A year in the life of an AdironDog

Katie arrives in the Adirondacks

She said/she said

KIM: A few years ago, we adopted a doberman/shepherd mix from a rescue in Vermont. The rescue agency told us we could take her home and if it didn’t work out, we could return her to be adopted by someone else. We got home, named her Katie, and 4 years later we can’t imagine having taken them up on their offer. 

She’s smart, loving, loyal, and action-packed. She's also an integral part of our family and our home on New York’s Adirondack Coast, and a welcome addition to our many adventures all year long!


Katie calls shotgun 

KATIE: FYI, I always call shotgun.

Hi. My name is Katie. A few years ago, I was hired by a couple who brought me to live in their house in the woods. My job is difficult. I’m responsible for providing security, entertainment, and exercise for my people, and they would have virtually no supply of sticks if I wasn’t here to replenish them.

All year round, I ensure the safety and health of my people, accompanying them on various missions to other parts of the woods, and I take my job very seriously.



KATIE: Found a stick! 
 Stick found 

Hiking up Rattlesnake Mountain

KIM: We love to go for hikes in early, early spring - often with microspikes for higher elevations or packed ice on the trails. It’s a great time to get some exercise, with cooler temperatures and no bugs!

KATIE: As you can see, I’m keeping an eye out for any danger as I pull my person up the trail to reach another snack stop. 

Summit of Rattlesnake Mountain 

KIM: The views are outstanding from the summit of Rattlesnake Mountain - one of the Champlain Area Trails.

KATIE: Let me go. We haven’t finished all the snacks yet and I’ve been working like a dog.

 Mud bath 

KIM: The problem with spring hiking is that the dogs inevitably find muddy spots to get all messy in. We try to take them back to the trailhead or home via a stop at a river or lake so they can clean up. 

KATIE: Spring is one of the best times to find mud holes to cool off in and to cover up my scent for those who might be looking for me. My friend Abby, for whom the dark mud really complements her lighter hair, agrees.

Dog wash  


 KATIE: People leave their sticks all over the place. I’ll bring this one home.
Swimming hole

KIM: Almost every morning, all year, we take Katie along for a trail run from our house. She typically logs about double the number of miles we do, with all of the extra laps she does, sniffing and chasing various imagined squirrels.

KATIE: Almost every morning, I follow my people (usually one at a time) when they go off into unsecured areas in the nearby woods. I spend most of my time running ahead to scare any predators, making sure to return frequently to check on my person’s exact location. I haven’t lost one of them yet, but it’s pretty easy, as they are not all that fast-moving.  

Backyard run


 Coon Mountain

KIM: We love to hike one of our favorite short trails to Coon Mountain. There are great views of Lake Champlain to the east and the Adirondack mountains to the west any time of year!  

KATIE: Sometimes we go to the same old trail that I’ve done 100 times. I don’t know why I have to be on a leash, when I know the way. If I could run free all the time I could gather more new smells to break up the monotony.  

Smell the flowers 


Cooling off

KIM: We can just pour ourselves a glass of water or drive to the pool, but dogs can’t. In summer, we always make sure that the dogs get to cool off in the river near our house. 

Important to hydrate 

KATIE: If there isn’t a puddle available, I like to drink out of a faucet.

Big stick 

KIM: Why on earth Katie has to select the longest sticks to run with is beyond me. It keeps me on my toes, avoiding getting tripped by them.

KATIE: Look! I have found the best stick of all! I’ll carry it and dart back and forth around you for this whole trail run.  


Jazz flute 

KIM: Vet care, food, shelter, water... and now Katie wants jazz flute lessons.

KATIE: I love this stick. 

Selfie fail

KIM: In fall, the panoramic view from the top of the Wildway Overlook is a great place to see the foliage. I try to take selfies of Katie and I, but she isn’t interested in photography.   

KATIE: This perch is a good place to keep an eye out for the bad guys, but we really should keep moving. 

Canoeing on Lincoln Pond 

KIM: We took Katie canoeing exactly once on Lincoln Pond. This picture captures a snapshot from the two total minutes that she remained inside the boat, rather than jumping into the water. 

KATIE: I remember that time that my people floated on top of the water past all of those lily pads, and yelled at me for trying to walk on them.

Climbing trees  

KIM: Katie is extremely agile, and sometimes quite human-like. (I know, everyone says that about their dog). She even uses all four paws to try to climb trees. 

KATIE: If I could just jump over to that other tree, I’d have ALL of the squirrels.

Tug o War 

KATIE: There are a lot of sticks here that need organizing. Sometimes Abby helps me with the collection process. 



KIM: In winter, the trails we run on are packed down and we can negotiate them with microspikes. 

KATIE: I wear microspikes year round. 

Winter exploring

KIM: Katie is a great companion for snowshoe treks. She and her buddy Abby love to romp in the snow and chase each other.

KATIE: You won’t believe all of the squirrels that are hiding under this cold blanket. Abby and I are on it. 

Shoveling snow

KIM: For some reason, Katie can’t stand to miss out if her dad is shoveling snow. She begs me to go out to be his little helper. And then she isn’t thirsty for the rest of the day…

KATIE: That shovel is evil. I get in front of its path and try to catch everything it throws, and I think I do a pretty good job of it. 


KIM: Wait; we just talked about spring.

KATIE: I’m not tired, let me run really fast toward that rectangular thing you always have in your hand.  

Trail running with the dogRunning






- Kim Rielly is the director of communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.


Dog days in the ADKs:

Puppy’s first peak

Woman’s best friend

Camping with canines

Shoka’s big day out

This is dog country

Three mountains, four paws

Happy camper, happy hound

Birding the Valley on a rainy day
Getting Onboard Lake Champlain