Her coloring brown and black. A Rottweiler mix. 40lbs at most, or much less. Her gait is splayed, gingerly moving her paws with each step. A slight shiver, from both cold and exhaustion. Or plain lack of energy. She came over to sniff and lay down next to us while we’re cooking on the concrete platform in front of the wilderness hut.
She knew to keep a safe distance away but close enough to get the leftover. Was she someone’s? She wagged her tail when Gabriel parked the car by the hut and opened the trunk.

She had that worried look, like my previous dog. Not the smiley happy-go-lucky face of a puppy but one who knew that life’s not full of rainbows and unicorn. Life’s tough. It’s almost more cruel if she did have a home before because then she knows what having a full tummy and a warm bed was like. Those who live on the streets all their lives didn’t know any better, had no expectations of a full belly, a shelter, a kind human. Street dogs know to stay away from humans except to steal and scavenge the heaps of trash they leave behind.

It’s 11 degree Celcius outside. Dews are forming outside our sleeping bags. No doubt she’s shivering outside. Gabriel made her a straw bed under the concrete platform, away from the wind. Hopefully she stayed somewhat warm there.

We found her on a pile of straw next to the tent in the morning. I gave her some peanuts and the empty honey jar for her to clean up. When a group of hikers came by, she quickly went over to them. A smart move. They probably have more food to share than we do. By the time we finished packing up, she was gone.

Two days later we saw the same dog on our way down from Bobotov Kuk, roughly 20km away from where we camped, over rough terrain on the other side of the mountain pass. She looked pretty happy, smiling in the sun, endearing herself to other hikers. Maybe I was wrong about pitying her. Maybe this was the life she chose: a life of adventure in the mountains.

Stay wild, little one.

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