Sad news. When we walked into the tiny community of Warner Springs yesterday, Einstein was beat. He was slowing down and had started to show discomfort in his front paw. He now needs some time off to fatten out, strengthen up and let his pads recover.
The Warner Spring residents were amazing. Krissy, Brandon and Dax at the Fire Station supplied water and tried to find us somewhere to camp. Velma at the local store arrived with tins of dog food for Einstein and a plate of delicious tamales for me. Indeed, it seemed the whole neighbourhood came up trumps.
Several locals told us that a male mountain lion had been seen in the area and that camping was not a good idea, especially with a dog, so Einstein and I were put up in a discount cabin. Amazing generosity. Bobcats and coyotes are also part of the local wildlife scene: certainly some interesting howling last night.
Unlike Pancho, the street dog I walked 1000 miles along the US-Mexico border with, who started off super skinny but ended up bulging with muscles, Einstein, despite eating lots and mostly walking well, is just not putting on weight.
Einstein is such a lovely dog and a great companion and the fact he is part Greyhound, means he is naturally skinny. But there is skinny and too skinny and he definitely is in the latter category and needs beefing up. All the walking has prevented him piling on the pounds as he should and I feel bad about that.
The great news, though, is that Einstein will stay with the Kiy family, who hosted him before the walk, and all fell in love with him, especially their son, Danny, who kindly picked up Einstein today. I have no doubt Einstein will receive the best care possible and, all going well, after he’s fighting fit, can rejoin me. After all, the deal is that I walk all the way, not Einstein! The main thing, as with all street dogs, is that, ultimately, they find a good, loving home.
The next section of America, through the remote high desert of California and Arizona, will be some of the toughest terrain to date, as we (well, sadly, I for now) make our way north east towards the Joshua Tree National Park, It can be very hot in the day, and chilly at night, and there are longish gaps between communities.
It would be super tough on Einstein if he were not in peak condition and the heat would definitely mean he would need dog boots. I hope he can rejoin once he’s got his mojo back in a couple of weeks or so, but for now, it’s just me, my hiking trailer and the open road. Oh, and my karaoke versions of various country classics – ‘Take Me Home Country Roads, To the Place’…you get the idea. That is something Einstein won’t miss!
I will really miss Einstein, of course, but this is the right thing to do: the poor pup badly needs to recuperate. Rest up, Einsteinito, and thank you for your company these first extraordinary 10 days. See you somewhere down the road, you hairy genius…