Just after we reach Gastineau Meadow, a snowshoe hare breaks from a shelter in trailside alders. It gallops away from us down the trail and freezes. Aki must not see it. If she does, she doesn’t bother to react. After throwing us a quick glance, the hare leaps off the trail and out of sight.
I wonder again, whether the little dog’s eyes are failing. She will be 14 this November. But she was frisky enough last month to chase a bear down the street. She had no problem climbing with me to the meadow.
Aki refuses to leave the gravel trail when I do. But she has always preferred dry ground to wet muskeg. Some dogs might go on their walkabout when their masters give them this much freedom. Mine stands at attention on the trail at a spot where she can watch me watch water bugs skittering across the surface of a tiny pond. Her eyes tell me that she is ready to chase off any bear or wolf that places me in danger.