The dogs looked miserable even though they reclined at the feet of doting owners next to bowls full of food or water. In the sidewalk seating area of an Oregon brewpub, they coped with 100-degree heat by sleeping. Tired from a morning bike ride along the Pacific and full of pub food, I felt like joining the pups. Aki, who even though she likes to sleep next to a heating vent in winter wouldn’t know what to do about the heat.
The next morning, while getting in one last bike ride before our return to Alaska, I thought about the flexibility of man and dog. In urban Oregon, dogs stay home while their owners ride crowded public transport to inside jobs. Each must look forward to the nightly reunion. They have many walks in the rain and some in snow. But one sniff of the tea roses perfuming the bike paths and you know that they have a gentler climate than Juneau. They have shopping, wineries, fancy beer parlors, and quality cell phone coverage. We have Costco, a hometown brewery, and ready access to the woods and sea. Orcas chase salmon and sea lions in front of Juneau. What predators work the streets of Portland?
This morning, back in Juneau, I join Aki for a walk on the Rainforest Trail. Soft rain collects on the path-side plants. It soaks my pants when they brush against the cow parsnips leading over the trail. How nice, little dog, to be soaked by rain rather than sweat, to walk through air cool enough for comforting fleece. Aki, who rarely has to pant, would probably agree.