Through a Mutt's Eyes

Through a Mutt's Eyes

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Casey, Jamin

Having lived in the Bozeman area for some 13-odd years, it seems strange (at least to me) that I didn't really see the outdoors until recently.

Of course, I've “seen” the outdoors. I'm not visually challenged—I had just never seen the outdoors until I looked at things through the eyes of my mutt. I never knew, for instance, that the best thing to do on the M trail is to run back and forth, but just a little more forth than back so as to eventually end up at the top. I didn't know that creeks and waterfalls are to be forged and attacked respectively. It had never occurred to me that the butts of fellow hikers, both of the four-legged and the two-legged, were to be sniffed and then chased through the underbrush. You may marvel at my former ignorance, but I assure you that these things, and many more like them, had never crossed my mind.

There may be a few of you out there—never having experienced the outside through the eyes of your own mutt—who are skeptical. Rest assured, before bringing home Tasha, my 75-pound husky/shepherd mix from the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, I would have been foremost among you. I fully understand your hesitance, especially when it comes to the butt-sniffing part. The best rebuttal I can offer is the pure and utter bliss I see in my dog.

You see, although Tasha is content to idly lay about the house most of the day, when she is up in the hills, on the trail, or in the creeks, she experiences nirvana. Her spirit is unfettered; she wanders where she will and does whatever occurs to her. With wild abandon she lives deliberately, deeply, and sucks out all the marrow of life (and the bones she finds along the trail), just as Thoreau said we should.

Watching her mountain revelry, I begin to understand her excitement—the eagerness with which she anticipates the trail. She has tried to tell me many times over. I'm not yet fluent in dog, but I am beginning to think the tail wagging, yelping, and jumping back and forth over the seats means something positive.

So even though I've always enjoyed the outdoors, I'm only just beginning to see them. My goal for this season is to learn how to see the great big outside the way Tasha sees it. So if you happen to run into us, allow me to preemptively apologize for what might otherwise be construed as rude behavior. We'll be sucking marrow and living deeply. I suggest you give it a try, too.

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