We all read it in the puppy books:
“Puppies are highly energetic creatures that need constant exercise and playtime to avoid getting bored and causing trouble.”
OK, I thought. I can do that.
What didn’t really hit me until about two weeks after adopting Reux was just how powerful the regenerative energy of a working breed dog can be.
Even between a morning walk, a lunchtime game of ball, and an afternoon jog, Reux still manages to have plenty of energy left to destroy everything from my computer cable cord to my best pair of work shoes.
It was as I caught Reux in the middle of a thoughtful chomp of my hair straightener cord that I decided he needed to get a job. Working his way through my various electrical appliances wasn’t cutting it for me.
And so we joined a K-9 search and rescue team.
The team is all volunteer, and the weekly time commitment can be equated to that of a part-time job. The group specializes in wilderness search and rescue using dogs to search for injured hikers, lost children, Alzheimer’s patients, and anyone finding themselves at odds with Colorado’s wilderness.
For a while, the focus will be mainly on me as I study navigation, radio procedures, wilderness survival, canine first aid, and more. However, I can also begin basic training with Reux so that he can start getting up to speed with what it takes to be a search dog.
It makes me glad that I managed to take Reux home on adoption day instead of someone else. I keep thinking back to how miserable both Reux and his owner would have been if he had ended up with someone who wasn’t willing or able to embrace his energy and find something constructive to do with it. I wonder about Reux’s past and wonder if he was just a stray found wandering the streets, or if a previous owner simply couldn’t handle his explosive energy and decided to leave him at the nearest humane society. It’s easy to see how so many puppies end up in shelters.
There’s no guarantee that Reux will end up certifying as a search dog; or, even, that I will progress to an operational member of the team after all of my training. But, for now, it gives us both something to work on, something to direct our mutual energy toward. And hey, who knows, maybe Reux’s new skills may come in handy someday even if we don’t end up becoming full operational members of the team.
But, for now, I’m content simply with the hope that my dog will be tired enough from scampering up and down Colorado’s mountains that he’ll forget to chew through my newest computer cord.