Pointers from Piedra
Story and Photos Contributed by Ruffwear Ambassador Krissy Moehl
They say, whoever they is, that the right dog will come into your life when you are ready for it. For 10 years I talked, and dreamed, and thought about having a dog. A four-legged bud to run trails with, a pup to accompany me on road trips, and a fuzzy body to warm my feet while I worked from home. Last fall as I closed in on a full 10 years of longing for a dog, I put a Christmas deadline on myself: if I didn’t find a pup by Christmas 2016 then I needed to stop talking about it and realize that I really wasn’t living a life that could accommodate a dog. Sounds harsh, but 10 years is a long time of traveling the world, moving homes – 11 times in 11 years – and balancing a schedule that was anything but dog friendly. But, I now own a home that has access to trails. I moved closer to where I grew up and am spending a Local Year getting to know my region. The timing felt right. I wanted to have that I just knew it when I saw her moment. And I did.
The fall was full of dog searches, Humane Society visits and even approaching stray dogs, “Are you my pup?” I knew I wanted a girl dog. It’d be great if she was at least a year old. I was happy to find a mixed breed, small to medium sized. Her name, Piedra, came to me about a month before we met. I was running down the Fragrance Lake trail, which is along the Chuckanut 50k course. While bouncing over the rocks my mind wandered along a spaghetti-like train of thought. What would it be like to share the trails with my pup? What will she look like? What will I call her? And as I landed firmly on a rock step, it hit me. Piedra. Piedra means rock or stone in Spanish, and is a feminine noun. I received a minor in Spanish at the University of Washington and liked the connection. Add my love of trail running, the rocks that make up the technical trails where I live, and the stable visual a rock offers. I felt like I found a perfect name. When people told me about owning a dog and the impact that unconditional love and consistency a dog has in one’s life, my little rock, Piedra, felt appropriate.
And sure enough little PD came into my world December 15, 2016, ten days before Christmas. After a somewhat rough adoption process that resulted in huge confirmation that she IS my dog, we are now 6 months in and both learning every day. I started a list early on of “Pointers from Piedra” because I felt like this little girl was constantly teaching me life lessons, sometimes reinforcing ones I had learned from my long runs and other new perspectives that definitely needed to be added to my life. Three of my favorites pointers are:
1) It’s not always, it’s just right now. There are fits of barking. There are sweet cuddling moments. There have been diarrhea runs. Vet visits. Crazy running in circles. Long naps on my feet. Nipping at my hands and heels. Wet nose wake ups in the morning. A constant shadow as she follows me from room to room. She is a great reminder that IT is not always, it is just right now. This too will pass. This is a moment to be treasured. All lessons I need to be reminded of as they reinforce the importance of presence, especially for a person that is not very patient.
2) Consistency. PD is a smart dog and with the tiniest bit of consistency she learns new tricks, good (or bad) behaviors, and likewise is consistent in her needs. This lesson rings through from my childhood reminding me of the importance my mother placed on consistency in anything we pursued.
3) Curiosity. Approach the world with curiosity. Everything is a wonder. I picked up PD in December and first introduced her to snow and mud. Now that it is spring moving in to summer she has discovered creeks to cool herself as the temperatures rise. She saw me catch my first fish. She learned to swim in her little PFD. She sniffs everything. She barks when I hug people because she wants to know them too. Her ears perk up at a distant sound and she tilts her head this way and that when I talk to her, trying desperately to understand. Her curiosity is inspiring.
The right dog came in to my life and I was finally ready. And when her photo popped up on Facebook, I had to go see. When I walked off the elevator and she ran out the door to greet me, barking and piddling in excitement along the way, I just knew she was my pup.
If you are curious where the D in PD comes from, after Piedra met her grandparents she secured the 2nd name, Dura, thanks to her grandpa who also speaks Spanish. He knows that the adjective follows the the noun and therefore Dura, which means hard, in Piedra Dura translates to Hardrock, a very significant running event in my life.
Krissy Moehl is a professional ultra runner, writer, coach, and race director. She and PD live in the Pacific Northwest.