Since I’m raising money for organizations devoted to dogs, my first post should probably be about my dog. Somewhere around December 15th a few years ago I moved out of college and into my new apartment to start my first post-college job. I was supposed to start work January 8th. I adopted Miranda January 6th. You see, Miranda came into my life for several reasons:

1) I had dogs when I was a kid. We had a german shepherd named Bucky that I hardly remember because I was so young, and we had a mix named Misty. I think my parents really liked names that end in -y.
2) Once I finally left college I was living by myself but making good money.
3) I’m impatient. I had told my parents I wanted to get a dog. They told me to wait a few weeks/months until I was settled. I didn’t listen.

Miranda was 2.5 years old when I adopted her. We went to an adoption event at a local Petsmart and when we left she was the dog we were most interested in. I filled out the paperwork to be able to adopt, got approved, and came back with my soon-to-be-wife the next week to make sure we still liked her. We took her home that day.

Here’s what we know about Miranda pre-adoption. She showed up in an animal shelter nearby several months before. The daughter of someone at the shelter took an interest and took extra special care of her. After a while nobody had adopted Miranda so they decided to put her down. The vet got her up on the table and was ready to put the needle in when Miranda looked up at her and wagged her tail. The vet couldn’t go through with it. She called a friend who was affiliated with a local dog adoption group to see if they could take her. The friend came by, picked up the dog, took it home, named her after the daughter at the shelter (Miranda), and became her foster parent. That is, until I came along to adopt her.

The first year or so that I had Miranda was a little rocky. Don’t get the wrong idea, she wasn’t disobedient (we passed all of the Petsmart obedience classes in just a few months) or destructive (at least not on purpose). No, Miranda is smart – very smart – and this was a problem. Evidently at the beginning I didn’t give her enough credit. I was used to the dog I grew up with who was quite the opposite.

The first sign of her intelligence was that she picked up tricks very quickly. It wasn’t long before I was out of tricks to teach her. It was so easy because she is both smart and food-motivated. She will do anything for food. This led to the second sign of her intelligence – I would leave for work and come back to find that the hot dog buns, or cereal, or granola bars that I had left on the kitchen counter had moved to the floor and mysteriously left their wrappers. Food started staying in its home in the cabinets.

Another day it was supposed to be really nice out so I figured I’d open the window to let the breeze in while I went to work. While I was at work apparently Miranda noticed that if she pushed her nose up against the window screen, it opened. And once it opened, she could slip under it onto the balcony. Unfortunately she wasn’t smart enough to figure out that if she slipped out onto the balcony, the screen would close behind her. I came home to find Miranda on the balcony barking at the cars entering the apartment complex.

We’ve figured out the ground rules that keep Miranda from getting into mischief. It’s kind of like owning a Gremlin – food stays behind closed doors, windows are closed if we’re not home, if the yard doesn’t have a privacy fence then someone stays outside with her (oh yeah, she can jump/climb fences). However once in a while, just like in the Gremlins movies, we still forget the rules or think we can get away with not following them. My wife will be resupplying me while I’m on the trail. She recently wanted to try out one of the bread recipes that she’ll be using. We baked the bread in the evening and left it on the counter to cool overnight thinking it would be safe if we pushed it to the back. Oops. In the morning for some strange reason Miranda wasn’t as excited about her breakfast as she usually is.

By the time I start the trail Miranda will be almost 8 years old. I would love to take her with me, but its just not the best idea. First, she’ll be a little old to walk 20+ miles in a day. Second, she is very afraid of thunderstorms. It’s bad enough in our house, it would be worse in a tent or shelter. Third, dogs aren’t allowed in the Great Smokey Mountains or in Baxter State Park. Finally, someone has to stay home with the wife, and who better than a loving dog 🙂

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