Driving in my banged up Ford Explorer with the open road ahead. Foster the People is blasting on the stereo and the air is sweet and hot. To my right is my trusty wing man: Mickey. His signature ears are flapping in the wind. His pink tongue is hanging from the side of his mouth and a string of drool drops. He smiles his goofy grin as he looks my way and blinks lovingly.
Sometimes life happens and you just roll with it. Such was the case the day my boyfriend and I decided to adopt our puppy from Whistler’s local animal shelter, WAG.
We’d been thinking about it for over 1 year. We even had a name picked out: Mickey. A few visits to WAG had resulted in near adoptions. But that same hesitant feeling you get before plunging into an ice cold lake or taking a bungee leap of faith prevented us from the final commitment.
And then one stormy February day after Valentine’s Day, a colleague alerted me that a new litter had been brought in from Mount Currie. We had to go visit them. So we did.
At first the most boisterous of the 8 puppies leaped our way, all vying for affection and attention. “Pick me,” they yipped. They were darn cute and so very perfect in every way.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, a darker more rugged looking pup came into view. He looked so inquisitive that I just had to pick him up. Tippie was his name and he lay calmly in my arms cuddling with me and gazing at me with interest. Then … he peed on me. It was love at first tinkle.
A few short days later after weighing the pros and cons and daydreaming about the sweet little pup who relieved himself on me, Tippie became Mickey and he was ours.
Now we spend our early mornings and evenings watching Mickey’s curly tail whirl with delight as he picks up sticks and laps up the cool water of Whistler’s many creeks and lakes. We lament when he decides to roll in mud – or better yet: dead snakes and bear poo.
The life of a Whistler dog is rather luxurious with several dog parks with names like Barking Bay, Canine Cove and Arpha Lake. The ratio of dogs to people is ridiculously high and there is no shortage of pups to play with.
There’s also a secret dog-owners club that no one knows exists until they have a dog. People nod knowingly as they pass you struggling with your stubborn pooch and say “how do you do” as you cross paths at 6am with tired eyes and bed head. Much like a gang, once you’re in, you’re in for life. The only initiation is suffering through a few chewed up shoes, books, socks and underwear.
And so, that stormy February, Neil and I jumped head first into the unknown of dog ownership. And I’m glad to say that we’ll never look back, no matter how many pairs of shoes we lose throughout the journey.