Friday, April 06, 2012
By Ted Kerasote
Ted was on a rafting trip on the San Juan river with friends when a young stray dog showed up at their campsite. The dog was thin and hungry but seemed friendly and approachable. When it came time to move on, Ted and his friends decided to bring the dog with them. And so the dog, whom Ted named Merle, became a very important part of Ted's life.
Having lived wild for so long, Merle had a very stong independent streak. He wanted to be outside, a lot. But he also enjoyed the comforts of a warm bed and shelter from the cold. At first, Ted tried to convince Merle to use a very nice, insulated dog house that Ted set up for him. But Merle had a fear of confined places and refused to use the dog house. So Ted put in a dog door and life was perfect for Merle. Now he could come and go as he pleased, indulging his need to hunt and prowl and then come home to a safe, warm house when he wanted.
Ted and Merle led a very active lifestyle, hunting, skiing, mountain biking and Merle was there for most of it, even the skiing. Merle had his own version of skiing which he hugely enjoyed, sliding down hill on his tummy like an otter.
Together the two of them had an almost perfect lifestyle, especially Merle. About the only cloud in Merle's life was when Ted had to leave for one of the trips required by his job. Merle would be all sad and gloomy when he realized Ted was preparing to go, but as Ted latter discovered when he came back unexpectedly, Merle continued on with his carefree ways, making his daily rounds, greeting the local dogs and humans in the small mountain village in which he lived, acting as if he hadn't a care in the world. So much for the image of the sad dog, laying by his master's door, pining for Ted's return! That was Merle, though, loving yet independent. And his independence was supported and nurtured by Ted, who was fortunate enough to live in an area where free-roaming dogs were accepted and rural enough to be safe from most man-made dangers.
I enjoyed this loving memoir about Merle. He was a special dog, smart, independent, but also loving and loyal. It was fun reading about their good times together and brought back fond memories of good times I have spent with my dogs, both past and present. I would think most dog lovers would also enjoy this book.