Hiking With Kobae

For the first five years of Kobae’s life he got to 22 pounds. During the last five years living out here for two thirds of the year, he’s gone from 22 pounds to somewhere around 135 pounds and he’s not done.

Kobae grew up with our dogs Bishop and Chewey, rat killing champions of the world. When I’d open up the back gate at the house in San Diego Bishop and Chewey on leashes and Kobae unleashed, would follow us down the sidewalk. Whenever we’d run into other dogs, Bishop and Chewey would be straining on the leashes to fight while Kobae would just wade into the fray. I’m comfortable he’s always thought he was a dog.

Bishop and Chewey passed a few years ago and Kobae thinks he’s the lead dog now. Whenever other dogs show up at the lodge Kobae charges right over to greet them and establish his dominance by trying to ram them and tip them over. That’s all he knows.

Most days I’ll open the gate to his acre or two pen in the morning and he’ll head down the driveway and which jeep, animal, or water runoff trail he’s going to take, is always a mystery until he’s well down it.

I’ll take a book something like War and Peace, water, and usually something to snack on. When the day is over we will have hiked two to ten miles somewhere. I’ll just follow him and then once he’s established what trail he’s going to take I’ll get a couple hundred feet ahead of him and sit down and read my book. In time, he’ll walk by me and when he gets a couple hundred feet in front of me I’ll catch up and again get a couple hundred feet ahead of him and find a new place to sit down and read my book.

Jeeps, ATV’s, 4by4’s, bicycles and an occasional hiker or two will make their way out towards the lodge though most people don’t know it’s here. Kobae and I will be a few miles from the lodge and I’ll be sitting on a rock in 100 degree weather in the middle of nowhere reading. A jeep, ATV, or side by side will pull up.

Them: “Are you ok?”
Me: (Without looking up) “I’m fine.”
Them: “What are you doing?”
Me: “Reading a book and walking my dog.”
Them: “Where’s your dog?”
Me: “He’s coming, he’s just real slow.”
Them: Whispering between themselves, then. “Do you mind if we wait for your dog?” Pretty sure he’s imaginary, I’ve lost my mind, and perhaps they should call somebody.
Me: “That’s fine.”
After a minute or two...
Them: Usually the woman. “Oh my God.”
Them: Usually the man. “What the hell?”
Them: Usually the woman. “Sir?, It’s not a dog, it’s a turtle or something.”
Me: “I know, you know, but he thinks he’s a dog so don’t say anything.”
Them: Whispering so Kobae can’t hear. “Sorry.”

Back to "Stories"