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Soul Dog: Dogs that hike make the best friends

    Spokane hiking dogs at eagle peak at dishman hills

    Dear Vicki,

    Bella misses Desi, one of her favorite dogs that hike.

    Get better faster.


    golden retriever and maremma sheepdog two dogs that hike in spokane
    Desi and Bella

    Our friend is on IR

    “IR” is the sports acronym for “injury reserve,” or the list to which a player is regulated while he’s injured. Our friend Vicki is on IR while her shoulder heels from rotator cuff surgery.

    Vicki took a bad fall and gave herself a terrible, painful injury.

    I can empathize. I tore the supraspinatus in my rotator cuff during a softball tournament in Calgary some years ago. I did it again and again. Once you rip that damn thing, it happens again easily.

    And of course, I was too stunned to figure it out and stop playing. I eventually did and that stupid shoulder bugs me to this day.

    But this isn’t about me. It’s about Vicki’s golden retriever Desi, one of Bella’s best friends and one of our favorite dogs that hike.

    golden retriever shaking off water on dock

    She’s a good little poser

    Desi isn’t your everyday golden retriever.

    Before the pandemic, she was a therapy dog, visiting hospice patients and giving them comfort and love in their final days. Once Vicki heals, I’ve no doubt they’ll return to their therapy duties since they both miss going to the care facility.

    Desi is also good therapy for me. She’s a bit of a snuggler and I’m pretty sure she knows me as The Treat Lady.

    golden retriever with Angela Schneider of Big White Dog Photography
    “Give me the treats”

    She’s always happy to see me and runs right up to me with her nose punching into my treat bag.

    Her mama has taught her to “up” and we made this happen at Feryn Conservation Area near Mead a couple of years ago, shortly after training this trick became a success.

    golden retriever sits up in tall grass
    Desi at Feryn Conservation Area

    More friends with dogs that hike

    I would be remiss to not mention more of Bella’s best friends. We have a long list of pals with dogs that hike and Bella loves their company.

    There’s Newt:

    Bella and Newt, two dogs that hike
    Bella and Newt at Banff National Park in Alberta

    And Eena:

    hiking with dogs in North Idaho at Mineral Point trail

    And newest to the pack, Artie:

    heeler puppy on adventure in Idaho

    The Soul Dog Journey Project

    These stories of Bella, to be told every Monday in 2022, are part of the Soul Dog Journey Project, a mission by my friend Marika at @souldogcreative in Seattle. After losing her Soul Dog, Kerouac, last year, she’s put together a 52-week project that gets us telling the stories of how we are connected to our dogs and what they bring to our lives. 

    Each week, there’s a new story prompt to get our creative juices flowing. This week’s prompt focuses on your dog’s favorite friends, so I’m celebrating all our friends with dogs that hike. Well, more just the dogs that hike … although the friends are cool, too.

    Don’t be shy. Tell me in the comments about your dog’s favorite friends, aside from you, of course. And if you’ve found yourself here because you have a Maremma sheepdog that brings you a deeper connection than you’ve ever known, well, you just know.


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

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