A portrait of the dog as a young pup

When my kids were little we adopted a dog. From the New Haven dog pound, she was what you'd call politely, a mixed-breed. More accurately, a mutt. Roxy was a loyal, devoted companion. She loved to hike in the woods. And she got to hike many trails with us, from the Sleeping Giant in Connecticut to the ocean side trails of Acadia, Maine. 

I would love to say I was her favorite hiking companion. But in reality, her favorite hiking - and camping - companion was her best friend Brady. 

Brady

Brady was a standard poodle, and the dog of our best friends with whom we shared many a camping trip. 

In those early days, Roxy was afraid of just about everything she didn't understand. Balls for one. What were those weird things that seemed to move on their own? Another was water. Camping near a lake, she must have wondered why we so willingly jumped into this mysterious substance. Brady, on the other hand, loved swimming. He would jump in to retrieve a stick as many times as your were willing to throw it. 

Well, one time while camping in the Adirondacks, Brady's "dad", our friend Jeff, pretended to be drowning and called for Roxy. She was clearly torn, pacing the shore. But in the end, her devotion to our friend caused her to overcome her fear of the water, and she jumped in and swam to him, "saving" him.

When she returned to the shore,

Roxy

she had the biggest smile on her face! I'll never forget it. 

She never became quite the swimmer Brady was, but she wasn't afraid of the water anymore. She and Brady have dipped their paws in water from Lake Wintergreen in Hamden, CT to the icy Saco River in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And I like to think that they are running and splashing to this day in some heavenly lake chasing sticks - but free of balls!