End of season

I looked at Mom's weird boxy body that's flat in all the places where humans are sometimes curvy, and then I looked at my sleek, athletic frame that was black, but not blobby at all. "Well I don't have any boobies, and neither do you," I said. "And if one of us is going to chase contaminated critters, it should be the one of us that is up to date on his flea meds, don't you think?"

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My Mountains

Well... mostly to ourselves. We were running through the skirt of the mountain, where the boulders and bushes fight to see who can win the trail, when I came around the corner and saw a turtle-person right in front of me. "What are you doing here? Let me see your early morning permit!" I barked. She looked suitably scared of me, so when Mom called my name, I figured it was okay to leave the turtle-person, go get Mom and show her.

The Pooch finds a role model

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?" 

Dog therapy

“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.

Mountain taxonomy

Finally Mom had had it. The trail was under a long stretch of white dirt, and we were practically within view of the top. “This trail may be covered in snow, but there is plenty of open ground if we make our own path,” Mom said. "Let’s see how high up we can get if we go straight up.” I was proud of Mom. I always explore the mountain outside the trail on our adventures, but she’s usually less curious. The West is a land with a history of explorers who had to break their own trail.

Danger!

“Now that I’ve got 1,000 ticks on me, it’s not like another 1,000 is going to make a difference. Let’s keep exploring.”

Oscar the tourguide

The best way to cheer is to stand by the side of the road, and then sprint out onto the course when you see your dad run by. That way you can bark at the top of your lungs how proud you are of him, and you can also clothesline a few other runners with your leash. If you do a good job they will trip and die, and your dad will be more likely to win. That's called being supportive.

A western execution, foiled

Usually she’s stiff and ungainly as a water buffalo with bad self esteem when she runs, but now she looked a little less plodding. Not graceful, but kind of like a shopping cart with a wonky wheel rolling down a hill, which meant she was having fun too.

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