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A sweet dog yes, but he’s no Mallowmar

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

It’s my firm belief that every camping or hiking trip will result in a strange or funny story.

I’ve had my share over the years, including, most infamously: “Johnny, don’t pee on that tree ... pee on that one over there!” and “Allright! Straightenerup!” The second was uttered after midnight at a camping trip to General Butler State Park on Derby weekend in 2008.

That night we were stirred from our comfortable sleep by two very large headlights pointing at our tent, and someone getting out, appaarently to give parking directions to the driver of whatever vehicle was lurking out there.

“Allright,” the voice barked at max volume — the better for overcoming the rattle of whatever diesel engine was out there, “straighten

-erup!”

A nice quiet camping experience that was not. But not all camping experiences are necessarily bad. Sometimes, the experience is rather entertaining. I’ll leave the first quote to your imagination.

But last weekend, I celebrated the first weekend of Spring with a camping and hiking trip to Red River Gorge.

As my companion, I took Rufus, our spry 9-year-old mutt, who looks like a smallish German Shepherd.

After our 8-mile hike, Rufus and I relaxed in the campground. It was, at that point, virtually empty, as the other campers were out and about hiking or kayaking or rock climbing.

My campsite was near the trailhead, and several hikers came and went. While I was enjoying my dinner, a fella tromped out of the woods, obviously winded.

He commented on how pretty a dog Rufus is and then paused to think.

“Is that a Mallowmar?”

I looked from my food to our visitor and back to my food, a little confused.

For a minute, I was sure he’d lost his mind on the steepest hill of the trail, for what was in my hand certainly wasn’t a Mallowmar.

I thought briefly that he was just really hungry and having a hallucination involving chocolate covered marshmallow cookies. Then I realized what he meant.

“Oh! You mean the dog?” I asked before explaining that Rufus was mixed, but with at least some German Shepherd and Pit Bull, we think. We exchanged some chit-chat and our guest trotted away.

I started giggling. He meant Malamute, a dog resembling a Huskie.

Rufus sure is a sweet dog, but he’s no Mallowmar.

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