To Take the Dogs or Leave Them with a Friend

The hardest decision we had to make regarding this journey is whether to take the dogs, Darby and Shadow, or leave them with a friend. Dogs are not allowed on trails in the national parks but are allowed on trails in national forests and state parks. Since most of our trip plans involved seeing the national parks, the gems of nature, this is a tough decision.

We love our dogs and they add a lot of joy to our daily lives. No one greets me when I come home the way the dogs do. Every day, they wake up happy and excited to live another day and in doing so, remind me to be joyful of simply being alive. They watch over and protect us and our house with their warning barks with such sincere responsibility for their craft. They ask very little, a pat on the head, a bowl of the same food day after day and a warm place to sleep. They add to our lives in a very positive way.

Yet, our trip will be dramatically changed with the dogs along. We’ll have to kennel them if we will be gone for more than 10 hours hiking, which is highly likely on some of the longer trails. All parks don’t have kennels so finding one and driving to it will be necessity. When we go walking, they’ll need to be on a leash, which they’ve never been on before. It’s just a different trip with them then without.

At the same time, I’d be heart-broken if we left them behind. Timm is a little more accepting of leaving them with a friend because he’s envisioned this trip and dreamed about it for about 10 years. In the end, we decided to take them with us and just have a back up plan for them in case it really doesn’t work out. They’re going and we intend to enjoy the trip with them along, despite the fact that it will be modified to accommodate them. Too bad national parks don’t allow dogs on the trails. Ah well, you can’t have everything your own way! We’re grateful we can go at all so who are we to wish for even more?

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