Most of our companion animals are happy to chase squirrels, watch birds, fetch balls, go for walks and cuddle on the couch. But, for some domestic pets adventure is a way of life. I’ve spoken to two dogs and a cat with adventurous jobs. Here are their stories direct from the source.
TUNA THE CAT
My name is Tuna. You may have guessed that I’m a cat. When I was little I was shy, skinny and sickly. That’s how I wound up in an animal shelter. I didn’t know it but I was only 3 days away from being euthanized. Then my soulmate Alexis Hinkley saw me. It was love at first sight. You see, we were a lot alike. Alexis can get very anxious and depressed at times. That is why she visited the shelter. I help her feel better. That is why I’m an official Emotional Support Animal.
Because I’m an ESA, Alexis and I can go on amazing adventures. We go hiking and camping and traveling to new and interesting places. I’ve been to 25 national parks and three countries. I have 65K followers. Not bad for a cat! I also help Alexis when she gets nervous or depressed. I know when she is feeling bad and curl up with her. I purr softly and she pets me. We both get a lot out of it. If you’d like to meet other adventure cats and maybe have a few adventures of your own, get your guardian to use that thing they talk into all the time and to go to www.adventurecats.org.”
HALO the Police Dog – National Night Out
“My name is Halo. I’m a Belgium Malinois. I am a deputy in the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Canine unit. Every day is a new adventure. I help catch bad guys who are selling something that my partner Kelly calls “dope”. I know what I’m doing is important because my partner, Kelly, tells me I’m a good dog. I love going to work, I get my own air-conditioned kennel in the back seat of the car. This is just for me.
Kelly drives me around all day – she is my chauffeur. Sometimes she gets to drive really fast. Although I do not like the sound of the siren (it hurt my ears), I do enjoy the lights. I can hear the lights. Humans can’t do that. When they turn on and I hear Kelly talk a lot on the radio, it usually means I am on my way to a job. I get so excited, that I feel like a puppy again. I start whining and sometimes it’s hard for Kelly to hear the dispatcher. When I get to the location, I jump out of my car and I am so excited that Kelly has a hard time putting on my leash. Sorry about that!
Then we are off on our adventure! I’m a highly trained scent detector. Sometimes the smell is so strong, I can see it. Why can’t my humans smell it? When Kelly says to me “find dope”, I know that it is time for me to do my job.
Once I smell the dope, I sit pretty or sometimes I lay down. Then the fun really begins, because I get rewarded by getting to play with my Kong. It is so much fun! I could play with it for hours. Kelly throws it, I chase it and then I get to chew on it while I bring it back to Kelly. I do this over and over again and I cannot wait until I get to find more. I have the bestest life ever!
The best part of working is how my partner treats me. Kelly talks to me all the time. She confides in me, sometimes telling me things that no one else can hear. Best of all she pats my head and tells me that I do a good job. She gives me kisses on my forehead too. I am useful AND loved. When I talk to my dog friends, sometimes they wish they were me!”
MEKA the Rescue Dog – Courtesy of Alpine Ski Rescue
“My name is Meka and I’m an Avalanche Rescue Dog in the mountains of Colorado. I work with Lori Spence at Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol. I’m a Labrador Retriever. My job is saving people who have been buried in the snow.
At 5:30 AM, I’m up and ready to go!. I don’t want to miss out on breakfast (yum) or going to work (whoopie!). Skiing or hiking, it doesn’t matter to me. I start with a downward dog (stretching is important). Then I run up to check on Lori to see if she is up. Hmmm, is it a work day? C’mon Lori, Wakey, Wakey!. Sweet, it is a work day!
I carpool with the ski patrollers and when we arrive I jump out of the car, and run up the stairs to the base of the chairlift with Lori. She moves slower going up the stairs so I wait near the sliding doors until she catches up. Then it is ‘game on’. It is time to go up the chairlift. She brings me my uniform vest and I hop on the chairlift and we ride up to the top of the mountain.
I get to hang with my K9 friends River, Moxie and Hatchet. We are ‘lucky dogs’, the only dogs allowed on the hill. Some days I get out for surprise drills looking for people under the snow. It is usually just practice but I am always ready to be deployed. I love the game ‘search’ looking for someone in the snow. My nose is a million times better than humans and I put my nose in the air to determine what direction to start and sniff, this tells me which way to go and where to dig. I wag my tail as I am pinpointing the person. As I get closer I wag it faster and this tells Lori to come on over with her probes and shovel and help dig to get this person out. My reward when I find someone is playing tug of war with awesome sweaters. Oh this is my favorite game and I usually win. I hope people do not get in avalanches and get buried but if it happens I am ready!!!
My favorite days are when the helicopter comes in and lands near our top ski patrol shack. Lori brings me outside and says, ‘“chopper’” here comes the “chopper”. Here it comes sounding like a flappy bird coming in. We load up to fly high in the mountain sky and off to work to search for someone in the snow.
At the end of the day I prefer to go down to the locker room/base area in a snowcat. Other times I ride the snowmobile or in a rescue toboggan. I run into the locker room, swing by guest services for some yummy treats. Then it’s home for dinner, maybe some singing with the guitar (I’m a well known country howling artist!). I sleep best after a day at work. I hope I work again tomorrow. I have many sweet dreams reminiscing about my day.
Now you have it from the animals’ mouths! Here’s some additional info.
If you’d like to take your dog on adventures, check out ruffwear.com for equipment and great stories of other adventure dogs. If your dog longs for adventure, but you don’t have time to take her out, check out boulderdoggieadventures.com. If you’d like to know more about dogs who help keep us safe projectk9hero.org. They help dogs injured in the line of duty. For some animal fun while still taking precautions, you can do virtual visits and tours. Good Life Refuge in Longmont offers virtual tours for families, schools and businesses for a nominal fee. You can meet OB, the special needs goat, Llamas, cows, pigs, turkeys, ducks and chickens. Luvin’ Arms Sanctuary is offering farm animals to attend your meeting and family gatherings. Virtually, of course.There is a fee for this service. Check it out at luvinarms.org. The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado is open for tours. They are using strict safety rules.