In 2018, I worked in Canmore as a dog sled tour guide. While it was tough work, I loved the job and spending my days with 150+ huskies. I loved all of the dogs, and got to know each and every one of them, but one pup in particular stole my heart.
Piper was one of the smaller dogs in the kennel. On a team, she ran with a grin on her face and her tongue flapping in the wind, often with her head turned around looking at the driver. While she loved the other dogs, she was quite nervous about new people. Shy dogs wore blue bandanas so guests would know to give them space.
I got to know Piper as the season went on, and found myself stopping to snuggle her for a few moments longer whenever I had the chance, and remembering which box of the truck she was in so I could walk her back to her dog house every day. Soon I was bringing her in to the cabin for sleepovers every Saturday night when it was my turn to spend the night at the kennel.
I was sad to say goodbye at the end of my season, but never forgot about my sweet little friend. I mentioned many times to family and friends over the next two years about how I would love to adopt her one day when she was old enough to retire. And finally the opportunity arose.
With the concern of Covid 19. I made a careful trip to Alberta to pick up my girl. I packed all of my drinks and food for the trip, and managed to make the almost 15 hour day of driving without setting foot inside a building. My only stop was at the same ‘Pay at the Pump’ gas station in Drumheller on the way there and the way back.
Piper snoozed in my passenger seat the whole way home, and happily curled up beside me on my bed when we finally arrived back home. The next day we set out for our first Saskatoon walk.
Piper was nervous of her new surroundings, but with a little patience and love from my boyfriend and I, she made it the whole loop. Looking back at this day now three weeks later I am amazed at the progress she has made.
Every day she gets more comfortable with the retired life, and I am so happy to be able to give her a cozy couch to sleep on, plenty of treats, and lots of walks. I am excited to share our hiking adventures whenever we are able to get back on to the trails.