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Summer Is Tough on a Dog in the Mountains

I’m miserable.”

“I know, Fido, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.”

“We could go for a car ride, and you could turn on the air conditioner.”

“Fido, that’s a fine idea as far as it goes. But like many of your fine ideas, it doesn’t make any sense. I think we’re just going to have to deal with this heat as best we can, like we do each summer.”

“I always forget that we have summer.”

“Sure we do, Old Boy. We have two seasons up here. July and August, then winter.”

“I miss winter.”

“I know. I do, too. The summer days are a little too warm for me, and I’m not wearing a double-layer, red fur coat around all the time, either. At least humans can adjust their coats. So I sympathize, Fido, I really do.”

“There’s no winter anywhere?”

“Now that you mention it, there is still plenty of snow way up high, in the backcountry, but that doesn’t mean there will be cool temperatures. It’s part of what makes living in the mountains so interesting.”

“That, and no fleas.”

“Yeah, no fleas. But hey! There’s plenty of trout!”

“We’re going fishing?”

“Fido, I think that would be a fine idea, don’t you? We could drive up to Mosquito Flat, and that’s at 10,000 feet, then walk into Little Lakes Valley and maybe bring back some dinner.”

“Will there be snow?”

“Last year, even as late as August, there was still ice at Chickenfoot Lake. Let’s go on up there! It’s still early and these are the long days. And on the way, I could turn on the car air conditioner to cool you off a little bit.”

“Hey hey hey hey hey!”

“All the fishing stuff is already in the car, now that we moved the skis out of the back.”

“You don’t mind me asking what technique we’re going to use, right?”

“I’m not catching your drift, you big red lug.”

“The way I remember it, if we want to stay hungry, you will use your fly rod and catch nothing. But if we use you spinning gear, with just a couple of worms, we can have dinner.”

“You have a fine memory, such as it is, Fido. Are you panting because you’re hot, or because you are all jazzed about goin’ fishing?”

“How would I know? I am a dog. Dogs don’t make distinctions.”

“The only thing that might hold us up is if we get a lightning storm, so I’m going to check the weather forecast before we leave. This will take just a second.”

“In the meanwhile, I will just lie here in the kitchen, getting cool on the tile floor.”

“I have bad news, Fido. There are storms in the forecast, and if you think you’re warm now, just wait until a bolt of lightning hits the granite in Little Lakes Valley right next to you. I’m sorry, Mr. Beeg.”

“Oh well. I can deal with this warm weather, I suppose. It’s going to get up all the way to 70 degrees or so today. I’ll just stay in the kitchen and be miserable and wait for winter.”

“On the other paw, Fido, maybe we could take a ride, huh? I could turn on the air conditioner in the car.”

“Will the storms last forever?”

“Nothing in the mountains is forever, Fido. I’ll bet we’ll be up there fishing the high-country lakes any day now.”

“Hey hey hey hey hey!”

 Fido is a red, 70-pound chow/retriever mix. He and his human pal, George Shirk, live in Mammoth Lakes, at 8,000 feet. Fido is 9 years old. In dog years, that makes him the exact same age as his human.

Main article photo by: Lori A. Cheung, The Pet Photographer