Do you listen to your dog?

Last week I was preparing for a hike up Knifes Edge to Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin. My son and I were going to do the hike together. He doesn’t hike but he’s an athlete so I knew he was fit enough to make the climb. Knifes Edge and even the climb up to Paloma is quite daunting.  But ,we were totally up for the challenge and to some degree we wanted to be intimidated enough that we felt like we were facing our fears and overcoming them once we reached the top.

Our dogs are a huge part of our family. They spend time with us every day, all day. The day before the climb my blue nose pitbull, Titan, was especially clingy with my son Brady. They always sit on the couch together but this time was different. He was literally on top of Brady and would not leave his side. He had his head connected to Brady all night. We didn’t think much about it but  Brady did make a comment that Titan was very clingy that particular night.

We went to bed as usual But Titan didn’t take his usual spot at the foot of my bed like he does every single night. Instead, he laid on top of me with his head in my neck. It was hard to sleep but I was happy that he was snuggling with me. Throughout the entire night he was on me in someway. At one point I had to roll over because my back hurt and when I did that he crawled up into the crease of my legs with his head on my hip. Shortly after he was back on top of me with his head by my head.

I know he loves me and we spend a lot of time together but it was very abnormal for him to be that close to me all night. Literally his entire body on top of mine. I didn’t sleep well.

The next day  Brady and I headed up to Katahdin. We dropped our dogs off at my moms so she could watch them while we were away. We said our goodbyes to them and off we drove. We stayed overnight and woke up very early to climb the following morning.

Our hike started off  very uneventful and  Brady  did a wonderful job keeping up.

Once we got above tree line and started our climb to Paloma we noticed how windy it became. We were the first ones on the trail so there was nobody in front of us. We continued to climb despite the challenges of sustained 55 mph winds with stronger gusts (gusts to 65). The winds were so strong that they were pushing us sideways. We literally could not stand and were being forced to sidestep from the power of the wind. We were leaning on rocks to avoid falling. As we continued to climb up to Paloma the winds got worse and increased in strength.

Once we saw knifes edge we were in awe at the beauty and the sheer technicality the climb would require. I think both Brady and I were thinking what have we gotten ourselves into (due to the wind)? Without the wind the climb is extremely doable. But with the wind we would be taking a risk trying to cross knife’s edge. How would we be able to stay solidly balanced on 3 to 4 foot wide rock ridges with nothing on the side of us to lean on or catch us if we’re blown sideways? So We both decided it would be better to turn around and try another day. A day with more reasonable wind.

As we were heading down we saw a couple groups of hikers that were not far behind us and then we did not run into any hikers which we thought was odd. There should have been more hikers, It was early in the day. We later found out that knife’s edge is closed when winds reach 55 mph or higher. The trail gets closed for safety. The trail closed at some point after we left in the morning.

As we got back into the car I thought about my last night at home with Titan. I told  Brady what happened that night. I told him that Titan was literally on top of me with his head in my neck crease all night. It was not his normal Sleeping behavior. I had forgotten how clingy he was with Brady on that same night but Brady reminded me. We both agreed that Titan knew the climb was going to be too dangerous to complete safely and he was trying to communicate that to us. He was worried about us.

In the hustle and bustle of life it can be easy to overlook these moments when our animals are trying to communicate with us at our level. There is no doubt in my mind that Titan feared for my son and I’s safety with our upcoming climb. It is yet just another reminder of how incredible animals are and how deeply interconnected we are with them. 

When we got back that night we picked up our dogs and went home. Titan sat with Brady  on the couch near him but not smothering him like the night before. Then, that evening Titan assumed his normal sleeping routine with me. He spent the night at the foot of my bed sleeping soundly and quietly. 

Life gets busy, even for me as an animal communicator. It is easy for all of us to fail to notice small signs from the universe and from our own pets. 

So, please remember to be more present, stop and look around, and take the time to notice the ways your animals communicate with you. They are here as our partners, our guides, and our protectors.

Soon, Brady and I will revisit Katahdin and we will climb knife’s edge to Baxter Peak in a day much less windy. And we’ll make sure to check in with Titan and see what he thinks. 

 Do you have a similar story to share? Please leave tell me in the comment section if you do. 

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