Then The Man threw something on the ground a few feet in front of us. I looked where it fell, and... "HOLY CRAP!" I said. "There's a spaghetti monster sitting right next to where you were tapping your boot a second ago! Hang on, let me go check it out." The spaghetti monster was about as big around as a rope leash, and had a shakey thing on one end that made noise, and mean eyes on the other end. I knew from experience that this was called a "rattlesnake" from when Mom and I saw a bigger one
This morning Mom took me to a trail that I didn't recognize, and imagine my surprise when one of my professors was waiting for us! I was so excited to see her after all these years, and squeaked like a manly cowboy for Mom to let me off the leash so that I could go knock her over. As I got close, a dog stepped in my way and said, "Just who do you think you are, and what do you think you're going to do to my Mom?"
I'm not the one with leash aggression, that's Mom! Mom is the one that growls and snarls and gets all exasperated every time I stop to sniff something in detail and the sudden braking whips her around. She's the one that throws a temper tantrum and barks bloody murder when we chase a squirrel or a cat. I don't know why she can't just chill, so I usually ignore her while she's acting out and being unpleasant.
I was adopted, and it was the best thing that happened to both me and Mom, but mostly Mom. We want to repay our good luck by helping other strays find the same kind of love and security that we have. Mom is "allergic to children," so we can't bring any home, but there are other ways to help. Instead, I have committed to raise money for Mountain Circle Family Services, which runs programs so that the stray people puppies can learn leadership through fun adventures a lot like those that Mom and I enjoy together. Just like Mom loves me, keeps me safe, teaches me about the world, and takes me to explore, Mountain Circle provides the same kind of love to the people puppies until they find their forever home.
Who ever heard of a duel where the hero gets grounded by his Mom?! "No! Mom! I can't see him!" I barked, wriggling around to try to get free and wrenching my neck around to see if he was satisfactorily scared by my spastically assertive barking. If he pooped his pants in fear, I missed it. "I'm coming back for you!" I shouted over my shoulder as I struggled to get free. "I challenge you to a duel! Just as soon as Mom lets me..."
“I’m not worried about hikers. There are cats that hide in these trees. They jump down and before you know what’s happened, they've grabbed you by the head are dragging you into the bushes to eat you up.” “Oh! I love cats!” I said. “They are great fun to chase! I hope one drops on me.” “Not these cats…” Mom warned. Mom gets so scared of the silliest things.
“A lot of it goes through National and State Parks where they don’t allow dogs. That’s why we couldn’t go to Glacier or Yellowstone in Montana... or Yosemite, or Big Sur, or Olympic State Park, or Crater Lake, or lots of the other places that people recommended.” We both sighed when we thought about all the places that I can’t go just because I’m a dog and I poop in the bushes, bark at people, and chase bunnies. It really doesn't seem fair, because Mom does all those things except chase bunnies. "Anyway, it gets really hot in some of those places and you have to hike in the middle of the day. You probably wouldn’t like it,” Mom said. Then she pointed at an old dead tree that had its butt sticking up in the air. “Look! That tree looks like an octopus’s cloaca! Go stand on it so I can take a picture.”
The trail turned out to be an easy 7-mile flat route that followed a happy river through the pine trees to a waterfall. “Isn’t this great, Mom?” I said. “No dirt roads to get here, no mountains to climb, no big trees blown over the trail, no dog-boiling weather... Just a nice, easy run through the pine trees.”
The thing that had turned Mom into a a cream puff was that there was a perfect waterfall falling from right above our heads. It was small enough that its roar wasn’t scary and you could look at it all at once, and it spit a mist into the air that made the air sparkle. All around the waterfall were shiny rocks with bright green furry moss decorating them, and next to the big waterfall were smaller blue ice waterfalls. On the ground there were giant chunks of ice that were perfectly clear and looked like soccer-ball-sized diamonds. We were in a fairy land for tough people, like that elf city in Lord of the Rings (obviously, I’m Legolas and Mom is Gimli).