On the trail: Dog reigns again | AspenTimes.com

On the trail: Dog reigns again

The pitter-patter of little feet is back at the Condon house. Thankfully, it’s a dog instead of a baby.When our first dog died in July, a friend advised us not to rush or worry about the right time to adopt a new best friend.The wait was ungodly, even though it ended up being less than three months. I think I was suffering from mood swings, if not outright depression, from the lack of a canine companion. We decided we were going to begin searching for a puppy after my daughter’s 14th birthday, on Oct. 19. Instead, we got an e-mail from another friend urging us to check out a new arrival at the Aspen Animal Shelter.Ginger is a Katrina rescue dog. She was just 3 months old when plucked out of a bad situation in Mississippi or Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina struck. She landed in a shelter that a veterinarian established in Oxford, Miss. Although Ginger wasn’t in a bad situation, she was in a shelter instead of a home for the past two years. The vet picked out the dogs she felt had the best chance to be adopted and sent them to shelters around the country that were willing recipients. Three came to Aspen about three weeks ago. Ginger came highly recommended from our friend.Good advice. We bonded with our new collie-shepherd mix from the start. She was a bit timid and unsure of human behavior at first, but she has been a quick learner. Lots of walks and treats have helped.We received her official seal of approval last weekend, when we took her on a hiking and camping trip west of Fruita. We began with a five-mile hike, set up camp, then went for a long walk along a secluded stretch of Kokopelli’s Trail. We flushed out a couple of those big desert bunnies – the ones that look more like small kangaroos – and were awestruck by Ginger’s speed. She could run circles around my old dog (even if my old dog wasn’t dead). Thankfully, she stopped and returned before reaching the heart of Utah.Ginger dug the whole outdoor experience with a campfire and a starlight walk. She burrowed into our tent after her initial hesitancy to enter. A coyote’s early-morning howl put her momentarily on edge.When we topped off the outing Sunday with a 7.5-mile hike, Ginger was in doggie heaven. And so were we.Dogs rule.

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