The story of Lupe and her human adventure buddy Liz is a true tale of how our rescue dogs can rescue us right back! Liz and Lupe have made it through some bumps on the road together, but their experiences have made them and their bond grow stronger.
Liz and Lupe are on a new adventure launching a local business here in Portland called Woof Walks PDX - check them out!
Here is their story:
Whyld River (WR): How did you and Lupe meet?
Liz: Ironically enough, my husband and I had just got engaged, and our friends were trying to convince us to get a puppy from another friends’ litter that was about to be born. We weren’t quite ready for a dog yet, but they planted the idea in our heads. Eight months (two fishing seasons) later, we headed to the local shelter to scope out the scene.
There was this sweet, furry husky mix who was being super patient while a daschund literally jumped on and off her back, barking at us. We met the husky, and she was so sweet, letting us handle her, gazing at us with her sweet brown eyes. She was so skinny, and the volunteers told us when we were about to leave that she was so patient with the other dogs that they were always able to put other dogs in with her, which was a good thing because she had been in for nearly six months. As I looked back through the porthole window at the door, there she was, sending love rays through her eyes while the Daschund ate all the food.
The shelter manager chose that moment to tell us we could take her for a sleepover on a ‘trial’ basis. As she cuddled up in my lap in the car, I realized that this skinny little pup with mange would not be going back. When we introduced her to the gang that week, it was determined that she was the first pup taken from the aforementioned litter. She had been given to a family with 3 young children whose father came home from between commercial fishing seasons to take the dog to the shelter. Suddenly the apprehensions she had with brooms, bearded men & children made so much sense. I don’t know how anyone could reject her or leave the pound without her, but I’m selfishly glad they did.
WR: Where is Lupe from?
Liz: Lupe was born on East End Road near the Kilcher Homestead (featured on Discovery’s ‘Alaska: The Last Frontier” show. The shelter (in Homer, Alaska) told us her name was Sitka, but there were already a bunch of other dogs in town that we knew with that name, and clearly she was ready for a new chapter in her life. She had very distinct markings on her chest, which reminded me of the iconic catholic image of Juan Diego holding the shroud of Guadalupe, and at the time, my Catholic parents were urging that my engagement be short. The name Lupe seemed appropriate, even before we realized that her brother was Pedro.
WR: What was the most difficult time you and Lupe went through together?
Liz: The most difficult time we went through together was when I realized why she was acting strange & I had to keep taking her to the vet for what I kept thinking were bug bites. The vet, who is a good friend, kept gently telling me they looked like ‘bites.' Lo and behold, they were dog bites. They were from a mean dog who had been kept away from her for years when she went to work with my partner (aforementioned fiancé who never would sign the marriage papers). Turns out Lupe was spending time outside work with this other dog, because my partner was cheating on me with its owner. Suddenly, so much made sense. It’s been two years, but we are both finally confident and happy again after being in a controlling relationship for so long.
Second hardest time she has no idea about, but he kept trying to get me to ship her back to him for months. I mean, I don’t blame him, because she’s awesome, but when I realized she wouldn’t, for instance, eat food I’d given her until she got multiple permissions, I realized that neither of us should be in contact with someone so controlling.
WR: What have been some of your and Lupe's favorite adventures together?
Liz: There are so many! My fave adventure tends to be whatever we did each day, be it digging for clams on the coast (as a puppy she came to work with me, when I worked on a little neck clam research project where we had to dig a bunch of clams as fast as possible in order to tag & re-bury them before the tide came in, so she learned to help us dig for them), taking a hike, or cuddling in the evening.
Probably our most epic adventure was packing up a U-Haul trailer behind the Furbaru (my name for my car, covered in Lupe’s luxurious husky fur) and moving 4,000 miles to Portland, adventuring all the way. Every stop, I would walk around the rig, inspecting tires, etc. before we got in to go, and Lupe would walk around with me. She still insists on doing so before we get in the car. This was a big hit with the truckers when we were forced by weather and crazy white out blizzard conditions to stay over at a truck stop in Buckinghorse River in Rural NE British Columbia. During every stop along the way we met new friends, but here the truckers loved her for her rig check habit. The hunters invited us to join them at moose camp after she went after an ermine that had been terrorizing them, and Trevor, the cook/snowplow driver/housekeeper/concierge/desk clerk/gas pump operator, kept making her burgers.
That’s when I knew we’d be okay. Thousands of miles in the middle of nowhere and the only females we saw for days, we were safer than we had been under our own roof at home.
WR: What's the biggest learning you've had through your relationship with Lupe?
Liz: Walk like the queen you are and you will demand respect and befriend amazing creatures along the way.
Pay attention to and learn from the wildlife around you – she’s learned that there are small tasty little fish in the sand at low tide from crows, learned that owls don’t eat bunny heads and give a certain call when they catch a bunny, thus signaling the chance at something lovely to bring home to the cabin or tent...
Only certain things are scary because of certain situations.
Nap often, you never know when adventure will strike and you must be ready!
WR: What's Lupe's favorite meal?
Liz: Salmon skin, raw knuckle bones, or better yet, something caught by her.
WR: Her favorite things?
Liz: Hikes, beach time, playing in the snow, hunting, cuddling up in the tent or back of the Furbaru at the end of an adventure day, spending time at potlucks where people sneak her snacks.
WR: What are your favorite things to do together?
Liz: Backpacking. But really everything! As she’s gotten older she also loves coming to work with me, which has been really fun. She's no stranger to being a shop dog where I often find random customers big spooning her on the floor of the ski shop, or now, helping me tire out dogs here in Portland with my new business Woof Walks PDX with walks, play groups and basic training.
WR: What is the silliest thing Lupe does?
Liz: She’s gotten very regal as she has grown into the role of elder, and she will often sit down until we decide to walk where she wants to, gets a pet, get me to do something else... Being part husky, she can be vocal about it, showing her frustration that we’ve been best buds for 13 years and I still have yet to learn basic dog.
WR: Anything else you'd like to share with us?
Liz: Both of our lives are better because of each other. Rescues are the best.
A huge thank you to Liz and Lupe for sharing their story with us!