Dear Future Crag Puppy,

We are going to be great friends. You are going be an adorable, irresistible, soft, wiggly puppy. You will have the opportunity to join in on some lengthy approaches, non-climbing day hikes, mid-day naps, evening swims, and midnight snacks. We will have loads of fun, get super strong, and enjoy a life of adventure. By the way, this means you will be living out of a van for a few years. It will be awesome.

Koa, one of the few crag dogs who can pull off simultaneously being so cute and so dirty.

However, to maximize enjoyment for all, there are a few conditions.

  1. You are encouraged to sleep in my bed, provided that you don’t choose my head as your mattress and only lick my face after 7a.m.
  2. The van is not a bathroom. This includes the outside.
  3. No chewing on gear—shoes are very much so included.
  4. You will carry your own weight (except for the first few weeks when you’re small and getting used to hiking).
  5. You will not steal my sandwiches. You will be stealthy and selective when stealing others’ sandwiches.
  6. You will attend all adventures.
  7. You will do your best not eat things that will make you sick. If this occurs, you will refrain from puking on in the van or on any piece of gear.
  8. You can eat leftovers, but please refrain from excessive begging (unless others have great food, and then please share). I’m sorry, but your everyday food will be the dry, bagged kind; wet food is expensive and smells weird.
  9. For your own safety, please do not take naps on crashpads that are currently in use.
  10. Making friends at the crag is encouraged. Thus, please do not bark at, growl at, chase, bite, or otherwise annoy any humans or other canines at the crag.
  11. Be ready to be snuggled, petted, loved, and infrequently spoiled.
  12. Be psyched for adventure 95.67% of the time. (I understand that 4.33% of the time you might be having an off day.)
  13. Do not abuse your cuteness. Choose wisely when to look adorable and beg for things; that tactic will only work so many times.

So yes there are a few rules, but they are mostly to make life comfortable and maximize adventure. I’d like to avoid buying a new rope or pair of shoes because you got bored of chewing your bone. Plus, that money will come out of your Milk Bone fund, which isn’t advantageous for you either.

However, beyond the rules, I can make you some promises:

  • You will be very loved and given lots of attention.
  • You will see many places, go on many adventures, and cover more ground than most dogs.
  • You will be a nomad, living in the van for a while. However, when you’re old and have bad knees from hiking thousands of miles, you will have a plush dog bed in front of a woodstove in a small cabin to curl up in.
  • And if you’re feeling lonely in that bed of your own, you can still hop up with me (or we can snuggle down on your bed if your knees aren’t feeling up to the jump).

Much Love,

Originally published November 12, 2014, on 

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