Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tails from the Back Seat: Winterizing your Dog for Desert Life

6 Hot Tips from 2 Cool Dogs

          With special acknowledgment to Edward Abbey for providing just the right words (italics

It has been said, and truly, that everything in the desert either stings, stabs, stinks, or sticks.

You will find the flora here as venomous, hooked, barbed, thorny, prickly, needled, saw-toothed, hairy, stickered, mean, bitter, sharp, wiry, and fierce as the animals.  Something about the desert inclines all living things to harshness and acerbity.  

The soft evolve out.

You may be getting the impression by now that the desert is not the most suitable of environments for human (or dog) habitation.  Correct. Of all the Earth's climatic zones, excepting only the Antarctic, the deserts are the least inhabited, the least "developed", for reasons that should now be clear. 

So why do we spend the Winter in this environment?? 
Much sun, little rain also means an arid climate.  Compared with the high humidity of more hospitable regions, the dry heat of the desert seems at first not terribly uncomfortable--sometimes even pleasant.  But that sensation of comfort is false, a deception, and therefore all the more dangerous....

Constant tests of Heated Endurance...

...And Sticky Situations

Geographers generally divide the North American desert--what was once termed "the Great American Desert"--into four distinct regions or subdeserts.  These are the Sonoran Desert, which comprises southern Arizona, Baja California, and the state of Sonora in Mexico; the Chihuahuan Desert, which includes west Texas, southern New Mexico, and the states of Chihuahua and Coahuila in Mexico, the Mojave Desert, which includes southeastern California and small portions of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona; and the Great Basin Desert, which includes most of Utah and Nevada, northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and much of Idaho and eastern Oregon.

Lucky us, we have been to them all.
 In fact, we have been to them all this Winter...we are the experts.

Now what about desert hiking itself, you may ask...glad you asked that question.   We firmly believe that one should never--repeat never--go out into that formidable wasteland of cactus, heat, serpents, rock, scrub, and thorn without careful planning, thorough and cautious preparation, and complete equipment. 
Our motto is: Be Prepared.

Tip #1 - Keep It Cool with a Desert 'Do

Tip #2 - Rough & Ready: Acclimate Paws for Volcanic Rocks & Hot Sand...

...or Prepare to Step Lightly

Tip #3 - Beware of "Jumping" and Hiding Hazards

A Teddy Bear Cholla Minefield

A Hedgehog Blind 

Tip #4 - Go With the Flow...even if there isn't any Water 


The Desert Dogs' Playground

Tip #5 - "Glory Holes" They're Not!

Why go into the desert?  Really, why do it?  That sun, roaring at you all day long. The tepid, vapid little water holes slowly evaporating under the scum of grease, full of cannibal beetles, spotted toads, horsehair worms, liver flukes, and down at the bottom, inevitably, the pale cadaver of a 
ten-inch centipede.  

Ummm, I have no was like what happened to that kid when the icicle fell off the garage
 and hit him in the eye...yea, that's it!

Tip #6 - Seek Shade, Early and Often

Well then, why indeed go walking into the desert, that grim ground, that bleak and lonesome land where as Genghis Khan said of India, "the heat is bad and the water makes men sick"?  

Why the desert, given a world of such splendor and variety?

Because there is nothing out there. Nothing at all. 
Nothing but the desert.  Nothing but the silent world.  
That's why.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland....

...'Desert Solitaire'


  1. This might be my favorite post of yours. Great dog photos, great desert photos and perfect words. I have so many people I want to share this with. Excellent post.

    1. Dogs make easy topics. There's more news coming on the dog front soon.

  2. Susan. Found your blog in one of my folders. Didn't realize I had it. Sorry about your doggy. I know it hurts.
    We are still in Tucson. Whenever I see a big RV go by I look in the truck to see it it might be you! Someday maybe!
    Keep on enjoying life, seems you found the recipe!
    Jan and Dean Woods