Perhaps I’d imagined a dog like a black lab or a Golden Retriever. Galyn (named after Galen Clark, the first guardian of the Yosemite Trust) was part Australian Cattle Dog (red heeler) and part terrier. She was active, intelligent, stand-offish, dedicated, stubborn, vocal, and completely tuned in to whatever I was doing. When we hiked together, she knew which fork in the trail I was going to take before I got there. I learned her vocabulary so well I almost heard words in my mind when she squeaked, rumbled, or barked. I was young, and we hiked for miles, cross-country, off-trail, through brush and up steep mountainsides on the east side of the Sierras. I came back exhausted; she came back ready to go for more.
I had Galyn for 15 1/2 years. I watched her birth, and I held her as she died. I was devastated by her passing, no matter how I’d tried to prepare myself. I felt like I’d lost one of my senses. I couldn’t bear the thought of another dog. I spent that winter alone, trying to convince myself that being able to just get up and go whenever I felt like it, without worrying about what I was going to do with the dog, was a great thing.
I was, of course, kidding myself. Galyn was to have a legacy of rescued Australian Cattle Dogs. In a very real way, Carter is here because of her.