May 20 2009 by Casey Bower
If you're like me, you can't wait to get home from work, and you can't wait for the weekends. It's not that I hate my job; it's that I love my dog.
I have a big happy golden retriever. He sits at home and waits for me all day while I work, and every day when I come home, I see his face in the window. He runs in circles for about 5 minutes moaning and saying his hellos as his whole body wags from side to side. Trust me; it's a pretty great welcome home after a hard day.
Needless to say, when the weekend rolls around, it's play back time. We take runs, hang out at the dog park, and he comes along in the car everywhere we go. On Fridays, he is extra happy to see me and on Monday morning, he hangs his head and sits by the door. There is no doubt in my mind that he understands the weekly work cycle, but, weekends belong to him, and I plan accordingly.
"Z," which is his name, has a favorite weekend activity. He lives for the weekends where we pack up the car and hit the road. He loves cars, hotels, and travel. When he sees me packing, he paces back and forth at the door. He makes sure that I know that he is there and will usually bring me his leash if he thinks that there is a chance that I might have forgotten.
In the car he has his standard position which is directly behind my seat with his tongue sideways and gums flapping in the wind. As we speed down the highway I like to check my rear view mirror from time to time just to see the huge grin on his face. We always make sure to call ahead and find a hotel that will accommodate us both.
When we get there he comes in for check in and sits by my side. There is something about the hustle and bustle of the lobby and halls combined with his ancestral need to be a people pleaser that turns this into a game for him. He would stay in that lobby until we left the hotel if I let him. Z makes eye contact with every passerby, waits until they are just about to pass and then wags his tail a little and shifts around so that they will notice him. It gets them every time. They can't help but stop and pet him, complementing him on his good behavior.
After Z feels that he has gotten the attention that he deserves, i.e. when there are no more people left to pull this stunt on, we head to the room, get some sleep, and then it is off for adventure.
A couple of notable recent adventures include:
This adventure included a disc sled, a rope, some friends and Z. He pulled the sled, rode the sled and chased the sled all day long. Dogs, sleds and snow = great fun! In addition to that, Flagstaff might be the most dog friendly city on earth in my opinion.
We stayed at a great Best Western near Mt. Lemmon. We spent the day exploring the ski town located at the top of the mountain (Yes, Tucson has skiing!) and hiking in the amazing pine forest. This trip was memorable for two reasons. First, Z found a canyon where his bark would echo and spent about an hour yelling at himself. Second, the hotel staff made a special point of remembering Z's name and they were practically lining up to say their goodbyes to him (I'm sure this made it memorable to him).
Next up on our list, Dog Beach, CA... A leashless beach where waves aren't just for surfers, I'm pretty sure this is a dog paradise. I think that Z is building it up in his head like I do with Hawaii. I just hope that it delivers.