Dogs and Climbing

Apr 28, 2009

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Dear Steph!
I’m Krysia from Budapest, Hungary.
Your book moved me a lot, as well as your blog that I follow regularly. :)
I started climbing 4 years ago, but don’t climb too often, and now I am almost 26.. :)
This small country hasn’t got big rocks so we go rather to the Slovakian and Polish Tatras, and Austrian Alps.
My husband and I (married since 2 years), we try to get good climbers as a couple.
Which is not so easy sometimes :)
Soon we will move out of the city and start a new life in a little village in a national park.
I would like to have a dog – this is something that I have always wished :) – but I’m afraid that he will be too much time alone when we work, and when we are away for a climbing trip.

So don’t you have this problem sometime?
I wish you all the best,
Krysia

Dear Krysia,
I just visited Slovakia, and I really like your part of the world! I don’t know how it works there with national parks.
Every time I visit Europe (and I am here right now, in Switzerland), I am so amazed and thrilled at how dogs are not treated with the same discrimination they receive in the States. Dogs seem to be well behaved and welcome everywhere in Europe, in trains, restaurants, trails and shops.

I have always struggled in the States with my dog Fletch (who is better behaved, cleaner, quieter, less impactful and more responsible than most humans I know) when traveling and spending time in national parks, since dogs are outlawed in most of them. But I would think in Europe, you don’t deal with this situation?

When Fletch was young and at her physical peak, we were living in my truck, and she went everywhere with me, unless I left the country. When I went out of the country, she stayed with one of her many friends. I thought it would be a problem, but it never was. Now she is very arthritic, and mostly wants to stay at home or on small car camping trips or little day outings. I admit, I never imagined a day when Fletch would be elderly and slow, and she does need lots of extra attention and care. I love her so much I really enjoy taking care of her, though it definitely affects my daily lifestyle and decisions.

So I guess that would be the biggest advice I would give to you, is to remember that when you get a dog, it is a relationship for life. The day will probably come when your dog is elderly and slower, and needs a lot of special care from you. It will be fine, but you will need to adjust yourself, maybe a little, maybe a lot, to give him/her all the extra care needed, for all the years of love and devotion you have shared.
Have fun and be safe in the beautiful Tatras!
:) Steph

  • jason

    I love reading this. :) That picture is so cute! :)

  • Mark

    Steph,
    Any tips on dogs at the crag? This issue has been hotly debated on all the major forums and I see both points of view. I just bought a new puppy (coonhound) and I’m very committed to working with her, but I wonder if there are some things we can do to make her a good crag dog specifically.
    Thanks,
    Mark