Hello everybody. I’m Tank. Remember me? I am the sled dog who has turned into a canoe dog. I have been traveling with Dave and Amy since January 2, 2016. My mom, Acorn, and sister, Tina, spent the winter with us. Then they left when the lakes started to turn from ice to water. At first I wondered why Dave and Amy didn’t keep all of us when it was time to paddle the canoe. Then I saw the canoe loaded with food, gear and people. There was just a little bit of space left for me! In this Notes from the Trail I will tell you about life from the canoe dog’s perspective.
The weather was warm this summer– really warm. I have a fur coat. Even though I shed my winter coat I was hot. We still traveled around. I rode in the canoe. I panted to stay cool. Did you know that panting is how a dog cools down instead of sweating like people? We would walk on the portage trails and I would carry my red pack. Whenever Amy and Dave picked a campsite I would get really excited and run around. After a couple minutes of running and smelling things I would find a spot in the shade. I spent a lot of time napping in the shade.
People have asked if I like to swim. I DO NOT like to swim! I will wade in the water if I absolutely have to, like when it is time to get into the canoe. One time I jumped in the canoe before anyone else was ready. The canoe tipped over and I fell in the water! The water was over my head so I had to swim. I frantically swam to shore and then scrambled out onto a rock. I shook myself to dry off. Amy and Dave complained that I got them wet from my shaking.
Do you like to swim? Why or why not?
I can tell that fall is coming. Can you? I have a list of things that I have noticed. People talk about the leaves changing color. I am colorblind because I am a dog. So I can’t really tell when the leaves change color. There are plenty of other things that I notice.
1. The days are getting shorter.
I pay close attention to the daylight. When it is dark I go to sleep. When it is light out I wake up and run around. In the summer I would get up and run around a couple of hours before Dave and Amy got out of the tent. Now they get up just a little bit after my morning run.
2. The weather is getting cooler.
I am panting a lot less than I did this summer. Sometimes the air temperature is cool enough that I decide to nap in the sun instead of the shade. I might even curl up into a ball to sleep. That helps me trap more heat and keep my belly warm.
What is the weather like where you live right now?
3. Some animals are getting ready for winter.
I have paid close attention to two kinds of small mammals out here: red squirrels and chipmunks. I have noticed that they are very busy lately. They run around the forest gathering seeds and stashing them. Amy told me they do this so that they can come back later to their stashes and eat the food during the winter.
Are any animals preparing for winter in your neighborhood?
4. There are fewer people in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
I like people. People smile when they see me and they pet me. I saw lots of people this summer. We saw them in canoes and on portage trails. If we paddled past in canoes they would say, “What a nice dog!” If we saw people on the portage trails they would ask to pet me. I asked Dave why there are fewer people here now. He said that the busiest months in the BWCAW are July and August. I guess that many people plan vacations in the summer. That is when many kids are out of school. Come to think of it, we did see many families and camp groups full of kids this summer. Now when we do see people, they are mostly adults.
I like fall, because I know that winter comes after fall. There is snow in the winter and I can pull a dogsled. That is my favorite thing to do. I guess we still have a few months until I get to be a sled dog. In the meantime I’ll work on growing my winter coat so I can stay warm. I’ll keep running around so I can stay fit too.