8 Reasons to Enlist a Furry Friend as Your Adventure Buddy

Why human's best friend just keeps living up to the hype.

Whilst away on a recent work trip, I received an unexpected text from my wife telling me that there was an Australian Shepherd puppy ready for a new home, urging me to give the go ahead. Aware of the major responsibility beckoning, and fearing for my sleep cycle, I hesitantly replied that we would definitely consider it. It was much to my surprise, several seconds later, when I received a follow up text stating “Too late, already said yes.” 

While I was initially hesitant, knowing the amount of training and care that dogs take, it turns out that this was one of the best surprises I have ever received. As my new best friend has grown, I now have a sidekick on standby at all times, ready and willing for anything. 

So for anybody who happens to be the hesitant partner, here are the 8 reasons you should enlist a furry friend as your adventure buddy. 

Early Mornings become that much easier.

The literature will tell you that puppies can sleep up to 16 hours a day, and this may be true. Sadly, this doesn’t mean they are lying comfy in their beds in the early hours of the morning. In fact, every day I wake to the feeling of a soft paw pressed against my cheek, and as my vision readjusts to the morning light, the sight of two big brown determined eyes staring intently at begins to develop.

I must disclose that I am not a morning person, but funnily enough, this newly established ritual has not been unwelcome. There are benefits to being an early riser that aren’t available to those who sleep in – for one, coffee tastes that extra bit smoother when you really need it, and you’ll likely witness some more spectacular sunrises. But being awake early and engaging in some form of exercise has dramatic effects on the positivity of your mood for the rest of the day, and that means you won’t have to leave your workout for the afternoon, which should be reserved for further caffeination and sunset watching. Being awake early will also give you some valuable time to sort out your meals for the day, plan a busy work schedule, and just genuinely relieve some of the time constraints that can build up from the daily grind.  

Despite often yearning for a solid sleep in, my metamorphosis into an involuntarily morning person has brought about a multitude of positives, I just needed a furry friend to force me out of bed.

Your training buddy will never make other plans.

Ever been ready to step onto the trail and you received that text saying “Sorry, won’t be able to make it,”? That will never happen with your doggo. In fact, it will probably be you stopping them from stepping onto the trails when life’s necessities get in the way. But it’s ok, they almost always forgive you.

One of the reasons they make such amazing adventure buddies is that they're up for any form of adventure (depending on their personality), including hiking, swimming, kayaking and in some rare and puzzling cases, yoga. 

Though versatile, it is also important to remember their limitations, because they will give everything they have. One of the first lessons I learned was that puppies shouldn’t engage in too-long of a run, or it could disrupt their growth. And while this means it may be a while before they’re ready to do some serious miles, the first several months are primed for getting them used to heading outside on lighter missions.

Furthermore, if you need a training partner to help pull in some extra attention, you can’t do better than your furry friend, because….   

You will meet so many new people (and doggos).

The frequent conversations had between dog owners is often thought to be a double edged sword, but the truth of the matter is that you get to meet a lot of interesting people when you adventure with your dog. Whilst alone, you may pass people on the trail with only a slight head nod, and consequently will never know the stories you missed out on hearing, or friends you didn’t get to make. Having a doggo at your side says a lot about your character, and people will be instantly drawn to have conversations with you, even if it is just to get close to your adventure buddy. Even better, you’ll get to meet some interesting furry friends of all shapes and sizes, and your best friend will be more than grateful to exchange a cordial bum-sniff.

 

There are so many places they can go with you.

If you gave the dog a chance, it would roam far and wide and explore every inch of earth it could. The problem is that society just doesn’t want that to happen, and as a result, your best friend isn’t allowed in a lot of outdoor areas. While this is for a reasonable purpose, usually in the name of conservation and environmental protection, it will limit the amount of parks you can explore together.

I live in a city surrounded by some stunning Conservation Parks, and while I still have the entire menu to sample from, only some are open to the four legged adventurers. While this means there are some spots I won’t be able to frequent as often, the feeling of exploring the available trails together is more than enough compensation.

There are a growing number of cafes and facilities to cater for dog-lovers in the inner-city areas, and I am always able to take my best friend to the Bouldering gym where she can spend hours having her belly rubbed by other climbers.

One challenge that presents itself is when it comes to holiday time. Obviously, there are just some adventures your best friend won’t be able to join on you, due to distance, quarantine reasons, costs and so on. But as long as you have a safe place for your best friend to go whilst you are gone, then they end up getting their own little break, and the celebration you will both have as you reunite at the end will always be unforgettable. 

You get to hang out with someone who loves the outdoors just as much as you do.

Never, have I ever met a dog that didn’t absolutely love frolicking in nature. The sheer joy visible on most of their faces brought on by outdoor exposure could warm even the coldest soul. The fact is that the outdoors exposes our best friends to an array of sights and smells that humans couldn’t possibly fathom, but the excitement they generate is infectious and will ensure that you are out there enjoying it with them as much as possible.  

The hardest part of heading outside with your furry friend might be convincing them to call it quits, and for this I can’t recommend bringing an arsenal of healthy snacks highly enough.

Photography gets a little more interesting.

If you are aiming to improve your action photography, or hone your skills for a trip to see the Northern Lights, you might get some major experience points by bringing your camera on your next adventure. Trying to capture your best friend bounding through the long grass, or moving like the flash down a long path, will test your abilities but also provide some amazing shots. Part of me believes that doggos know exactly what a camera is, why else do they get so amped up when you pull one out?

They give a good excuse to get out of anything.

Don’t want to do that catch up? Can’t be bothered washing the dishes that have piled up? Really not that interested in attending that school working bee? One of the most beneficial things I’ve learned from my brief time with my dog is that she is a great excuse to get out of things, within reason of course. 

As long as you don’t over-do it, nobody is going to stay mad at you for missing out on extra drink at lunch if they’re confronted with the thought of a dog being denied it’s outside time. We are all humans after all. 

 


Once you go fur, you never return.

For one final point, I can only keep it very simple. Once you feel the warmth, love and companionship that your best friend brings to you every day, all the early mornings, late night walks, accident clean-ups and hyperactive sessions will be completely worth it.

And if you’re half as lucky as I am, you will wonder how you ever managed to live without them.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

LJ Nielsen

Exploring from Adelaide, in South Australia, a relaxed city bordered by natural wonder and filled by a great community of humans who love spending time outside. I am a travel addict,spending most of my time reading up...