Bear the Dog is not the fiercest of beasts.

She’s half Mastiff, half Lab and at least 30% coward. She is afraid of luggage—especially wheeled luggage—backpacks and packages. Therefore, she hates anyone that brings these to our door. Amazon, UPS and the post office all get an earful of ferocious barking for their attempts. She’s also got beef with the octogenarian that walks our street each day with her cane.

This is why I never took her hiking before. She was either going to cower the entire time or bark at every trail runner with a fanny pack—which they would deserve. But she did great. She didn’t bark at anyone. She paid no attention to the lapdogs and made friends with a pair of Pits. The only issue was the wooden footbridge. It took me several minutes to coax her on to it and she did so only with shaking legs. I’m not sure what she was afraid of. Probably trolls. And who can blame her? I half expect to hear, “Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” But my mom used to do a mean troll when she read the story. I’m not sure what Bear the Dog’s excuse was.

But she handled the rest of the bridges without hesitation and I’m excited that my writing partner is now my hiking partner to boot. Also, I can now definitively say, yes, Bear the Dog does shit in the woods.

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