Sometimes, the best way to view a situation is through the eyes of a dog. Our canine companions are always up for an adventure. They make the most out of anything, and really appreciate the little things in life. Although people are usually the ones training dogs, I would argue that we can learn just as many lessons from them. This realization hit me during a trip to Costa Rica, where I made a friend who I will never forget.
I awoke in the morning to the sounds of my guide getting our supplies ready for a trek. We were setting out for a short walk through the village, which would then lead us to the mountain range. I ran into some fellow travelers that were staying at my hostel along the way, who happened to be joined by a couple of four-legged friends. After catching up, I said my goodbyes and we begin walking again, but it seemed as though we had picked up a straggler. One of the dogs decided to leave his pack and accompany us. The dog followed us through town, along a rustic dirt path, and even up a steep hill entering my guide’s property. “How long will this crazy dog follow us?” my guide asked, as we left the horse to begin our trek through the jungle.
After measuring me up a bit, my guide declared that we would have a bit of an adventure. We began to hike through a path that he had not taken anybody else on before…and the dog followed. As I slid forward through this path, grabbing on to whatever branch I could, the dog carried on… he made it look so easy! We eventually made our way to a raging river which we crossed, only to be met with a waterfall whose rugged face we had to climb. As I grabbed onto each well fastened root, thinking that I may have bit off more than I could chew, I looked behind me and saw that the dog still followed. Seeing his persistence kept me motivated. I realized that I should just focus on enjoying this incredible experience, like my furry little friend. Exhausted but feeling accomplished, we made it to the guide’s ranch six hours later. My newfound pal and I bunked in a hammock, swaying into a sound sleep.
Our next day came too soon, and brought with it some challenges. We discovered that on top of a four hour trek out of the reserve, our ATV was busted and needed to be repaired. Fortunately, my guide knew what was wrong with the ATV and told me to carry on as he got to work. I set forth on this daunting four hour trek, though not alone. I still had my little friend by my side. The dog would run up in front of me and stop, looking back periodically to make sure I was still following. Eventually, my guide met up with me with his freshly repaired ATV. I jumped on the ATV with little hesitation. My body was tired and the thought of sitting the rest of the trip was a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, there was no room for the dog. I said my somber goodbyes, and hopped in the back. As we blazed out of the reserve and down the asphalt, I looked back and saw the dog running, trying to keep up. I continued looking back, watching him become ever more distant, until he was gone. He had found a new home and had a grand adventure. I will never forget that Perro Loco (Crazy Dog), and all the lessons he taught me.
*Edited by Ryan Roberts