, I would pick my dogs every time. I would even choose hiking with them over my husband. I think he knows it too.
…and The Ones About Poop
- I’ve been “that guy” and left a full poop bag on the side of a trail… ONCE. I’ve been hiking with my dogs for 13 years. I always pick up my dog’s poop and carry it out. Except for that one time I didn’t. My hike was long and it was just starting. I picked up the poop and set the bag by the trail where I would see it on the way out. Well, I didn’t. I went back to look for it and couldn’t find where I put it. I had to just go. I seriously lost sleep over this. It was three years ago and I still think about it sometimes and feel bad. Bad etiquette and being a water quality specialist and knowing the dangers feels hyprocrytical (because I also get mad when I see bags left on the side of the trail). I pretend that someone just picked it up for me but it’s probably just sitting there…. still… forever… in my mind anyway. Ha, ha.
- I left a used poop bag in my hubby’s car! My hubby came home one day and exclaimed that he found a bag of dog poop under the front seat. I had borrowed his car, tucked a full poop bag under the seat until the next available trash can, and forgot about it. There it sat. For like a week. The funny thing was, we had recently loaned the car to my step Mom and she said, “I thought the car just stunk like dirty boy” when we told her a poop bag had been riding in the car with her.
- I left a full poop bag in my purse… and discovered it during lunch with a friend! I used to have a designated Dog Mom purse that I used only when I was walking the dogs. I am so often going places and doing things with the dogs that it became my regular purse by default. This awesome purse has a ton of pockets, including a discreet pocket on the front flap that I sometimes tuck a full poo bag into until I get to the next garbage can. One time (ok… who am I kidding? It’s happened more than once.) I was sitting there with a friend at lunch and caught a whiff of “dooty”. There I was, in a restaurant smelling poo and hoping no one else could, with no appropriate garbage can in sight (there wasn’t even one outside of the restaurant door).
- How about you? What are your dog Mom confessions?