by guest blogger Oreo the dog
Hi, fans! I haven’t met many of you in person, but my mom says you exist. She also told me that you’d like to hear from me, so here I am, writing this blog about the gear I need to have a great outdoor adventure with my family. Honestly I think she’s just trying to get me to do her work for her, but that’s OK.
Hold on. I think I just saw a squirrel.
Yep. It was a squirrel. I barked at it, hit my nose on the window, and it ran away. Now there’s snot all over the window. Don’t tell anybody, but I do that at least 10 times a day. Someone has to keep the squirrels in the woods and away from the house.
So here it is — before I spot another squirrel and lose my train of thought — 11 items dogs might need when adventuring in the wilderness:
My friend Notch (he’s a black Lab) got Giardia the other day. Do you know what Giardia is? It’s a disease you can get from drinking out of streams and puddles. Another name for it is beaver fever. It makes your stomach hurt and well, mom says I shouldn’t explain the symptoms too much or I’ll gross you out. Notch had to take medicine for weeks! Anyway, that’s why mom brings me fresh water on hikes.
2. A bowl
My mom forgot my bowl once and had to feed me water out of her cupped hands. It was funny and it didn’t really work. She wasted a lot of water. My bowl is pretty cool, though. It’s blue and squishy and made by Guyot Designs out of Deer Isle. And because it’s squishy, if I don’t drink all my water, she can pinch one side of it and easily pour the water back into my water bottle. She marks my bottle so she doesn’t get it mixed up with hers.
My mom and dad like to stop and have snacks when we hike, and a lot of times, their food is filled with chocolate and raisins and other stuff that’d make me sick. So they bring my treats and they use them to reward me when I walk well on the leash, too!
4. Waste bags
There’s something about walking that makes you have to go poo… Never mind. Mom is glaring over my shoulder. She seems to think I’ll gross you out again. Just bring a couple of plastic bags for you-know-what. And trust me, it’s not usually a one-and-done deal.
5. Dog-friendly insect repellent
During the spring and summer, I get black fly bites all over my stomach if mom doesn’t cover me with insect repellent. I don’t like it very much. It makes me smell like a spice cabinet. I try to lick it off, but that doesn’t work very well. It does seem to keep away the flies, though. Mom says it’s dog-friendly Skeeter Skidaddler, and it’s made by a Maine company called Trembling Leaf.
6. A jacket or two
My fur is pretty short compared to some other dogs I’ve seen, so I’ve got to wear jackets sometimes to keep me warm. I also have a blaze orange jacket so I stay visible during hunting season in the fall, and I have a life jacket for my trips in the canoe!
7. Athletic tape
I don’t get hurt very often when I’m hiking, but when I do, it’s usually a cut on my foot. In Maine, there are a lot of sharp rocks and in the winter, the ice can be sharp, too. If I get a cut, mom and dad just wrap it with athletic tape so it doesn’t hurt me and bleed all the way back to the trailhead.
8. Foot wax
In the winter, sometimes my family covers my paws with this wax called Musher’s Secret to help protect them from the cold and crusty snow. The wax helps keep me warm, too. Bag Balm is also good for my feet.
9. A collar with bling
I’m pretty much always on the leash. Mom and dad rarely let me run free, but if they do, I have a collar with a tag on it with their phone numbers, just in case I get lost. I’m so cute that if someone found me collarless, they might be tempted to keep me for their own. Don’t you think?
10. A leash
When we go exploring away from home, I almost always have to be on a leash. I don’t really like it, but it seems to be important, so I deal with it. Mom says that there are rules that require me to be on leash. Sometimes there are even rules that require the leash to be no longer than 6 feet long. I have a lot of leashes.
11. Emergency plan
This is kind of embarrassing but I’ve been quilled by porcupines two times. All I did was sniff them, and they stuck me with a bunch of tiny spines. Mom held me in her lap as dad drove us to the emergency veterinary clinic, where they put me to sleep and took the quills out of my nose. I was pretty sad about it, but Mom says that stuff like that happens, and that’s why they look up the nearest veterinary clinic to the place where we’re adventuring. Better to be safe than sorry.
OK. That’s all I got. But according to Mom, I’m a super star, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of me. Right now I have to go to sleep, though. Mom made me do two photo shoots today for this blog, and my stomach is full of treats.