Adopted Dog Jumps into a Life of Outdoor Adventures

For Sheila, Gryphon was the perfect addition to her active family.

Sheila + Gryphon

When Sheila retires, adopting Gryphon leads to a lifetime of outdoor adventure.

"I asked him if he would like to be my adventure buddy, and I swear he said “Yes!”"

In the spring of 2010 I was retired, recovering from a serious illness, and about to become an empty nester. I had always enjoyed outdoor adventure activities, but with hours of available time ahead of me, I needed a partner so that I could take advantage of our nearby mountains, trails, and lakes. I decided that I would get on the waiting list at North Country Animal League (NCAL), hoping for a for a Yellow Lab mutt.

Dog in a canoe

On a snowy day in late April of that year, I was heading home and spontaneously decided to stop at NCAL to check out their available dogs. I discovered that a cute 4-month-old Lab mutt had just arrived from South Carolina. “Jack” looked at me with those amazing brown eyes, wagged his cute curly tail, and did one of his iconic head tilts. I asked him if he would like to be my adventure buddy, and I swear he said “Yes!” We immediately bonded, and my best hiking, snowshoeing, skijoring, camping, and canoeing dog came home with me that day.

Dog skiing

Now called Gryphon, my dog gets me out every day on adventures here in Vermont. We also travel all over the Northeast and Canada with my husband and our other NCAL mutt Edgar, exploring new lakes to paddle and mountains to climb. I purchased a solo canoe, so that Gryphon and I could get out together for daily paddling adventures, and head out on solo canoe camping adventures. I resumed cross-country skiing after a long absence, enabling us to have great fun recreationally skijoring. Snowshoeing? The deeper the snow, the better for my mountain masher dog!

Dog in a canoe

Gryphon also has helped me give presentations on outdoor adventuring with dogs, emphasizing safety and responsibility while paddling, hiking, or snowshoeing. We are involved with local lake advocacy groups, and encourage others to respect and protect our natural environment. Active retiree? Yep, that’s me, always with Gryphon by my side.

Dog in the snow

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Sheila won North Country Animal League in Vermont a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

People's Choice Banner