Tongue hanging out the whole way, an elderly Kelowna pug conquered the Kettle Valley Railway trail.
With the help of her owner, of course.
Sean Heddle and his pug, 11-year-old Georgia, made the 38 km trek from Myra Canyon to Arlington Lakes to meet Heddle’s sister and mother for a camping trip.
Georgia rode the entire trip in a kids bike trailer behind Heddle’s bike. Heddle modified the trailer to accommodate the aging pug whose joints aren’t what they used to be.
“She loves it,” said Heddle. “She wouldn’t even sit down the whole trip — it was a six-hour trip.
“I’d look back and she’s right at the end of her little leash, leaning out of the front of the trailer like, ‘let’s go!’”
The two made the most of their trip, listening to music and making plenty of water stops on the scenic trail. Heddle said they saw two bears, several interesting rocks, and a plethora of other wildlife.
A trip like this would have been unthinkable for Heddle and Georgia just a few years ago.
About three years ago, Georgia’s joint issues progressed to a point where she could barely even walk.
“I almost lost her,” said Heddle.
An MRI was recommended by Georgia’s veterinarian but would have cost around $6,000 — money which Heddle didn’t have at the time.
“I was hoping for a miracle. Then the doctor said, ‘let’s try this medication.’ Long story short, she started to come around and I babied her; I carried in and out for her bathrooms. Slowly, but surely, she got stronger and stronger and I just kept her on that medicine.”
When the vet told Heddle the medication was meant to be temporary, he said: “absolutely not, she’s staying on this medicine for the rest of her life.”
To this day, Heddle still gives Georgia the medication every morning.
“I don’t want to jinx it. It’s working,” he said.
Georgia now handles short walks as well as most aging dogs can but for no longer than 15 minutes. Heddle cites this as another use for the bike trailer.
“It actually has a third wheel I can slip on the front and it turns into a stroller,” he said. “I look like this completely crazy dude. People are peeking in to see a cute kid and they see this ugly dog with her tongue hanging out.
“It’s a pet carrier on steroids.”
While through their trip Heddle and Georgia were attached by a trailer hitch, in day-to-day life they’re attached at the hip.
“She loves doing anything with me. We’re pretty much inseparable; she goes everywhere with me,” he said.
The two camped for three nights at Arlington Lakes with their family and hitched a ride back home with them as well.
“38 kilometres was enough for myself and my senior pug,” said Heddle.