Little But Mighty Bailey the Hiking Dog
by Lori Paparteys
Everyone, meet Bailey! He just turned 2 years old and is a hiking pup. He may only be 7 pounds, but this little guy cranks out hiking trails like it’s his job.
Our story begins in 2019. I’d inherited an 8 year old Shih Tzu named Dakota from my mother when she passed away in 2016. Sadly in October 2019, I lost Dakota to cancer despite our best efforts to save him. A few weeks later, I saw an ad for puppies. I was lost without that companionship and opted to call and inquire. On October 22, just 18 days after losing Dakota, I went to meet the lady and see what pups she had left. I was hooked on a little white fluffball and was told he was part Bichon Frise and part MinPin. He was so tiny and only 5 weeks old. Given the circumstances (which I’ll spare the details of), I said “I’ll take this lil guy home. His name is Bailey. When was he born?”. We ascertained his birthday was the same as my mom’s…September 16, 2019. Oddly enough, I selected the name Bailey after the Bailey’s Irish Cream flavor that my mom loved. He was indeed destined to come home with me, and the rest is history.
Bailey whined, barked and howled the whole way home (about an hour drive). I told him “Better get used to driving new lil buddy. I have big plans and I love car rides!”. He immediately was given a bath, a new collar and setup with his own digs when we arrived home. Every day even if it was as short as just a drive around the block, I took my new little friend for a car ride, barking, whining and howling away. Eventually, Bailey grew used to car rides and now whines if the car stops! He loves looking out the car windows and curls right up in his puppy carseat to go to sleep on longer trips.
When Bailey turned 1, I decided to take him on a small hike at a state park in our area of NY. He’d never been on a hiking trail before. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m sure he didn’t either. We arrived at the park, found a parking spot where I donned a doggy backpack along with provisions. I had planned the doggy backpack as a backup in case he hated it, then I could hike us both out easily. Also, I planned on testing him for a quarter mile, resting him by having him ride in the puppy backpack for a quarter mile and alternating for the mile and a half hike. The trail is an easy one with minimal up and down and it is all a beautiful to walk on trail. Little did I know…this started a hiking partnership which will take us from the Catskill Mountains to the Adirondacks and everything in between. Bailey took to hiking like nothing I’d ever seen. He led me and stayed right on the trails.
Since that first local hike, we have completed countless trails, mountain summits and 20 some odd thousand miles on my car. Bailey has completed a few of the Catskill 3500’s before we opted to jump to the Adirondacks for the time being. Together, we have completed the Tupper Triad Ultra, Fulton Chain Trifecta Ultra, Otsego Outdoors Winter and Summer Octet challenges as Ultra completions, hiked our first ADK 46ers together (3 so far with many more planned), several of the LP9 (Lake Placid 9ers) Mountains as well as several fire towers and other hikes for other challenges. He is racking up completion patches that if stacked, are pretty close to being taller than he is! Bailey gets super excited when we pull into a parking spot at a trailhead. I also have taken him to other locations such as waterfalls and hunting for historical markers (we submit to the HMDB.org Historical Marker Database).
We are such a great hiking duo and I’d be at a loss without such a great companion. The stars lined us up perfectly and I couldn’t be more grateful for such a perfect lil pup. I just had to share this little guy with everyone. He is loved beyond belief, incredibly spoiled with a wardrobe that rivals some Hollywood stars. Bailey’s vet also is a hiker and follows our travels which is pretty cool! I hope that we can continue this hiking partnership for many many more miles and years to come.