Spokin’ Word: Going to the dogs this month

Coconut Borlick puts pads to paper for the September edition of Spokin' Word.

Hannah Levine and bud celebrating a great ride in the Monashees. Photo: Steve Shannon

This article first appeared in print in the September, 2018 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.

Illustration: Benji Andringa

By Coconut Borlick, pawing in for usual Spokin’ Word columnist Bryce Borlick

This column is a bit misguided if you ask me. In every issue my human companion Bryce writes about these two-wheel contraptions, which exist only to help humans keep up with the real trail stars — us dogs. So I, Coconut, have taken over the alpha spot and herded two canine athletes to talk about things. I know, not much of a plan but I’m dog and I live in the moment.

Coconut: Thanks for joining me. Sit. Speak.

Gringa: Humans call me Gringa and I’ve been through seven summer shedding cycles. As a pup, I found myself on the wrong side of the law and got bailed out by Joe Lammers. We’ve been partners ever since.

Koda: I respond to the name Koda, or Mr. Koda. Revelstoke born and raised, I come from a Sheppard/Lab/Husky lineage. I’ve spent most of my eight human years on earth hanging out with Miranda Murphy. She’s great, has access to quite a bit of food.

Coconut. What’s your job?

Koda: I patrol my yard and provide 24-hour security for Miranda. I also train her in trail running. She has won ultramarathons under my guidance but still rarely stops during a race to investigate interesting smells so there’s still room for improvement.

Gringa: I’m a trail runner. Am I professional? I have a roof over my head and food in my bowl every day so I guess I am. I let Joe handle details like finances. I keep that damn vacuum in line though.

Coconut: What kind of training do you do?

Koda: I take Miranda for runs on trails. Unfortunately she’s terrible at running on all fours and has to rely on her bike pretty often to keep up. I also take her sledding and backcountry skiing in the winter but as I get older my joints ache in the cold. Humans can throw on a puffy jacket but by the time I put on a coat, it’s spring.

Gringa: I run trails with Joe at least a few times a week in the summer and in the winter I run powder and double him on my sled. And belly rubs — I think that‘s a key element to my fitness.

Coconut: Do you manage your diet carefully?

Gringa: I’m on the Acana diet, with dog treat supplements from Zuke’s. When I was younger I liked horse poop but I can’t eat like I used to. Still love to roll in it though.

Koda: I accept treats from humans just to be polite but I much prefer dog food. White rice and carrots are the exceptions. I think if I a human ever tried a bowl of good kibble they’d never go back to their own food.

Coconut: Do you play games?

Gringa: I’m a true dog — I’ll chase anything that moves. And sometimes I’ll get a good stick or Kong toy, something that Joe really wants, and I’ll get him to chase me. Joe‘s a good boy.

Koda: I’m not a fan of fetch. Miranda tells people that I have poor mouth-eye coordination — yes, Miranda, I can hear you, my hearing is frickin’ awesome.

Coconut: What’s a perfect day for you?

Koda: A day on the trails with Miranda is a day well spent. Sometimes when she leaves, I feel like she’s never coming back. I’d also love another trip to the States where a dog can be served treats and water at restaurants. Haute cuisine. And no cats!

Gringa: Lots of running and some stinky mud to lay in. And I’d love to play with a bear again — I found one with two cubs one day and we chased each other for a while until she ran up a tree. Joe seemed worried, he was all “Gringaaaa, nooooo!”


Bryce Borlick
Bryce Borlick is a world traveler, outdoor enthusiast, and urban refugee whom you’re most likely to find wandering the mountains in search of nothing in particular. With an unruly interest in sustainability and permaculture, he may be the only person in Revelstoke dreaming of one day doing burnouts in an electric F-250 towing a tiny house.