The desert has been flirting with spring since mid-March. We’d have three days in a row with high temps of 70 degrees, and then it would be back to below freezing. One morning, in mid-April, we woke up with an inch or two of snow on the ground, which is something I never expected from Moab.
Spring is not only the season of weird weather patterns everywhere; it is also the season of babies. Baby cows and horses slowly start filling the pastures on my way to work, and it seems like almost every other person I know has just acquired a puppy, a kitten, or any other kind of baby mammal. I, personally, happen to be a sucker for puppies. Don’t get me wrong, human babies are cute too, but there is nothing quite like a wrinkled face and a skinny body atop gangly legs and way-too big paws making its way towards you. Puppies make me swoon like nothing else. To me, there is nothing quite like a wriggling puppy licking your face and breathing its sweet puppy breath all over you. Needless to say, I have wanted a puppy of my very own since I left for college (okay, maybe even before then).
Luckily for me, this spring, I got the opportunity to have a puppy of my very own. Sort of. I’m working a 40 day course for Outward Bound, and the Course Director owns a five year old yellow lab (okay, not quite a baby puppy, but almost as good), and obviously couldn’t take him into the backcountry. Thus, Koi became mine for 40 days. Its sort of the perfect situation for me, because the main reason I don’t have a dog is because I don’t currently have the financial means to do so. So, I get to just have fun with a dog who gets his food and treats and vet bills paid for by someone else.
My time with Koi is waning, as his dad will come home in about two weeks. It has been an absolute blast for me to have him this spring. We’ve been hiking, running and biking together all around Moab, on beautiful sunny afternoons and mornings with gale-force winds. His incredibly high energy level and potentially unhealthy addiction to tennis balls have forced me to get outside and tire him out, even when I don’t feel like it. I get to wake up everyday at 6 am to a warm tongue licking my face, and a wagging tail that says “I’m awake, now let’s go outside and play!”. Koi has taken to following me everywhere, and I know I’m going to miss having a constant companion who always seems to know exactly what you need when his dad comes home.
We may think that dogs (or puppies) need us to take care of them, but I think what we really need is for them to take care of us. Puppies provide unconditional love in a world where the front page of the news makes it seem as though that is something that no longer exists. Hopefully, someday soon, I will a snuggly, wiggly, furry little puppy of my own to take care of me and be my constant companion and partner in crime.