The Luckiest Dog in the World

Meditations in MotionI was fortunate to be able to run in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on a recent trip to visit my son Ryan, daughter-in-law Carolina, and grandson Atticus and to help celebrate Atti’s third birthday.

Meditations in Motion

There are two places I like to run while in Steamboat. The first is on a county road near my son’s house. I get there via a gravel trail. The road is paved for about 1.5 miles, then, just past the front entrance to the Marabou Ranch, the paving comes to an end, and I am running on dirt.

The road is very hilly by Pennsylvania standards, and there is relatively little oxygen in the air at nearly 7,000 feet of elevation. These two facts, plus the gorgeous views and abundant wildlife combine to result in many walk breaks taken during my runs on the county road.

Meditations in Motion

The other place I like to run is on the Yampa River Core Trail, a paved 7.5-mile bike trail that bisects the town of Steamboat Springs and follows the Yampa River. The scenery is beautiful here, too, and the terrain is flat. The only drawback is that I must drive to get to the trailhead. This is a good place to do a longer run.

My son and his family are nature lovers. Carolina has her Masters degree in Forestry and works as a forester for the state of Colorado. She spends many of her days outdoors.

Meditations in Motion

Ryan and Carolina met while they were volunteers for the Peace Corps in Zambia. They lived in separate villages in the African bush for nearly two years. Ryan lived in a mud brick hut he built himself with no running water, electricity or modern conveniences of any kind. During the rainy season, also known as the hungry season, protein is scarce in Zambia. Zambians in remote villages (and Ryan, too) often ate insects as a source of protein during this time.

The reason I write this is because I want you to know Ryan and Carolina will camp in the most remote places. They do not frequent campgrounds and they shun amenities. They are proponents of “camping sauvage“.

Side note – I am most definitely not a proponent of “camping sauvage“. A hotel room with a mountain view is close enough to “camping sauvage” for me. Anyplace without room service, I consider roughing it.

Meditations in Motion

Before my grandson was born, Ryan and Carolina and their dog Kaiya were camping one weekend in a remote sand wash in northwestern Colorado, a location beautiful in its desolation. They were miles away from any human habitation, save for perhaps some shepherds watching over their flocks far from any towns.

As they got out of their car and looked for a potential campsite, they saw some movement under a Juniper tree in the distance and went to investigate. There, they found a starving, dehydrated, filthy black and white puppy. He was weak and had a defect in his hip that caused him to have a hitch in his giddy-up, as the cowboys say. (Another side note – I have never actually heard a cowboy say that. I just imagine it sounds cowboy-esque.)


Meditations in Motion
Not an actual picture of the puppy they found.


Ryan and Carolina gave the poor little guy some water and fed him. They kept him close all weekend so they could bring him back to the Humane League in Steamboat Springs upon their return to town. Kaiya was not overjoyed with the addition to their camping trip, but as long as he stayed away from her food bowl, she did not protest too much.

On the way back home, Carolina looked at the puppy. She was not a dog person and was initially reluctant to adopt Kaiya. She said to Ryan “We are not taking that puppy to the shelter, are we? Are we going to keep him?” “No, no,” Ryan replied. “No. No. Well, yes, I think we should keep him. What do you think?

Meditations in Motion

And that is how the abandoned puppy, who they named Juniper, since they found him under a Juniper tree, became the luckiest dog in the world. He now enjoys regular veterinary care, a full food and water dish at all times, a dog door that allows him to come and go as he pleases, swimming in the river in the summertime, treats from the butcher’s shop each week that make the bones Dino had on the Flintstones (Google it if you are too young to remember) look like matchsticks, and older “sister” Kaiya to romp with. His hip defect does not slow him down at all. I have seen him clear a six-foot high fence with one graceful bound.

The fact that Ryan and Carolina chose that particular sand wash to set up camp in the vast openness of that part of the state, and chose the location of that particular Juniper tree is so serindipitous, it is nothing less than amazing. If they had chosen a location 100 yards in either direction, they would never have seen Juniper. It almost makes me think they were somehow drawn by a merciful hand to that spot.


Meditations in Motion
A boy and his best friend.


Juni is a born herder. He likes to keep us all together when we go for walks. If one of us “goes astray” he will bounce and bark excitedly until we rejoin the herd. Best of all is the obvious love he has for his best buddy. He will not allow Atti to wander too far up the driveway toward the road. He patiently allows the messy, overzealous hugs of a toddler, who is known to exclaim “Oh, Juni, I love you so much!” The luckiest dog in the world.


I am linking up with Clean East Fast Feets for her Week in Review, Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Char at Trekking Thru, Teaching What Is Good for their Tuesday Link-up, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Shank You Very Much for Dream Team, Shelbee on the Edge for Spread the Kindness, and blovedboston for Weekending.









  1. The Yampa river area can be beautiful; I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Living in Colorado, I am pleased to benefit from your DIL’s work. Growing up in ate as, I would hear about a “hitch in their git-along” on a regular basis. Close to what you quote, but very authentic. Happy Colorado memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Juniper is a lucky pup – and he has such a pretty name! When I was in high school we kept a stray who showed up at our house filthy and with all her ribs showing. She got stuck with the name Ratty because when my dad got home and saw her he proclaimed, “that sure is a ratty little dog”. Of course she was not so ratty once she got cleaned up and filled out, but the name was permanent by then.

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  3. Wow what a lovely story Laurie that pup was very lucky and now they have a free babysitter 😂, iv eaten a lot of different things in my life but bugs iiii don’t think so that’s a little over my boundaries 😂.


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  4. This is such a precious story! And the photo of Juni and Atti, such love!!! The post made me think this morning a bit … sometimes we think we have been brought to a place to give up or “die” and we truly have been brought to the place to discover life and purpose!

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  5. Juniper is indeed a lucky dog! I found a starving kitten in a hay barn when I was a teenager and brought him home. If my dad had been putting hay in the barn a day later, we would probably have found a dead kitten. My mom and I fed him warm milk from a tiny doll bottle until he was old enough to lap it up from a bowl. We named him Little Bones because he was nothing more than skin and bones when we found him. He lived to a ripe old age and he, too, was a lucky little guy!

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  6. There’s a great plan out there, eh? My first 2 cats were strays, both abandoned in the apartment complex I was living in at the time.

    All 3 of my dogs have been rescues, although I swear each one got more & more difficult — but then you have to go through the difficult to get to the good, right?

    That’s wonderful that they kept Juni & that he’s been such a great addition to the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh! And they are lucky too!! They landed an amazing dog!!! Australian Shepherds are our favorite and we raised our boys with one….. A gift both ways!!! We’re actually looking for one now! Thanks for sharing a great story – God tucks those surprises in doesn’t He?!

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  8. Laurie that is such a sweet story. Juni certainly is a very lucky dog. We also adopted a puppy from a shelter and consider ourselves lucky to have him in our lives.

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