Rachael Rodgers
(@trailsandbears)

434 posts

18,215 followers

65 followings

??⠀Canmore, Alberta

Stories and Highlights posted by trailsandbears

Photos and Videos posted by trailsandbears

A photo of a dog with a home. Our buddy Prim is so good at settling in that her foster home is now her forever home. I could see that Prim’s foster human was a bit reluctant to send Prim for an adoption adventure as she was pretty attached to the big lug. I recalled forcing myself to try to make Anna (then Storm) the best adoptable story possible despite wanting to keep her for myself. Prim’s foster human did it to increase Prim’s chance of finding the perfect home. When caring for animals, it’s so important to put their needs ahead of our own desires and egos. Being willing to let a loved one go to a place they will have the best life (if that’s not with you) is an incredibly hard thing to do, but comes naturally (as demonstrated by the lady in that strange story who didn’t want Solomon to cut her baby in half). I’m so happy about this foster fail. Happy trails, little buddy. #fosterfail

This is Hamlet. At 10 months old, he’s relatively big and appropriately floppy. Hamlet came with me yesterday to check the situation in Highwood Pass. It was snowy, flowers were in bloom, and there were very many humans. Perfect for a fluffy, social pup who appreciates the journey (more than the destination). Hamlet seemed less into the physical act of hiking than the innumerable other domestic animals out in the wild today. He trudged doggedly along the path to my seemingly arbitrary destination (the car/where we started), stopping eagerly to greet anyone who wanted to say hi. He made a few friends and had a few missed connections. When we paused for snacks, he seemed shocked (betrayed, even) that he had licorice and dry liver in his pack the whole time. He didn’t realize until both were in my possession and I was rationing them out (like I was the one who carried them up there). I suppose this is a good introduction to the injustices in life (especially dog life).. As a wise man once said: this world is rough and if a man’s gonna make it he’s gotta be tough. If you know someone who would love a gentle, social, agreeable pup, let them know that Hamlet is available from @aarcs. #adoptable Special Hamlet salutations to Peter Sistrom in Brooklyn for supporting this project of adventures for adoptable dogs.

A photo of an adventure dog in training. Like anyone “in training”, she’s not there yet, but she’s dedicated to the certification. #intraining

This is Pumbaa. Like most 9 week old pups, his favorite things are playing, eating, and pooping (none of these are location specific/should be done whenever possible). Pumbaa is not shy, nor does he let his tiny physical existence dictate his fate. He will accept invites to wrestle many weight classes above his own. He won’t be carried when there’s a new trail to smell (until it’s all smelled, then [you may carry me]). Pumbaa and I got to be part of a special project yesterday that VCA Canada is doing, so our adoption adventure had more humans and cameras than normal (moot point for Pumbaa, he knows no “normal” yet). Pumbaa didn’t let the lenses influence his confidence; he climbed and clambered over too-big rocks and logs. He even hauled his duck up the mountain path. He’s available soon for adoption from @garciarescue, but this little pooper received multiple applications yesterday, so he’s likely off the market. Pumbaa’s mother is no other than Nuka from last week’s group volunteer hike who is currently available for adoption. She’s beautiful and keen and 1-2 years old. #adoptable Thank you @vca_canada for helping to bring awareness to the strange volunteer possibilities that exist for any dog lover who ever wondered what to do with a day off.

I made a big whoopsie recently. I hiked a trail that is “open”, but decommissioned. The trail remains in guide books and online sites and apps for hiking. It shows up everyday on my social media feeds - it has a great view. Until recently, I refused to hike there because of a sign at the start of the trail that asks hikers to consider hiking elsewhere as it’s “prime grizzly habitat”. I took this as a warning for MY safety, selfishly not considering the bears. After hiking the lower section (twice) and posting a video from there in an adoption story, I became educated on the seriousness of the impact of my hike on this valuable wildlife corridor. There are transit barriers in this area (including a dam) and this corridor is key for the grizzly population to move and reproduce in a varied gene pool (necessary to sustain a healthy population). Bears have a huge food source in the meadows of Mount Indefatigable and it’s a prime denning area. By hiking there and displacing them, we effectively fence them into smaller populations and force them to den in less ideal areas, lowering their reproductive success. By choosing this trail, we each impact the already threatened grizzly population. Recently, Instagram has been flooded with photos from this trail. This has caused many to find the hike, and helped them to justify going past the sign that asks us to reconsider. The sign at the trailhead is outdated for the gravity of the current situation allowing many (myself included) to easily justify a hike. I try to always advocate for responsible land use, and at the same time, I know that more people in the places I show is harmful to the habitat. It’s a trade-off that weighs heavily on me. I am not proud that I directly added to a serious problem; I want to quickly become part of a solution. I removed an adoptable pup’s story that was videoed there (a tough decision as it effects more than just me - I think that’s the theme here). If you know anyone who has hiked Mount Indefatigable, please consider sending this post to them in a private message so they can have time and space to consider what made me remove it from my page. #fortheloveofbears #becomepartofthesolution

A photo of a dog who found his perfect forever human. Finn was taken in off the streets by the Sato Project and was part of the first Dogist Rescue Ride last year. Henry signed on to foster/transport this little dog. Henry soon fell victim to the hazard of being too close to adoptable dogs that some of you know. Long story, short: he’s definitely @keepingfinn. #adopted Beans and I went for a paddle with @thehendog and Finn last night. Beans watched carefully as Finn rode in a canoe in a way Beans had never before witnessed. Everyone had treats and no cameras were sacrificed.

The adoption adventure I planned for yesterday was a little odder than my regular odd volunteer days. It took weeks of planning to come together. Four adoptable dogs (all available from different rescue organizations), their shelter representatives, and 29 humans (who were eager to volunteer) all ended up far out in the mountains early yesterday morning to come on an adoption hike. Much to my surprise: absolutely nothing went wrong. It was the first time hiking in this spot for any of the volunteers (and the first hike ever, for some). As people arrived, they were divided into 4 packs. Each pack was tasked with advocating for one of the adoptable dogs on social media according to an Instagram volunteering guide I wrote (ask me if you want it). We had eight year old Dozer from @pawsitivematchrescue. He started out a little [what the heck is with all the people] anxious, but almost immediately relaxed and embraced the day with all the enthusiasm of a big old pup (shown as a huge smile). We had Nuka from @garciarescue, a young pup who’s just letting her puppies go off into the world and taking some time to get back to who she is. She’s beautiful, she’s cuddly, and she has a great long nose. We had Panther from @wagamuffinsrescue who led the gaggle of packs up the hike. She was eager from the get-go. She was barky with excitement about the other canines in the gaggle (I was excited about them, too). Panther jumped and splashed and played non-stop, taking advantage of the whole adventure. We also had a big, young, floppy puppy named Avena from @aarcs. Avena was the die-hardest pup of the gaggle. She continued on higher after the planned hike was complete and helped search for fossils. She wasn’t useful in the actual search, but her presence was good for morale and we found many. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, fostering, or adopting these organizations are great places to start (or go to the website of your local shelter for opportunities). Thank you to everyone who got up early and drove far far away to support this project.

This is Oleander. She’s 4 years old. I’m told she’s seven pounds, but when she holds onto my arm for an airplane ride, her mass is nearly imperceptible. Oleander (unknowingly) left her comfortable foster care to join me for a day of paddling. The plan was set: paddle to dog island, picnic, galavant. Alas, as soon as the kayak was unloaded and carried (with no help from Oleander) down to the water’s edge, the serene lake had changed its demeanor to include howling wind and white caps. Oleander got her dry land paddling certificate, but wholeheartedly opted out of testing for the next level in the certification this day. She was shaking like a leaf in a Nor’easter and I wasn’t feeling like traumatizing a small dog, so we (I) lugged the vessel back up the hill to the car and set off on a new plan: hike to dog ridge, picnic, galavant. Oleander seemed happy and relaxed to be packed up the quiet mountainside. Well, quiet except for my obnoxious sounding bear calls - I didn’t want to scare her by telling her there are bears everywhere this time of year, so I didn’t tell her the bear calls were bear deterring calls. We saw four grizzly bears this day, but none from on trail (all from the car) - the bear [deterring] call works almost all the time. Oleander disappeared a few times on the way back to her foster. It’s a strange, indescribable feeling when you know you are the temporary guardian of a dog but you can’t see that dog. The first couple times that she was missing in the car, I pulled over and searched. Each time I found her underneath my seat in the tiny dark space. There’s got to be a better place to exist for a lovely small pup. If you know someone who would love a considerate tiny being like Oleander, let them know she’s available for adoption at @pawsitivematchrescue in Calgary. #adoptable Thank you Scout & Onyx for supporting this home-finding project.

This is Prim. She just turned one year old. Prim is a relatively large puppy, but she is sweet and calm and reserved. She’s a bit... unmotivated (which could be read as clumsy or lazy, but I wouldn’t say that), which may contribute to her desire to refrain from physical activities that require much exertion (like hiking and getting into a car). Prim’s foster human informed me that Prim doesn’t go on long walks (usually less than 20 minutes). Not because Prim doesn’t have the opportunity to go on longer walks, but because Prim doesn’t have the desire to go on longer walks. It’s a good idea to trust the foster human, so I left the planned 10km hike un-checked in my notebook. Instead, Prim came for a custom driving/walking tour comprised of my favorite top-places-that-can-be-gotten-to-by-short-walks walks. Being tied to Prim is about the same as I imagine it is to be tied to a donkey... I imagine it to be great fun as long as our desired velocity vectors* match exactly (*a phrase which here simply means arrows drawn with specific sizes (representing speed) and directions (representing direction)). Prim seemed to be thinking the same thing about being tied to me: that it’s great fun in the same way that being tied to a donkey is great fun. We each made small compromises on both components of our desired velocity for a collection of many tiny walks in the mountains. I brought species appropriate food for each of us, but after finishing her snacks, Prim ate a third of my PB&J croissant without asking if I was going to finish it (I was going to finish it). She hunched to peer from the car window at every opportunity and judged her situation constantly. She didn’t say anything, which I think meant something like [these windows are too short for me to peer and judge from comfortably]. If you know someone who is as keen to hike as my lovely aunt Sandra back in New Brunswick and Prim (both are not really), let them know about her (Prim). She’s available for a life time of sharing short walks and sandwiches. #adoptable @aarcs Thank you to Prim’s foster human and to Gregory (the human) & Catsby (the cat) in Sacramento for supporting this project.

A photo of an old dog on his umpteen dozenth kayak trip (a term which here means this is not his first kayak trip). Beans takes his outdoor time as seriously as we all should. While kayaking may be his favorite geriatric adventure, there are other adventures which seem to satisfy him (such as laying anywhere on the ground with a human at his side). He’s always looking for new ideas - in case your geriatric dog wants to share any. #geriatricadventure

This is Craft. She’s between one and two years old. Craft was a little anxious about the situation she found herself in yesterday as she was heading somewhere (she didn’t know where) in a car with someone she didn’t know. She vocalized her feelings. When dogs are anxious, they usually don’t want snacks, but Craft likes to eat when she’s nervous. I tossed a small ration of kibble in the back and she set to work to find it. (She reminds me of someone else I know who likes to eat more than preserve life and limb). Craft and I tried three hikes before we found one that we agreed upon. We both enjoyed the open trail (so we’d have a bit of warning before walking into any creatures) and water features. Craft liked the selection of rodents along the trail (chipmunks, pikas, and alarming marmots). She watched them quietly with laser focus while I admired the flowers nostalgic of past times in Canada when we’ve had summer. We sat next to the creek for a bit at every good section. We climbed up to a snow patch and took in the sights of the valley. Craft was neither interested nor put-off by me. She accepted my role as driver and snack provider while we spent the day tethered. On the drive back to her foster, Craft’s anxiety (and hunger) had waned. She rode calmly and napped. She’s curious and driven and smarter than the average domestic dog. She only rarely releases a hair from her body; great for detectives who want to bring their dog to work but don’t want to contaminate the scene. If you know someone who would appreciate and love all that Craft has, please let them know she’s available for adoption @aarcs in Calgary. Thank you Kerry Spavor in Calgary for bringing Craft out and Matt Scobel in Canmore for fuelling this adventure.

This is Sadie. She’s two years old. She’s enthusiastic and sweet. Sadie came for a mountain drive today. We made an attempt at a trial I’ve attempted before. Today made 0-2 successes on that trail. There’s a creek crossing right off that I was prepared for today, but Sadie said it’s too cold (or too deep or too rushing..; I’m not a great listener). So we made our way up a mountain side nearby to smell wildflowers (here in the wild, just “flowers”) and eat wild strawberries (here in the wild, just “strawberries“) and then climbed a rock glacier (the road from here was blocked by bighorn sheep anyway). Sadie watched the sheep calmly from our aerial perspective, but she nearly removed us both from the rock pile when she saw a chipmunk (we were tethered at the torsos). We somehow survived the presence of the little critter and made it back to the car. As we shared a sandwich in the car, three grizzly cubs led their mom up the popular rock glacier trail. I warned them of the pesky chipmunk. Sadie watched the bears quietly from inside the car while I took note of my good fortune (sometimes timing really is everything). Once all the critters (big and small) were off the road, we meandered back through the mountains to Canmore where Sadie met Beans (she likes him) and her super foster human (she likes him, too). #fosteringsaveslives If you know someone who would love an eager and happy pup who likes bears and doesn’t trust rodents, let them know about this bright eyed pup. She’s available for adoption from @pawsitivematchrescue in Calgary. #adoptable Thank you John Smiley in Calgary for being an incredible foster human to Sadie (check her Sadie feed on Twitter: JohnSmiley), for a Sadie delivery, and for fueling more of this project of strange adventures.