Doggy Diaries – Jayden the guide hiker dog

Yesterday B drove us out to Sabino Canyon, a great place with hiking trails. It might be just out of town or it might even be considered in town, I’m not sure. Point is, it’s close. I haven’t been out there in a very long time. I think the last time I hiked the trails was when I was in my early twenties. B took last week off so we decided to do something different on Friday. It wasn’t the all day event I was used to when it came to hiking. We didn’t go until after noon and only spent a little more than an hour there, but it was awesome nonetheless.

First, I had no idea dogs weren’t allowed there. We stopped at the little booth where you pay five bucks for the day. Jayden was sitting between my feet and the ticket guy said no dogs were allowed. Luckily he was good at his job and understood when we said Jay was a service dog. He didn’t ask for any proof but did ask if he had a harness so other patrons wouldn’t give us any problems. He then told us that the disabled can get a pass and visit national parks for free. I had no idea. Pretty cool.

I was surprised how busy the parking lot was for a Friday. I’m sure it was mostly hikers leaving since most people do these things early. We stopped at the visitor center so I could use the restroom.

“Well hello, doggy!” cam a woman’s exclamation from the next stall. Jay and I had squeezed in since there wasn’t a big stall, or if there was, Jayden couldn’t find it since he always takes me to the big ones.

I found Jayden’s head under the dividing wall and started telling him no when the woman laughed and said it was ok, she was a dog person, a groomer. “How did you get in here, are you a service dog?” she asked Jayden.

I wonder what she would have done if Jayden had said yes while gazing up at her with his head under the partition between toilets.

We found B again and headed towards the trail. There’s a main trail and then different trails branch off of that. At the foot of the trails are signs explaining how far the trail goes and what it’s named. The first one was just a quarter mile loop, so we decided that would be a good starter.

I had Jayden heeling while B and I did human guide, just while I got used to my surroundings and I also thought Jayden might enjoy just walking and looking around. At first I thought this wasn’t going to work, that Jayden didn’t like being there or something because he was dragging like mad. I hitched is collar up under his ears and he heeled briefly and then he began dragging again. Hmmmm.

Once B and I were on the little loop I thought maybe Jayden hadn’t been comfortable at the quick pace B was walking. After all, this was brand new terrain and Jayden is very cautious with me. I let go of B and picked up the harness handle and Jayden began to walk no problem. I swear he had been protesting earlier hahaha! *I’m* her guide. What are *you* doing guiding her?

We did a rework once towards the beginning of the loop. There was a little foot bridge and I brushed something on my right. Jayden should have stopped anyway since it was a drastic change, from dirt to wood. After that rework, he was perfect. He showed me the edge of the bridge and then followed B perfectly throughout the loop.

B told me once about cactus on my right but Jayden walked past it slowly and without problems. When the dirt got a little rocky, not so much that I had to step over anything, but enough of a change, Jayden slowed down which reminded me to pick up my feet more. When it smoothed again he sped up. The boy was in the zone! He was in his element, making sure I was safe with all the challenges. He was panting and trotting and when I knelt to get water out of my bag for us, he gave me kisses. It was almost like he was telling me, “this is awesome!! Why haven’t we done this before?”

We made our way to the next trail which wasn’t a loop. We decided to give it a go, knowing we could always turn back if we had to. Almost immediately, Jayden stopped dead. I probed out with my foot. Definitely an obstacle I’d say haha! It was a jutting piece of rock I had to step over. B said he purposely didn’t say anything, wondering what Jayden would do. Jayden waited for me to investigate it and figure out how to clear it and didn’t move until I told him forward. There were several more of these little rock things that Jayden had to help me get over. We got to one that I couldn’t figure out with just my foot so I got my cane out to decipher the lenth of what I needed to get over. It worked perfectly, Jayden stopping, me investigating with the cane. We would have gone further because my confidence with all this was soaring. Jayden was being absolutely incredible. At one point I needed him to go forward a few steps so I could feel the depth of what I had to cross. It’s hard to explain. The teamwork was unbelievable. I needed no help from B, in fact when he tried to help, his descriptions didn’t even make any sense haha!

We would have continued but my knees gave massive protest. I had them wrapped in bandages, but it became clear I need actual braces to attempt hiking. The bandages work great for simple walking, but not making my way over rocks and stepping up and down like we had to do.

On our way back we took the loop again, going in the opposite direction. I could feel Jayden’s excitement traveling up through the harness handle. There’s a bounce in him when the work is different and challenging I just can’t explain.

I was disappointed to head back to the car but I knew it was probably a good idea. I haven’t been well for a few weeks so this was really my first bit of exercise in quite awhile.

Jayden passed out in the car. When we got home I showered and then did a long leg stretching session. Jayden was passed out on the floor on his mat next to where I stretch and I lay down with him for awhile. He only budged to eat dinner haha!

I’m not too sore today. A little tightness in the quads but nothing bad. When B got up he said his calves were pretty sore. He never exercises so I’m sure his body was going, what the heck?

It was awesome! I’d love to say I’ll get knee braces and we’ll go back but I know B too well. It won’t happen. He was off work last week and that’s why we went but as soon as he goes back to work the weekends won’t be free for hiking. Also, to attempt the harder trails we’d need to go earlier and that will never happen.

I’m going to ask Georgie though, since she loves exercising and hiking and stuff. Maybe she’ll have time to go there before it gets hot again.

I was just so impressed with jayden. That was the first time I had ever done anything like that since getting a guide dog. I didn’t go to that Miur Woods day while at GDB. I can never spell those woods haha! So this was the closest I’d had to that sort of experience. It was incredible to hike again. It really was just so amazing! I trusted him more out there than I do in the mall! What’s up with that? Haha!


Filed under desert life, Doggy Diaries, Jayden, jayden quirks, white cane, working dog, wow

3 Responses to Doggy Diaries – Jayden the guide hiker dog

  1. That’s awesome that you guys had such a great hiking experience!! I hope you find someone to go again with!

  2. I love when they work really really well and you just go wow. Lol the protest stop. If i’m taking ushi but we’re going somewhere where she knows we should be working it, she stops dead until i pick up that harness. The last time we took her to the vet to get her worming tablet, we were in a bit of a rush. I just got out of my house when it was dead stop. When i picked up the handle she went okay. I think she was saying “why aren’t we working this bit? We know it!”.

    I like to be sure of my footing so don’t really like massive climbing. But a few rocks is just awesome the way he stopped. I bet you wouldn’t have felt confident doing it if you did it even a few months ago. That just shows how strong your bond is :).

    And sometimes it’s hard to trust them even when we know where we are going. Sometimes it feels like they are distracted or something.

    When we are in a new place ushi will rush quite a bit, as if to say “Where are we going?” then she’ll eventually just slow down again back to her normal speed.


  3. That’s awesome! I’ve taken one of my Pits hiking, and we too ran into the “no dogs allowed” on trails, but since we were quite a ways away from home, I wasn’t about to leave him in the car, so up we went. He loooved it, I loved him loving it, good times, despite getting yelled at for having a dog on the trails.

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