Told by Kuma & Written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith

Watson Lake, Prescott AZ (31) Living in the Houston area for three years, I am not new to heat. My buddies in the area say the humidity has been pretty brutal this summer. I don’t miss getting all drippy one bit, but I will say that desert heat hurts! I learned the hard way. Let me back up and start from the beginning.

Watson Lake, Prescott AZ (5) My family and I get out most weekends to explore, and this weekend was no exception. My humans looked at the forecast, and the temps were supposed to be cooler up in Prescott, about an hour from us. In the car we hopped (I hopped, and they sat) and off we went. Prescott is north of Phoenix. We took I-17 north to the exit for 69 N and then went on the 89 A South. Follow the 89 S, which turns into Pioneer Parkway, and head to Watson Lake Road and follow signs. The parking lot had plenty of spots along with human rest rooms. Why don’t humans go in the woods like us canines? I’ve been meaning to ask but always forget…

Anyway, we decided to hike around the entire lake or roughly five miles. The temps were comfortable, and we’d have access to plenty of water. I love a good swim! I don’t think humans are allowed to swim but plenty were kayaking. My dad read about these white dots painted on the trail and rocks that were supposed to make following the trail easier. NOT! We saw dots everywhere! Following this trail was not easy, and we ran into other humans wandering around lost. Yes, we got turned around several times, back tracking to connect up to the trail. This gave us plenty of opportunity to take pictures of the cool boulders in the lake. Bring your camera if you go because you can get your family’s Christmas photo here. Another human offered to take ours; I tried to cooperate, really I did.

Watson Lake, Prescott AZ (15)Normally, I wouldn’t care one bit about getting a little lost. In fact, I was enjoying scrambling up and down all the big boulders until the temps soared unexpectedly. I got hot, even though I was swimming every chance I had. I stayed hydrated, but the ground became uncomfortable to touch. Because we had trouble following the trail and it required quite a bit of bouldering, we were out way longer than we anticipated. We were about three miles in and still had three more to go back to the car. Eeeesh. We kept moving. What else can you do, right? I’m a tough Shiba Inu! I’ve been in deep snow, down pours of rain, and alligator-infested swamps. How bad could it be?

Well, with about 1 ½ miles left, I found some shade and let my humans know I couldn’t continue on. I’ve never given up before, but I had a blister on one paw and all of them were sore. I was hurting something fierce, way worse than the bee sting in my ear that one time! That’s another story for another day. By the way, I hate bees and wasps to this day! I’m a big Shiba at about 35 pounds, but my daddy picked me up and carried me all the way back to the car. He and my mom felt awful about the heat, but hey, we didn’t plan on it going this way. Up in my dad’s arms allowed me to sit up really high where I could see so much more. I almost forgot about my poor paws.

Watson Lake, Prescott AZ (1)We got to the car safely, and I was grateful to be back in air conditioning. When we got home, my mom took care of me by putting Bag Balm on my feet and my super cape. Some of you dawgs consider it the cone of shame, but not me. Mine is blue and gives me super powers. It’s true! I didn’t like wearing the stupid socks, though, but they seemed to help. The worst part was not being able to run with my mom for a week! We learned a valuable lesson that day: don’t trust the forecast and always be prepared for the heat. My humans got me a pair of booties that I now wear on rocky terrain. I DO NOT like them, not one bit. However, they do help protect my paws. I suppose I have to be a big boy and deal with it.

Watson Lake is one of the prettiest places we have been. The memory will forever be burned into my mind…and paws. Be careful out there, stay safe, and have fun!

Kumaito (Kuma for short) is a black & tan Shiba Inu, an ancient breed from Japan, who was born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, moved to Friendswood, Texas, for three years and now resides in Phoenix, AZ. He enjoys running almost every day with his mom, chasing rabbits, playing with toys, pestering his brother Edmond, eating, napping … well, Kuma loves about everything and everyone! His mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help him tell his story. She is the author of seven published books, writes for magazines on assignment, has been seen on national television, and rewires businesses for success through her consulting and trainings. You can reach Kuma through Lorraine’s website: www.lorrainebosse-smith.com Be sure to visit Kuma Dog’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Kumathedog?ref=hl

You never know what he’ll be up to next!