Getting to Know Cajun
Story and photos contributed by Ruffwear Ambassador Steph Davis
My dog Cajun is some kind of mix of all sorts of herding dogs, and she was found starving on the reservation at Montezuma Creek as a puppy. So on the one hand, she’s a wild creature who is capable of surviving in an extreme environment. But she’s also my baby and I’m always trying to make sure she’s safe and happy.
Cajun can’t stand it when the herd (us) is separated. She also wants to chase anything that moves, and isn’t super interested in food — food is far more boring than playing. When we’re outside and on the move, she won’t stop to drink water unless everyone stops, because heaven forbid she might get more than 20 feet away from the herd (even though it takes her about 1 second to catch up if she does stop). Since I know this, I have to make a point of stopping at any stream or water crossing when we are hiking together, so she feels like she has the time to stop and drink. Otherwise she literally won’t drink! Cajun is also not a big fan of breakfast (especially if she thinks I might possibly leave the house without her and she has to worry about that, thus becoming unable to focus on things like eating), so I bring lots of treats and her breakfast food when we go on an outing, because she invariably gets hungry later in the day. She’s an extremely smart little creature, but the basic fundamentals of survival (food and water) are not always the first items on her priority list, so I have to make sure that stuff gets covered.
In Moab, where we live, it gets incredibly hot, even in spring and fall. Usually by early May and on through late September, I don’t take Cajun on hikes in the desert unless it’s very early in the morning (like 5 am). I just ask myself if I’d want to do the hike while wearing a fur onesie, and since usually the answer is no, we do something else—mainly swimming for balls in the lake or hiking up in the mountains where it’s much cooler.
Cajun loves chasing balls in the water, but as always when balls are involved, she doesn’t have an off switch, or even the ability to use rational thought, and she wears herself ragged swimming back and forth after the balls. The Ruffwear Float Coat has been really great for her! It saves her a lot of energy since she doesn’t have to work as hard to keep herself afloat while zooming back and forth for the ball, and she will swim farther after balls and can swim longer without getting as exhausted.
As their humans, we have a pretty good idea what makes our own dogs tick and what they want most out of life. As long as we pay attention and take care of all those pesky details, they can focus on the real issues at hand: FUN!
Steph Davis is a professional rock climber, BASE jumper, speaker, and writer. She and Cajun are based in Moab, UT.