On October 19, 2010 I moved from the US to The Netherlands. This is a love story many years in the making.

Coyote (Temporarily) in The United States

My house in the USA is in Charles Town, WV. As I am now back here for a month to get the final details sorted out for my move in October, I figured I’d better keep up with the walking I started doing in Groningen, or else I’d be very sorry when I got back. The one really great thing about being back here is being re-united with my dog, whose name is Daisy (I did not name her, she came with this name and it doesn’t fit her at all. “Monster” would be much better!). She’s 5 years old, extremely intelligent – as in “can work the windows in my car and open my oven and the garden gates”, intelligent – and very energetic. She was recently diagnosed with spondylosis, which is a tragedy for her and heartbreaking for me, but I’ve been doing research and …anyway, the one thing she needs to do a lot of is “walking”. Same as me!

I’ve always known that the Appalachian Trail crosses the mountain I drive over every time I go to Virginia, but I never actually stopped to check it out. Today, I dressed the dog in her spanky new purple padded harness (that matches her collar, and which was also a gift from a perfect stranger when I posted about her spondylosis diagnosis) and took off for the Trail. We parked at the trailhead, and set off. It’s gorgeous! We met a couple with a big Boxer mix that was loose, and since Im never sure about her with other dogs, I just stopped on the trail and waited. The woman went and collected her dog, and once she had a grip on it I called to her, asking if it was male or female. “Male”. We have pretty good luck with boy dogs, so we came ahead and sure enough Daisy didn’t try to eat him. His name was Otis, he was very wiggly and happy, and he was wearing a screaming orange scarf. Smart people. They told me there wasn’t anyone on the trail ahead that had dogs, so I let Daisy go.

She was the perfect trail dog, never getting too far ahead or out of my sight, waiting when I called for her to wait, always keeping an eye on me to make sure she knew where I was. She’d venture off to the side a little, but never more than 50 feet, even when chasing a squirrel. She really enjoyed it. We did meet another set of -dogless- people, Samoans. The man was HUGE. Daisy was petrified of him and leaped away like a deer when he took a step toward her. I felt bad, cos he clearly liked dogs, so I explained that she’s very much afraid of men. The lady made distressed noises, and he looked sad, and then did the right thing – ignored her entirely. We passed them going down the trail and coming back up, so she got to meet the scary big man twice and not get hurt, so I hope she’s filed that one away in her head. Most people really aren’t that awful, after all.

In all we did two miles of the trail, one out and one back, and on the way back I found that Otis’s people had left a bottle of water and a little bowl on the side of the trail (trail magic!) so I poured Daisy a little bit, figuring they wouldn’t mind…because I was a complete MORON and didn’t bring any water and it wasn’t like I was taking it for myself, though I really needed some.The dog comes first. I hadn’t planned on walking that far. Next time, I know better. Stupid me.

Anyway it was a lot of fun and I think we will do that again regularly – with water! since fall is coming and the trees will be simply stunning soon. And it’s good for both of us.


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