“Those who teach the most about humanity aren’t always human.”Donald L Hicks
Admittedly, I’ve been struggling to write this blog post. Not because I didn’t know what to write, but there was SO much to share. Not just one dog, but TWO. Not only your average dog owner but someone that inspires you to really be a better Dog Mom and ally to animals. Not just your average photo session, but kayaking! Yes, kayaking. Meg and Cheddar are two dynamic Spokane adventure dogs, and I’m so excited to share their lives.
Dogs Who Kayak –
Alright, so the pictures speak for themselves but let’s talk about the obvious. These dogs kayak and LOVE it!
Now Cheddar (the brown and white dog) has quite the “look” as he rides in the front. I imagined he was telling his Mom to “Row Faster!” but Alison says he is pouting about having to sit up front. Apparently, the coveted spot is in the back of the kayak. Cheddar doesn’t really hide his emotions. Be it happy, sad, annoyed, or playful; you can see his mood in every expression. This one was definitely annoyance that his sister beat him to the back.
I asked Alison why she decided to take the dogs out on the water, and her answer was simple.
“…my days off are usually dedicated to hanging out with the dogs and family, be it swimming, hiking, going for a drive, Netflix and chill (one of Cheddar’s passions), road trips, camping, etc. The only way to continue hanging with the whole family and make kayaking my new hobby was to bring them all with me.”
When you meet this trio, you can tell they are a package deal; they are one family. So, I guess it does make sense that when kayaking became a new hobby, there was no question Meg and Cheddar would get to join in on the fun.
This new hobby wasn’t easy. Alison was nervous that Meg’s love of water would cause her to jump in, and Cheddar’s dislike of water would make the activity, not as fun. However, they put in the work to make them comfortable. The kayaks were kept in the living room so the dogs could get used to them and learn where to sit.
When the day came to hit the water, they were naturals.
Meg, A 12-Year-Young Border Collie Mix
Meg joined the family as a rescue at age 2. While she now is a confident dog, which her Mom trusts in any situation, that wasn’t always the case.
When she joined the family, Meg was scared and would hide behind furniture, unsure how to interact with other dogs and people. Then she met Dharma, a dog that taught her other dogs aren’t scary and how to say “Hello” correctly. Now Meg is paying it forward and is doing to other dogs what Dharma did for her. She is the pacifier in a group of dogs and puts even the most nervous dogs at ease with her calm demeanor. She knows when to diffuse the situation with a lick, invitation to play, or a simple distraction.
While helping Meg gain confidence, Alison enrolled her in basic obedience, and it quickly exploded from there. Agility competitions, Rally-O classes, Treiball classes, and frisbee were all in her arsenal.
It seems like Meg doesn’t just learn something new. She conquers it. It’s hard to imagine a shy, timid dog just starting in obedience class when you meet Meg.
When I asked her Mom what her favorite thing about her was, she said this,
“She makes people smile. She likes to engage people of all ages… which often involves getting them to throw something for her or getting them to pet her. She even knows to tone it down for young kids.”
What’s not to love about that?
12 Year-Young, Cheddar
As much as Cheddar lives his best life with the wind in his face on a kayak, he didn’t start that way. He pretty much had the worst start to a life of any dog I’ve come across.
Cheddar was a severe abuse case and almost starved to death when he was rescued by SCRAPS on New Year’s Eve 6 years ago. It was so bad that the news ran a story on his case. The pictures are hard to look at, but I will link it here to see how far he has indeed come.
Alison was working as the Rescue and Foster coordinator for SCRAPS, and that is how fate landed these two together. On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, Animal Protection Officers told Alison about Cheddar and his story. Due to how badly neglected he was, they didn’t want him to stay in the shelter over the holiday, so Alison took him home. The original plan was just a couple days until the holiday was over; however, Cheddar never left.
It’s hard to reconcile the dog he was six years ago that was almost starved to death, to the friendly, animated dog I met. A true testament to the love and devotion he received from his new Mom.
Someone Who Inspires All Of Us To Give Dogs A Second A Chance
Alison credits her heart for rescue to growing up in a home that always welcomed animals from people that no longer wanted them. It probably only grew from there from years volunteering and working at SCRAPS, watching 1000s of animals go through the doors every year.
I’ve learned in writing these stories about dogs that it’s often partially about the owners. Alison is not an exception to this. Meg and Cheddar are proof of the love, compassion, kindness, and dedication she has selflessly poured into dogs that needed a second chance. Dogs that weren’t “perfectly adoptable,” but she saw they needed her, and she gave them a home.
“Most of them need work, and you don’t always know their history, but you can help determine their future.”Alison
These are inspirational words for every pet owner.
Thanks to Alison, Meg, and Cheddar for sharing an evening with me. The kindness, compassion, and sense of adventure in your family are contagious and a joy to be around.
I’ll link to SCRAPS adoptable animals here if this inspires you to perhaps open your home to a dog needing a second chance.
Tell me what you thought of these great Spokane adventure dogs below! Do you have adventures you take with your pups? I’d love to read about them.