Mountain Towns and Dogs

As I mourn the loss of Simon, I’ve been musing a lot about dogs.  In particular, dogs in Nederland.  And its role as a safe haven or refuge for dogs from other states that perhaps are not quite so welcoming.

A friend recently asked me, “How many dogs per people do you think we have in Nederland?”  As I walk the neighborhood with Shawnee, I constantly run into my neighbors with their dogs.  Most have at least two, some even three.  Rare, is the person I meet with no dogs.  We probably have at least as many dogs as people in our town of 1500 people.

There’s something about mountain towns in Colorado and dogs.  They just go together.  Perhaps it’s because we are so recreation-oriented, and it’s great to have a buddy (or two) to share the outdoors with.  Perhaps when you live in the solitude of the woods, it’s just nice to have a happy face and wagging tail to greet you at the door of your cabin in the woods.  We Coloradans just love our 4-legged canine friends.

For a few years, we were a one-dog family.  But as Simon got older, I realized I wanted a second dog.  Our dog-sitter told me something funny a few years ago.  She said her mother told her, “Don’t you know dogs are like tires, you always need a spare!”  And I have to admit, I’m so glad we have Shawnee now.  Shawnee was sick for a couple of days, so we weren’t taking her on her usual evening hike.  Finding it difficult to walk without her, I just didn’t go at all.   I needed the company of the dog by my side.

A Safe Haven

Other states must have learned how much we love our dogs, and how we are always willing to take in more.  Shawnee actually came from Texas.  Summit Dog Rescue group saved her and some other puppies who were in a kill shelter down there.  At three months old, she was adorable.  But Texas shelters are overflowing with dogs like her, with not near enough people willing to adopt them.  She faced a fate of possible death.

Colorado is not just the recipient of dogs from Texas.  Recently, a large number of puppies were rescued from a kill shelter in New Mexico and brought to several shelters up here in Colorado.  I most recently met Jeff from Farfels Rescue and made the acquaintance of puppies they acquired from Roswell, New Mexico.  Jeff explained to me how unique Colorado is in terms of their rescue operations.  It is actually regulated through the state’s Department of Agriculture.  With our love affair for dogs, I’m sure those pups will have homes in no time.

During our eight years here in Nederland, I’ve noticed the dogs seem to live long lives.  It’s not uncommon for dogs to reach 14, 15 and even 16 years of age.  Which is particularly notable, when you consider most of the dogs here are big dogs — adopted for the ability to hike and romp through snow, and typically big dogs don’t live as long.

So, for those rescued pups from Texas and New Mexico, not only have they been given a new lease on life.  But, they are being brought into an environment where they will live happier, longer lives.