I am convinced every dog is good for something. This can be applied to any species. I commonly hear it when talking about horses, because there are so many horses that are looking for homes that can use them for some type of work or activity. But, let’s go back to dogs. Like horses, there are plenty of dogs throughout the US and the world that are looking for homes. They have ended up in shelters for various reasons, and they are in need of a human to show them guidance and give them commitment.
My dog, Walden, is a rescued dog that my partner and I acquired from a local SPCA shelter in upstate New York. He was in the shelter because one of his owners passed away and the other was physically incapable of caring for him. Once I met him, I immediately noticed that he loved everybody and was very eager to please. He made eye contact with people automatically when asked to do something like sit or wait, and I could tell that there were plenty of gears cranking in his brain while he figured out what he was being asked to do. Months later, I have come to know him very well. He is a beagle-German shepherd mix, so I have used that knowledge to find what activities he enjoys the most. Just like me, we share a love for the outdoors and, more specifically, for hiking and running trails.
Walden and I have been hiking different sections of the Finger Lakes Trail, with the goal of finishing the entire trail by the time I graduate veterinary school. There are about 550 miles total, and so far we are about 40 miles into it. We have some ways to go! This is the ideal exercise for Walden, as it allows him to feel useful, use his energy, and use his amazing nose to sniff out the multitude of creatures that have passed by. As fits his beagle heritage, he transforms into an adrenaline-rich hunting machine when he scents a New England cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus transitionalis)!