Since long before we bought a van and traveled the country for a year, Niko and I have been dog-crazy. We love dogs, but have been limited to loving on the pups of others for way too long. The idea of getting a dog right before leaving on a big adventure wasn’t a wise decision for us, so we spent ten months playing with every dog we could get our paws on. There was sweet Philia in Joe’s Valley, lovable Aztlan in Squamish, Heidi’s pack of four-legged family members, our darling Daila in Denver, Oso the furry bear buddy, floppy-eared Watson in Seattle, and so many more pups that I totally lured into my van.
With our yearlong adventure finally winding down, Niko and I decided that we wanted to adopt ourselves a pup for Christmas. Jillian from Tenders and Trails connected me with a wonderful woman, Cathy, in Mississippi who helped Jillian adopt her malamutes. I told Cathy I was interested in rescuing a blue heeler mix pup sometime in December, but it only took her a few days before she started tempting me with beautiful heelers who needed homes. It was hard, but I resisted the first few dogs – we weren’t ready yet, and if we were going to jump the gun, we wanted to find the one.
One morning while Niko and I were sleeping on the side of a road in Chattanooga, I woke up to a photo Cathy sent me of two little six-week old abandoned pups. The photo was focused more on a black and white pup with pretty features, but I was instantly drawn to the speckly little lady snoozing in the back. I rolled over, prodded Niko’s sleeping bag, and said “I promise this is going to be worth poking your head out.” And it was.
I told Cathy right away that we wanted the little speckled gal, and we started working out how we could get our hands on the puppy we had already named Amble. We made plans to leave Tennessee early to drive out to Mississippi and pick up Amble. It was a 13 hour detour, but it was worth every mile. As soon as we met Amble for the first time, we were in love. Cathy armed us with a bag full of food, well wishes, and records of the vaccinations she had received, and we loaded Amble into the van for the long drive to Florida.
Amble has been an angel (well, mostly). She adores traveling in the van, and falls asleep as soon as the engine is running. She is a totally daddy’s girl, and follows Niko around wherever he goes. On our second day together, Niko taught her how to “sit” – and now she knows “leave it” “stay” and “come”. Our lifestyle is taking a pretty drastic change; it used to be all about us, all the time, but now our main focus every moment of the day is on Amble. She’s a lot of work, and will continue to be, but she’s the best thing that ever happened to us.
And she’s going to make one hell of an adventure dog. She needs to finish her vaccinations before she can become a proper crag dog and play in the woods, but we’re giving her a hefty dose of exploration every day. She’s met big dogs, little dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, and so many adoring humans. Amble already loves the rock gym, conquered her first set of stairs, and even crashed a wedding with us on a farm.
She might be a little rascally when we haven’t tired her out properly, but she’s the sweetest pup in the world – I hope y’all like puppy pictures, because you’re going to see a LOT over the next decade.
I’m also taking bets right now: How much do you think Amble will weigh when she grows up? Blue heelers usually max out between 30-35 lbs, and at about eight weeks old, she currently weighs 7.2 lbs. She isn’t a purebred, and I think she has American bulldog in her based on the way she sits and the shape of her rump. I think she’s going to weigh 38, Niko says 30.3, and all the other votes fall in between the two. Winner gets a milkshake!
PS: Thank you so much to Cathy for helping us rescue Amble. She was so wonderful and allowed us to complete our little adventure family. If you’re ever looking to rescue a dog, Cathy is so dedicated to helping dogs in need, and I would highly recommend getting in contact with her to save a dog who needs a forever home!