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“My eyes were immediately drawn to the one who was off-white, with chocolate brown spots and chocolate brown ears … his eyes were a striking amber color — like a wolf or coyote.” Thus is described the central character in “Adventures with Durango Pete: Life and Poetry with a Cow Dog Philosofur.”
Steve and Cynthia Hinman of Littleton were at an adoption event held by Colorado Puppy Rescue. After the loss of a beloved old dog two years earlier and a move from Kansas to Colorado to be near daughter Krista, the Hinmans were starting to think about another furry friend, urged on by Krista, who sent numerous photos of possible candidates. They set out with a certain terrier in mind, were delayed in traffic and arrived to find that puppy had been adopted, but there were three little cow dogs playing. Hinman had been thinking about ancestors who were ranchers — funny where our fancies take us …
Steve picked him up and the decision was never in question as he was smothered in kisses.
The pup had come to Colorado from an agency in New Mexico. In addition to the puppy, the Hinmans bought a book on cattle dogs, another on puppy training, a little blue collar and matching leash and all the other necessary supplies. His name? Steve said “Durango” and his wife said “Pete”— firmly. They set up his new bed at home and introduced the back yard, carrying him down the stairs since his legs were still too short to navigate them.
Every evening, he escalated into a craziness that required putting him in his kennel for time out.
They started to research. (Here the reader gets a lecture on the long Australian history of interbreeding with dingos — and distinctive personality of cattle dogs.)
Walk on a leash? Not this puppy! Dig in the carefully manicured flower beds and lawn? You bet! He learned the names of his increasing collection of chew toys scattered across the yard and could fetch the right one — but preferred to chew on mulch chips. Trick training? Sit for cheese? Yes. But, in general, thing went so badly they thought they might have to give him up. They consulted a trainer and eventually tried walking off-leash, which resulted in a much happier pup. On a day spent exploring the Dakota Hogback near his home, the description leads into an account of Hinman’s rancher ancestors … while rewarding the dog with treats as he came when called. A sort of compromise solution was at hand. Let him off lead and he’d come when called.
They progressed to mountain hikes and a trip to California to revisit favorite places and introduce Durango Pete to the ocean.
His passion for cheeseburgers stayed evident and his special people learned some more about caring for him — which has led to many happy experiences for Pete, Steve and Cynthia, some poetry (Steve) and philosophizing (Steve and Pete).
Note — Steve Hinman is available to talk about his experiences with Pete — and Pete stays in touch on FaceBook. Steve.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book is available from Amazon.
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