Man’s Best Friend and the Lessons We Learn


I had a mini Schnauzer and I have to say he was the best dog. Most of time when you see pictures of people hiking with their dog it’s a big one. Many ads in magazines, for some reason, feature hikers or backpackers with a lab of some sort. But you don’t see many mini Schnauzers.

Growing up my grandparents had a Schnauzer and when I drive through town and spot one, their owner usually is an older to elder person. A stereotype I know, yet true.

But CJ was not your typical Schnauzer. At least for me he wasn’t. Like any dog he loved car rides, going for walks and chasing ducks at the pond. The mere use of the phrase “car ride” and CJ was ready to go. Open the door and he bolted for the car and as we headed down the road on a beautiful sunny day his head was out the window, beard and ears flapping in the wind.

But there is another word, when spoken, that got him hopping and going….”hiking.” CJ loved to go hiking, and on every trip I took him on he was leading the way and setting the pace. If a tree was in the way, no problem, he’d either go under or over it. And his little legs had no problem jumping over a large tree that had fallen on the trail. Rocks and boulders, no match. Most of the time he was looking back at me as to say; keep up.

In the time I had CJ he had taught me a lot. Funny how such a small dog can teach me big lessons in life about relationships. Schnauzers are by nature and character needy dogs. He rarely left my side and when I was gone he sat by the door or window waiting for me. When I got home he was so excited to see me he could barely contain himself. He never worried if I’d feed him and was always eager for the next pat, hug or rub of his ears for attention.

When I was upset or not feeling well he always knew. He would sit by my side and lay his head on my lap as to say; it’s going to be okay. He was loyal and didn’t give up on me when I was not feeling myself. And when things got busy and I hadn’t made time for him, he lets me know in his gentle subtle ways.

CJ was my dog, but he was more than that, he was a loyal trusted friend who was by my side no matter what I faced. He was my hiking partner and an outdoor enthusiast. And no matter what tomorrow brought, he’d be right there with me.

CJ and I had many hiking adventures, but the longest hike we took together was hiking through life. Sure I may have taught him a few new tricks here and there, but what he taught me about relationships with people just from simply doing what a dog does is no trick.

CJ passed away a few years ago after fighting congestive heart failure.

20160806_125442The Mighty Gus

These days I head out on hiking adventures with Gus. A very energetic and young Jack Russell. And like CJ, Gus is teaching me lessons about life on and off the trail.

Gus reminds me, despite his high energy, to slow down when things get busy.

When we arrive at a trail Gus is going at full speed. He’s young and still learning to pace himself. However, his enthusiasm only motives me. His excitement for the outdoors is contagious. His determination is inspiring, and his loyalty to connect is impacting.

Life lessons continue through my hiking buddy Gus and I look forward to what he’s going to teach me next.

So remember, life is one long hiking trip and your dog is hiking it with you. Pay attention because he/she has something to teach you about the value of relationships.

2 thoughts on “Man’s Best Friend and the Lessons We Learn

  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing this. Now you’re not going to believe this, but I’m hanging around today in my hammock next to my new Border Collie……. His name????? That’s correct! “CJ” his dad’s name was Cooper and the breeder that I’d gotten him from named him Cooper Jr or CJ for short. I just got him last night and we are just resting together after a short walk. I have never had a hiking buddy but we both are so excited to share our love for the outdoors together. I may ask you some hiking with dog questions later if you don’t mind.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s