My Active Puppy Austin
I knew from the beginning that he was going to be an active dog.
It was January 2015. Mia and I jumped into the car and headed to Dixmont, Maine- a three hour trek north. Destination: Wassookeag Retrievers, birthplace of Brady and now Austin. It was a typical January day, snow on the roads, bitter cold temperatures and gale force winds.
We arrived to meet Dave and Susan, who I hadn’t seen in 13 years and it was as if time had stopped. Their kennel is more of a beautiful farmstead in the Maine woods, set among lush pine trees, but with beautiful open grassy fields for the pups to play...for us, on this cold January day, they were windswept with drifts piled high.
Austin, they told me was going to be the perfect match. Gregarious, outgoing, confident, playful, so sure of himself and a bit of a daredevil. Sounded great to me!
Like I said, I knew from the beginning that he was going to be an active dog.
The car ride home
Awake, alert, chatty, antsy--this pup was ready to go. About half way home, we stopped at a rest area so he could do his business. The air was biting cold. I mean freeze your face off…..he managed to love every minute of it….as his leash was stretched to the end and he romped and froliced in the snow as if he was a little boy on Christmas morning.
And so it started, this pup’s never ending desire to be outside and to play.
By February, Austin, Brady and I had settled into a routine….one in which I rarely slept for more than a couple of hours. He loved his crate, but he loved being outside more. The winter of 2015 had a record amount of snowfall and it made going outside challenging (did I mention it was also sub zero on countless occasions).
I needed a solution, because being outside playing with this young pup was getting harder and harder by the minute. Fortunately, my dear friend arrived one morning, snow blower in the back of his truck and proceeded to make a maze of trails around my yard. With over 3 feet of snow firmly packed on the ground, he created an intricate network of inescapable trails that lead only to the front door and our Austin hamster wheel like maze was complete.
Austin and CBD
It was about this time, I had been really experimenting with CBD for Brady, and with Austin’s lack of focus on anything other than a ball or running at full speed around his maze, I needed to do something to reign in some of this nervous energy. Trust me it wasn't just the evening zoomies, this dog was 110% all the time.
It was purely by chance I gave Austin one of Brady’s biscuits. He was four months old, just beginning puppy school and the at home training was not going so well. But the day he had one of my treats, he settled, focused and we actually got sit/stay accomplished! It was the last thing I expected, as CBD was really only being looked at to help with a normal inflammatory response, but it was then I realized, free radical damage and oxidative stress can be anything that keeps the body from the status quo, that state of balance.
I started Austin on the same regime I was giving Brady and things were definitely calming down. He still had all his puppy-ness but I had a dog that focused, listened and was learning.
Fast forward to the fall, by now Austin was a regular visitor to the hiking trails and was really well behaved. He was ready for something new, and to take his training and our love for outdoors to the next level. It was about this time we began off leash walks, hikes, and trail runs in Vaughan Woods (South Berwick, Maine). I worked on commands and repetition that would keep him safe, close by and focused. These are the same things that allow him to be respectful when we are out playing in the mountains in Washington.
As Austin’s matured, our active lifestyle has increased tenfold. Austin has accompanied me on some amazing overnight hiking adventures, high alpine lake day hikes, trips to the Oregon coast, as well as joining me on long runs as I continue to train for off road ultra-marathons. As we’ve expanded our repertoire of adventures, I’ve needed to curate a range of products that best suit his health and wellbeing.
Functional Oil Development
Over the last 18 months, I began experimenting with adding additional herbs and botanical ingredients that would complement the CBD I was giving him. With that in mind, and the other needs so many owners, I had began formulating a range of products that would incorporate these other ingredients to help offset the need states that many people look to CBD to solve.
This past winter and then spring, after much experimentation, I launched our functional biscuit and tincture line addressing not only Austin’s active lifestyle needs, but the needs of pets with separation anxiety and stress, hip and joint issues, as well as addressing the needs of senior dogs. With our Active Recovery formula, and the ingredients incorporated in it, I know Austin will be at the ready each and every morning as we venture out on our latest activity.
My final thoughts...
Over the last few months during COVID, it’s been an interesting and insightful time. Sometimes the road has been wide-open and easy and others it’s like walking on a tightrope. But most of the time I walk a fine balance between the two and continue to challenge, think outside the box, and create some amazing memories.
So, when you can’t reach me, and I’m offline….it’s that Austin and I have taken to the trails, and some days we just run, no watch, no plan….just hit the trails, get a bit muddy, laugh out loud or in Austin’s case joyfully bark at everything and be so ever grateful for everything we have.