There’s not much we enjoy more in the summer than a day on the river. Whether we’re taking the boat out or just going wade fishing, it’s a way for us to leave behind all the thoughts of work, bills, meetings, appointments etc. One of my favorite feelings is the one I get when I push off from shore and jump into the rowers seat. Another, is when I lock the car – armed with whatever gear I need – and walk away, not knowing exactly what to expect in the near future…besides some water, and adventure. I know that our dogs feel the same way at points in their life. They love adventures, new trails, exploring, and most of all being outside, off leash – free to roam.
Tuckerman, our 95 lb. shepherd, is always on duty. He often cruises ahead, clearing our path, keeping an eye on us. In his mind, he has a job to survey the scene, and make sure everyone is accounted for. He often seeks high ground so that he can be on lookout. Yaz, our 60lb. Alaskan Husky is another story. She’s ready for trouble… She’ll chase anything – as far as she can. I once lost her overnight. She catches moles, birds, whatever she can. Unlike Tuckerman, who’s always close by, keeping tabs on us, we have to watch Yaz and make sure she doesn’t disappear into the wilderness. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but I know she’s happiest when she’s on the loose, hunting, and has that ‘wild dog’ look in her eye. They make a good pair – at the end of the day they’re both dirty, tired, worn out, ready for dinner and a long nap. These are their favorite days.
Yaz is 9 – and over the years her right eye (which has very lightly pigmented skin around it) started to become more and more irritated when she was in the sun. It would become noticeably sunburned…leaving me with a few options. No more bringing her along on her favorite missions, or bringing her and knowing that she’d have to suffer the consequences. There were some sun protection products for dogs but they wouldn’t stay on for extended periods of time, and they affected her range of view. I decided to make her some sun goggles so that we could still go romp around outside all day – and not get sunburn. Although she’s unaware that her all day adventures in the sun could have been over, I did, and it’s great to see her cruising the riverbank in Rex Specs.
Tuckerman also wears Rex Specs – but for a different reason. German Shepherds often suffer from a condition called Pannus, or chronic superficial keratitis. It’s an eye disease, and in severe cases can cause blindness. Ultraviolet light can be the genesis of the condition – so he had the option of staying home during the sunniest of days, or to wear the goggles. He chooses the goggles. This makes him look and feel like he’s really doing a good job while ‘on duty’ watching us fish. It also helps keep him from getting too many UV rays throughout the day.
So, as much as we LOVE to push off from shore, or walk away from the car – it just wouldn’t be the same without our best friends Yaz and Tucky by our sides. The truth is, we get just as much enjoyment watching them in their element as we get from our own adventures.