Dog in Tow: Wombat the Adventure Dog
With dog in tow, much of the day is spent teaching Wombat where he needs to walk and redirecting his play drive.
On breaks, we head into the water or climb along the cliffs where I teach him to climb onto my shoulders when it’s too high for him to jump.
The pinnacle of all of these moments though is finding Wombat curled up in the shade, unconscious.
In times of unconsciousness, I don’t have to wonder if he’s chewing on a toy or a shoe, or stop him rummaging through rubbish full of parasites. I can spend time repairing equipment without him tugging, or I can mend my feet without him licking.
So what on Earth provoked me to get a dog?
The benefits of having a dog outweigh the energy toll, and the additional weight of food and water.
As a solo female adventurer, the highest priority of what I want from a dog is safety. Aside from an obvious visual deterrent, the Blue Heeler is a protective breed.
Since he was three months old he has sounded warning barks when something approaches our tent, and bares his hackles at strangers who approach too closely.
Yes, logistics have become exponentially more complicated regarding border crossings and day to day activities, but having someone watching my back has vastly improved my mental state.
The best thing about having an adventure dog though are the moments of seamless communication and companionship. Below the surface of a glance shared between us is an entire conversation – whether it be checking in on each other, a call for play, a warning, or a guilty omission that I’m up for a new pair of shoes.
While all this is challenging in an environment as inhospitable as the desert, it’s also far more enjoyable sharing an experience than reflecting on it alone.
Story by: Lucy Barnard