Over his lifetime, we walked between 10,000-15,000 miles, just the two of us, in wild places, unfettered by leashes or rules. That's a lot of miles. On these wanders, he taught me that living in the moment is all that matters and doing that is as simple as enlivening and following our senses. He helped raise our boys, made us laugh, and filled spaces in our lives we didn't know existed. He loved us every single day without a thought. The feeling was mutual. I miss him.
Our son, Alex Bauch, wrote an apt tribute. With his permission-
Some millennia before the end of the last Ice Age, humans forged an unlikely partnership with a species strikingly similar to modern wolves. This interspecies alliance was the first of its kind, the very first domestication. As the bonds between early dogs and humans grew stronger, we sculpted their genome to reflect our vision of a perfect companion. It is plausible to speculate that dogs modified the evolution of our species in return, and it is beyond question that they continue to shape us as individuals.
I don’t have words to describe how privileged I am to have participated in one of nature’s most venerated traditions for 14 terrific years with this dog. A simple tribute seems fitting, and there really is no better praise for man’s best friend. Good boy, Merl.
Artist and naturalist Michelle Louis has a vigorous curiosity about the natural world. She walks with intention in nature at least 1,200 miles yearly, much of it on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. She makes art documenting her experience along the way and in her studio.