COCHRANE – A brand-new book, featuring the photography of Cochrane local Christine Newman, and the dogs from the Cochrane and Area Humane Society, is now on digital shelves.
The book, Hiking and Paddling with Adoptable Dogs is available on Amazon, and all proceeds go to support the Cochrane and
Area Humane Society and the important work it does.
The book showcases adoptable dogs from the shelter kayaking, paddling and hiking in the beautiful Canadian Rockies.
Newman, a long-time volunteer at the Humane Society, said the book was initially supposed to be a gift for her partner, Rashelle.
“It was supposed to be a gift for my partner and a few of my friends in the hiking group and it just kind of spiralled from there,” she said. “We decided as a group it would be a great idea to publish it and make a bit of money for the shelter.”
Newman said she’s received a lot of support from the volunteers and staff of the shelter because the book serves as a reminder of the good times spent with the dogs while hiking, but the interest in the book is expanding beyond the walls of the Cochrane and Area Humane Society.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback from the dedicated dog walkers at the shelter, who spent a lot more time with the dogs than we did, and it’s a great memory for them. As well as the adoptees of the dogs; they’ve been purchasing them for themselves as well as family and friends who have fallen in love with their dogs,” she said.
Newman and the other hikers at the shelter banded together to form the group Hiking with Hounds. They use the same hashtag on social media to catalogue their activities.
“We get together every second Monday, and the staff choose dogs that will be suitable for a hike, and also dogs who have been in the shelter for longer periods that need more exposure,” she said. “So, a group of us decided to create a hiking group. It’s completely volunteer-run.”
It’s a great way to get out and have some fun and promote the dogs on social media,” she said.
The dogs have responded extremely well to the program, Newman said.
“We have dogs that hear my truck pull up or another volunteer’s car pull up that they’re used to and they get excited,” she said. “We see personalities on the hikes that we normally wouldn’t see at the shelter.”
Newman mention one dog, in particular, that had a habit of collecting rocks while on a hike. She found the behaviour so funny that the shelter made sure to mention it in the dog’s biography. That particular pup ended up being adopted to a farm that needed help clearing rocks from its field.
Newman said that dogs make great partners to have in the wild.
“For me, I love the company, I love the protection, I love that they know something before I do. We laugh at them on the hikes because of their little quirks. I just couldn’t imagine hiking without a dog.”
Newman said Hiking and Paddling with Adoptable Dogs has been very successful in helping dogs find a home. After volunteering for a while, she pitched the idea of kayaking with some dogs.
Newman is a dog owner herself and often posted photos of her own dogs hiking on social media. The posts were consistently popular, so Newman thought it would be a good idea to take a long-time resident of the shelter out for a photo shoot.
“We thought ‘we had this long-term resident that had been at the shelter for a year, do you mind if we take him kayaking and post on social media,’” she said. “And it worked! He was adopted the next day.”
Newman said the book is exclusively available on Amazon right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the shelter reopens to the public, she said, she hopes that the book will be sold in the shelter.
Although her program has had a positive impact on the shelter, Newman said all of the volunteers, not just the hikers, are crucial to its success.
“All of the volunteers together make such a difference. It’s such a great group and a great way to bond with people,” she said. “Without them, none of this would be possible.”
To get a copy of the book, head to Amazon.ca and search for Hiking and Paddling with Adoptable Dogs.