It’s great fun to see dogs out hiking the Arizona trails with their people friends. Whether large or small, one thing they all have in common is a great big doggy smile; they all seem to love being out in the desert.
Most of the dogs we meet are family pets and have the usual background story. Every now and then, though, we meet a special dog, like Josie.
Evidently there are packs of dogs roaming wild in the parks. They have either gotten lost or have been taken to the desert and abandoned by people who no longer want them. It is natural for dogs to form packs, and that’s what these solitary dogs do. Josie had been a pack dog, but had been injured, become infected, and was near death when a ranger came upon her and carried her out. Her owner, a friend of the ranger, quickly volunteered to adopt Josie. Friendly and affectionate, it seems that Josie knows what a lucky dog she is. “She’s the best dog I’ve ever known,” says her owner, who feels pretty lucky too.
Sometimes we see pack dogs of a different type, and these I don’t photograph. These dogs ride in a pack on their owners’ backs or chests. Somehow, cute as they are, they just don’t belong in a group called “Hiking Dogs.”
I began photographing dogs on the trail a year or so ago, and at the beginning I didn’t keep track of where we were or what the dogs’ names were. I’ve tried to be more careful about that recently, but sadly, some of the dogs I’ve captured are unidentified. Here’s a web album where you will find some more portraits of hiking dogs – select ‘slide show’, F11 for full screen (I’ll continue adding photos as I take them on future hikes, so check back again sometime).
Most of the people we encounter with their pets are delighted to be photographed, and almost to a one they tell their dogs, “You’re going to be famous!” when I explain the project is for a blog. Well, the dogs will never know that’s not true, will they!