Amor Fati. Love Thine Fate
They say that men of action accept fatelessness as their guide whereas men of the mind, of deliberation, are men of providence.
Both have their misgivings it seems to me.
I believe in the the inevitability of things. But not back in 2007. I didn’t believe in anything. Not even myself.
But I didn’t let that stop me. 2 Dogs 2,000 Miles was inevitable and once started, I knew it couldn’t be stopped.
I could devote three maybe four chapters about the amount of effort it took to plan, prepare, equip, re-plan, re-prepare, re-equip, re-re-plan, re-re-prepare, and re-re-equip but out of consideration, I’ll spare you most of the process and give the reader’s digest version.
The single most important aspect of training and preparation was my relationship with Hudson and Murphy. If we were going to make it as a team, I knew we would have to communicate in both spoken and unspoken language because fractions of a second could mean the difference between life and death on the road.
And that’s no easy thing. I’ve said it before Pyrenees are a willful breed and those of you who know me, I’m pretty resolute and unmoving myself. But that dynamic between the three of us as we trained, it was fascinating. I was in Temple, TX at the time and we started training at Lion’s Park which out of all of the nearby locations was ideal because of its varied terrain and trails.
Murphy had never carried a backpack up until then and I was slowly adding weight to it as we added mile upon mile on our hikes. I started with newspapers in the pouches then added bottled water. We were doing great with training and one day, I think it was three or so miles into our hike, Murphy just down and outright quit. He stopped and refused to take another step.
And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. Well I knew that we’d never make it cross country if Murphy wasn’t going to do more than a few miles stretch and for weeks, it was the same thing. Tried to incentivize him with treats and that didn’t work and I was beside myself and bumfuzzled.
Invariably when I tell this story, trainers always ask me why I didn’t bring someone aboard to work with us. It’s a valid question but I figured even back then that if I can’t understand what my boys are telling me, it’s all moot.
And it took me weeks to understand what Murphy was saying.
Research, which I always do a ton of before I do anything, indicates that dogs have a much greater constitution than men. Study after study has shown that. Murphy was fit and fat happy but he wouldn’t budge.
And then it hit me like two tons of stones. I was telling him what to do. It wasn’t a partnership but a dictatorship and like me, Murphy was unrulable (is that a word?). This is the moment that the phrase ‘alpha male’ became meaningless to me.
And just like that, I set aside some time to let him lead Hudson and me, off schedule and off the beaten path and once I showed him that respect, we never looked back.
Together, we reached our stride, the three of us. It was the trust and instinct that would keep us all alive on the road. Still, something was missing – not between us but inside me.
I knew what it was. And I knew that before we took our first step, I’d have to do something I’d never done before. And it was inevitable.
YBD’s Notes 1: I speak in my own gender and I mean no disrespect. Women, in my life experiences, are often much more capable than men but history has been unkind to. All of my greatest ideas, once and always, are inspired by a muse and I create for her. All great men do.
YBD’s Notes 2: Next week. Chapter 11. Finding Faith.
YBD’s Notes 3: Murphy taught me many things in life and he told me plenty. Still to this day, why he never told me he had a tumor in his head, I’ll never understand.
2 Dogs 2,000 Miles