King's Creek Canyon is a scenic walk up -- and sometimes through -- a creek that runs in a sheer-walled gorge in Kananaskis Country about 45 minutes from
where I live on the western side of Calgary. It's a favourite place of mine to take visitors and this particular day, my daughter, my wife and I were
accompanying our Kerry, Saxon Blue, and my cousin and her husband from England along the path that led up and into the gorge.
Now there is no question that having a dog off leash is not always the safest thing to do, but the setting was generally enclosed on the sides, well-traveled, and an unlikely place to come across un-reported bears, so Saxon was running free, looking for squirrels, our guests were enjoying the day and all was good.
Until that is, our Kerry took off like a black bullet across the rocky river floodplain, splashed over the narrow creek and disappeared into the greenery
on the other side. What the Hell? I called him but couldn't figure out what he was after. "Saxon!" "Saxon COME!!!" I began to run towards the stream.
A minute later, there he was! I could see him again. A black speck running up a rocky scree slope towards...
No way! A herd of mountain goats?? You've got to be kidding me. But that’s what they are, moving ever higher up into their rocky perches as this crazy Kerry of mine careens up the mountain cliffs trying to get ever closer to… do what? Bark at them???
"Saaaxooonnn COME!!!" He was out of control, no question. Visions of carrying his broken, battered little body home after falling from some crumbling ledge had me reeling as he climbed ever higher and the goats climbed ever higher....
There was only one thing left I could think of doing, I crossed my fingers and made supplications to The Fates. "Saxon! Do you want to go where bad dogs go?!" I screamed with all my soul across the 200 yards or so, 50 of them vertical, that separated me from my kamikaze Kerry.
Now, "Going where bad dogs go" , was a phrase used around the house when Saxon had been naughty and consisted of ten minutes alone in the main floor bathroom
with the light and the fan on. Indeed, this was truly only a small hardship and I was never really convinced of its effectiveness as a preventative
measure, but when it was used, the phrase would inevitably evoke a look that said "Oh I'm such a poor misunderstood soul" and much moping while on
his way to the "Cooler." Upon his release, he would slouch out all guilty-like to please the Court but within moments would be back to his usual playful
However, the phrase "Going where bad dogs go!" had never been used so far away from where bad dogs went...
Nor ever in such desperation.
And then a miracle happened, one of those magical moments when one gives thanks to their guardian angel for getting the job done. That little black speck turned around and started moving back down the slope towards safer ground. Towards me!
Five minutes later a glorious reunion between relieved owner and happy, huffing Kerry.
On went the leash.