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#MyDogIsMy Best Friend: A Tribute to a Very Good Dog

#MyDogIsMy is all about taking a deeper look at the role dogs play in getting us outside – and helping us find our way – as we navigate life’s journey. Reptar ran head first and tail wagging into his role as Alex's sidekick, adventure buddy, teacher, and best friend. Watch the video, then read on to get a deeper look at their story came to be.

How did you and Reptar find each other?

I was about to enter my Senior year of College when I got Reptar. Getting a dog was always a dream of mine. Anytime I pictured myself in the future - be it hiking, traveling, climbing, biking, etc - a dog was there with me.

I wasn’t too picky on dog breeds while searching for a pup, but a good friend of mine had a Blue Heeler that he had an incredible connection with, so I was definitely influenced. It didn’t take long for me to come across an accidental litter of 3-month-old Blue Heeler puppies for sale on the southern Ohio Craigslist classifieds for $50. The photo listed with the ad consisting of 5 black and white puppies crawling on top of each other to look at the camera is burned into my memory. This was it! I was going to get a dog!

When I arrived to pick out a pup, there was only one left. The man who listed the pups said that nobody wanted the little guy because he had a floppy ear and a bad case of fleas. I didn’t have to think twice - this little pup and I were about to start a relationship I couldn’t have ever imagined. Best $50 I ever spent.

Blue Heeler Puppy sitting by a bed

When did you realize that you and Reptar were going to have some good adventure ahead?

Reptar was definitely a natural adventure sidekick. His first “adventure” was a very small walk. I had probably only had him for a week or two, but was curious how he would like the woods.

Reptar was buzzing with excitement as we walked along the path. Huge tail wags, big sniffs of curiosity, and an extra pep in his step told me right away that he was in his element. We then stopped at a little cutout of a rock wall nearby and sat down to take a break. He sat relaxed and sniffed the air as I lightly petted him, taking it all in almost as if he were meditating.

It was clear that we had the same intentions for what adventure looked like, and I couldn’t wait to see what the future held.

View from inside a tent of dog sitting outside a tent in the backountry.

What was your inspiration for sharing your and Reptar’s story?

Reptar came into my life at a time where I had a newfound itch to explore and recreate. As he grew up, he seemed to want to be a part of all of that. Leaving him behind was rare.

Reptar’s life ended up being shorter than I hoped it would be, but we packed in A LOT in our time together. He worked on a farm, rode a motorcycle, pulled out a little girl’s tooth (all parties obviously consented to this), hiked 360 miles on the Appalachian Trail, spent hundreds of nights in a tent, wore the majority of the Ruffwear catalog, hiked a marathon, summited countless peaks, chased skateboards/mountain bikes/snowboards/skis, floated rivers, rock climbed, surfed truck beds, kissed a wild horse on the nose, attended festivals, and made so many friends along the way. He adventured in 19 states and lived in 2.

Reptar loved the camera. He knew how good he looked, so he was always striking poses. Whenever we were in motion and I had the camera in front of him for a lot of those shots, he would get really excited and speed it up a bit, which was always funny because I would then have to move faster to keep the lens far enough away from him. It would often just result in both of us at full speed.

I had so many of our moments captured on video, so I felt that telling his story could help inspire other folks and their dogs to get out and enjoy their time together, however long or short that time may be.

Man crouching and taking a picture of his dog on the beach

What’s a lesson the Reptar taught you that you carry with you today?

Reptar was a master at the art of being present. Whenever I felt out of sorts all I would have to do is look at Reptar and see how grounded and present he was. Those big air-sniffs and constant observations of the world around him were lessons for me to take it all in and be grateful for the moments I find myself in. He liked the action - the moving, adventure, and the tough situations. But he also loved those moments of calm - the smells, the sounds, and the warmth of love. He made sure I felt the feeling of love every single day.