Setting off with his dog Bear on a wilderness hike in Ontario, Canada, two years ago, Jim Dempster of Ohio felt a trickle of uncertainty about how his hiking companion would react to the experience.
For starters, what would happen if he set Bear loose on the trail?
“I wanted to see what he would be like off leash, but I didn’t think he’d come back to me,” Dempster says of his sturdy Rottweiler mix, now 3½. Rather than go it alone, however, the pair had joined an organized group tour run by Dog Paddling Adventures, a travel company with a refreshing twist: It specializes in outdoor trips tailored for people and their dogs. Dempster and Bear had a support crew of experienced guides trained in wilderness and pet first aid, dog owners, and a pack of enthusiastic dogs trekking along with them.
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