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GOOD LIFE PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR ANIMALS Sunday, April 8, 2018

Good Life Physical Therapy logo & photosRupturing my Achilles tendon, having the reparative surgery, and going through five months of physical therapy helped me understand the importance of rehabilitation on the human body. That was in August of 2010, when I was 33 years old. Seven months after my recovery was complete, Sawyer would begin his own physical therapy quest, which would span the final three years of his life.

It was in December 2009 during a radio interview on KRFC's Critter Patter show that I was introduced to the idea of physical therapy for dogs. Jill Reynolds, owner of Canine Massage of the Rockies, presented the idea as a reasonable option for an active, aging Sawyer. Soy was nine years old at the time and had early signs of arthritis. And it was Jill that ultimately connected Sawyer and me to Deanna Rodgers, owner of Good Life Physical Therapy for Animals.

When I met Deanna in July 2011, the stakes were high for Sawyer and me. We were very close to finishing Colorado's fourteeners, but Sawyer's body had endured years of intense high-altitude wear and tear. Before even calling and speaking with Deanna, Jill's words to me were this, "Josh, Deanna is legit. She'll do right by Sawyer. Give her a call and see what she says. She's the one you'll want working on him."

Over the next three plus years, visits with Deanna and Good Life Physical Therapy became a monthly routine for Sawyer and me. They occurred twice a month on rare occasion. Hour long sessions included: muscle massage and pressure point therapy, stretching and flexing exercises, balance strengthening and conditioning, coordination testing, and laser therapy. If Sawyer were still alive, he'd want me to remind you of the tasty natural peanut butter treats he received during these visits that were packed inside of a KONG®. But I digress.

Our sessions also included information on up-to-date medications, therapies, and alternative treatments that were available for aging, injured or recovering animals. We also routinely discussed exercise programs and weekly workouts that would benefit Sawyer without creating setbacks for him. And lastly, Deanna often recommended businesses that offered underwater treadmills and doggie swimming pools like Advanced Animal Care in Fort Collins, Colorado.

For me personally, Deanna's approach to Sawyer's physical therapy was very appealing. She was well educated in both traditional and alternative medicine. In her earlier years she had worked with physical therapy practices on the human side, only to transfer after much schooling to the animal side of the equation. In Deanna's eyes, Sawyer was not just a pet, or a dog, or a four-legged animal. He was a highly-trained, high-performance, fourteener-climbing canine...athlete. And he was treated as such in all of his sessions. Sawyer was only subjected to treatments and medications that were approved by me as his owner, as well as a practicing veterinarian.

Anyone who's read my book or knows me personally understands how much I loved Sawyer. I only gave him the best. Deanna offered that to Sawyer, and will do so for your beloved furry friend as well. If you live in northern Colorado and have an aging, injured or recovering pet, Deanna Rodgers of Good Life Physical Therapy for Animals is the person you will want to contact for treatments and assistance. She has treated many different types animals including dogs, cats, rabbits and many more. Just ask!

Deanna Rogers of Good Life Physical Therapy, LLC
info@goodlifepetpt.com
970-217-6632

WILL MY DOG BE IN HEAVEN? Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Photos of Summit the Mountain DogWill my dog be in heaven? It’s the question many ask after their beloved canine companion has passed away. For some the question is laughable. And for possibly the largest part of the population, it’s unscientific at its basis. For me personally, it was the question I asked and spent years seeking out after our family dog, Winston, died when I was roughly 25 years old.

Writing a blog like this certainly isn’t going to help book sales for me. Let’s be honest, people aren’t drawn to this subject. If anything, they are turned off by it. And while I am well aware it will probably hurt my book sales, I still feel compelled to address it. My personality is to seek truth whether or not it pleases others.

The reason for this blog is simple. In mid-February of this year my friend, Scott, had to put down his 13.5 year old dog, Summit. Summit was a Labradoodle Scott had acquired 12.5 years earlier. The two spent nearly their entire time together exploring the mountainous regions of Colorado on a daily basis. I had the pleasure of hiking with them roughly 10 times. I found Summit to be calm, pleasant, enjoyable, and quite the overall climber. She brought a peace to each climb that was special. Scott’s personality was much the same. Whether Summit reflected Scott’s personality, or vice-versa, I don’t know. Perhaps they were just two individuals that fit together perfectly. What I do know is both were politely reserved. So, this article is for Scott in memory of Summit, and for anyone else like myself that has asked this big question. If you do not believe in heaven, nor find the Bible credible, there is no need to continue reading regardless of the answer I come to.

If we’re going to address whether or not our pets will be in heaven, we need to go to the source ­‑ the Bible - Genesis through Revelation. In the beginning, God created the world and placed plants, animals, and finally people in it. There was NO death, nor was death intended. Both humans and animals were given something special that plants did not receive; the nephesh. Nephesh is the Hebrew word for “breath of life.” It gave birds, beasts and mankind a sentient nature which God breathed into them. It wasn’t until sin entered the Garden of Eden that death occurred.

In the story of Noah and the great flood, God commands Noah to build a large ark to preserve both man and animal from the coming deluge. If God had not cared about animals, the ark could have been substantially smaller to avoid the hassle of constructing such a massive vessel. But more importantly, we need to see that the ark IS a picture of Jesus Christ. While the judgement of the Father literally rained down in the form of water droplets flooding the Earth for 40 days, those inside the ark received salvation. Both man and animal.

Psalm 36:6 gives another clear view that God cares for animals. “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.” Most of the Psalms were written by King David, a man who spent early life caring for and protecting sheep. David, an earthly shepherd is a reflection of Jesus, our heavenly shepherd.

A preview of heaven is spoken of by Isaiah several times. In Isaiah 11:6-9 he writes on behalf of God, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” These verses make it clear that not only will animals be with us in heaven, they will not be in fear of each other or living in their worldly survival states.

Continuing on, in the story of Jonah and the great fish, God commands nature to do specific tasks to get Jonah to see the truth and eventually preach to the people of Nineveh. God appoints a great fish to swallow Jonah, and later appoints a worm to destroy a plant Jonah is resting under. But it’s at the end of the book of Jonah that things get interesting. God tells Jonah he does not want to destroy Nineveh because He cares about the people AND the animals. In Jonah 4:11 God says, “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, and also many animals?”

In the new testament Jesus often talks about birds, which are forgotten or disregarded by humans, yet remembered and cared for by God. One of my favorite verses is Luke 12:6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” The corresponding verse in Matthew 10:29 reads, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” I have always enjoyed bird watching, but I’ve never considered each individual one as something to be remembered. But God does.

Romans 8:19-23 tells us the ENTIRE creation groans for God’s return. Yes, we humans are the crown of creation, but animals are part of God’s design and are eagerly awaiting for Him to restore creation to its original state. “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” If these verses were to specify human emotions only, the Apostle Paul would not have considered the WHOLE creation when writing them.

Toward the end of the Bible, in Revelation 5:13, we read about Christ’s return. It indicates that ALL of creation, including the animals, will honor Him with their voices. Then I heard EVERY creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” For those who are still reading, I’m sure another question has arisen. Are you suggesting that the animals will talk? I don’t know if they’ll speak our language, but they’ll say it, even if it’s in their own tongue. How do I know this? In Luke 19:40 the Pharisees told Jesus to quiet the people who were praising Him. He replied, “I tell you the truth, if I were to silence these people, even the very rocks themselves would cry out.” Yes, ALL of creation is loved by Him and ALL of creation recognizes Him.

But if I were to sum up mostly why I think God will have our pets in heaven, I would say this...He Loves Us. Jesus says in Matthew 7:8-11, “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him!”

It has been almost four years since Sawyer passed away, and I still miss him. I can’t wait for the great gift of seeing him again. And I know Scott is really looking forward to being reunited with Summit. Perhaps there is a heavenly hiking quest we’ll be taking on as a team. Thank you, God, for loving us and our pets. So to those who read this, expect to see your pets in heaven. The gift awaits.

MY DO TELL PRESENTATION Wednesday, January 17, 2018 *UPDATED 1.28.18*

Do Tell LogoDo Tell! is now available to watch online. The City of Greeley recently posted the individual Do Tell! event videos on YouTube. These links will allow you to view my presentation. I am not a professional speaker, but I am passionate about the quest Sawyer and I shared. The talk focuses on three key aspects: friendship, failure and faith. There are a few photos of Sawyer and me during our climbing days that will be in the video. I hope you enjoy the talk. WARNING: If you have not read the book, there are spoilers.

Do Tell Screenshot of Josh Aho The presentation is 18:54 in length and can be viewed at this link on YouTube.

Do Tell took place November 16, 2017, at the Union Colony Civic Center in Greeley. You can learn more about the event by viewing the Do Tell website. The Greeley Creative District will update the website for future presenters coming in 2018.

DOG-FRIENDLY / CANINE-FRIENDLY 14ERS Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dog-Friendly ClimbOf all the questions I’ve been asked in regards to climbing fourteeners with a dog, the most common has been, “What fourteeners are dog-friendly?” While my website has been active for over two years, I have not addressed that question specifically in any blog ­until now.

The problem with the question itself is the level of assumption behind it. The assumption which is massive is, “Certainly some fourteeners must be dog-friendly.” And that’s the enormous gray area that some don’t seem to understand or perceive, while others cringe attempting to answer. To put things plainly, there are two answers to this huge question. The first is simply to provide a list of dog-friendly or canine-friendly fourteeners based on a guesstimation derived from personal climbing experience with a dog. The second answer, however, is much more complicated because it involves details as to the who, what, when, where, how and why of things. These gray areas involve things like a dog’s age and breed, your personal bond with the animal, available climbing equipment, and many other considerations far too numerous to mention in a short pared-down blog.

When I decided in the summer of 2003 to begin designing and writing Climbing Colorado’s 14ers With Sawyer, my focus was to give people top-notch information about hiking and climbing fourteeners with a dog. Hiking and climbing are different animals. Pun intended. And that is why the book is called Climbing Colorado’s 14ers With Sawyer, and not Hiking Colorado’s 14ers With Sawyer. I spent eleven years climbing the fourteeners with Sawyer while working on this book. An additional four more were needed to complete it. With fifteen years invested in this book from start to finish, I have no doubt that Climbing Colorado’s 14ers With Sawyer is by far the best dog and fourteener resource combo you’ll get.

If you are looking for the best available information about climbing the fourteeners with your dog, and also have a desire to answer as many gray areas about climbing the fourteeners with your canine companion, purchase a copy of my book today. Doing so will not only help your dog’s future safety, but yours as well. Climbing Colorado’s 14ers With Sawyer is the elite and only hard copy resource for climbing the fourteeners with a dog. No other book contains this valuable information. You will not regret your purchase, and neither will your dog.

And for those who neither want to purchase nor do any involved research, not to worry. Gray areas have been conveniently removed to provide the dog-friendly 14ers list below:

Mount Elbert 14,433'
Mount Massive: 14,421'
La Plata Peak: 14,336'
Uncompahgre Peak: 14,309'
Mount Lincoln: 14,286'
Grays Peak: 14,270'
Mount Antero: 14,269'
Torreys Peak: 14,267'
Quandary Peak: 14,265'
Mount Evans: 14,264'
*Mount Cameron: 14,238'
Mount Shavano: 14,229'
Mount Belford: 14,197'
Mount Princeton: 14,197'
Mount Yale: 14,196'
Mount Bross: 14,172'
Mount Oxford: 14,153'
Mount Democrat: 14,148'
*South Mount Elbert: 14,134'
*South Mount Massive: 14,132'
Missouri Mountain: 14,067'
Humboldt Peak: 14,064'
Mount Bierstadt: 14,060'
Handies Peak: 14,048'
Culebra Peak: 14,047'
Mount Sherman: 14,036'
Redcloud Peak: 14,034'
San Luis Peak: 14,014'
Huron Peak: 14,003'
Sunshine Peak: 14,001'

*Considered unofficial fourteeners/subpeaks. Colorado has 54 "official" fourteeners. In order for two fourteeners to be considered official, they must meet 2 requirements. (1) The summits must be one mile apart. (2) There must be a minimum 300 foot drop from each summit to the connecting ridge low point between the peaks.

DO TELL: GREELEY'S VERSION OF TED TALKS Thursday, October 5, 2017

Do Tell LogoHave you ever heard of Ted Talks? My guess is you probably have. “Do Tell! – Greeley Voices that Inspire” is similar in nature. Eight local presenters are given the opportunity to share their compelling stories in front an audience at the Hensel Phelps Theater in Greeley, Colorado. The stories are not the work of professional presenters, but are based upon the experiences of real people who have been selected through an audition process to tell their story. Speakers will offer an array of topics with personal and unique perspectives that have had a significant impact on the storyteller’s life.

Do Tell Screenshot of Josh Aho A short 24 second impromptu clip about my presentation can be viewed at this link on YouTube.

Do Tell takes place November 16, 2017, at the Union Colony Civic Center. You can learn more about the event by viewing the Do Tell website. The Greeley Creative District will update the website for the November presenters and ticket sales.

EXPECTATIONS: WINNING & LOSING Saturday, September 9, 2017

Quote on WinningWhat is success? What is failure? Those seem like simple questions. Maybe even easy ones to answer. But try to answer them honestly for yourself and others around you, and you'll find them to be quite complicated. Can you lose when you win, and win when you lose? Is it possible to be a failure through succeeding, and be a success through failure? We live in a world obsessed with perfection. Money, status and power are the obvious giants in the industry. Body building, physique and cosmetics are now more important than ever. And yet with all the pressure to be perfect, just to portray an image of victory in life, people are more unhappy than ever.

In the last chapter of my book, I have many quotes that hit home. One of them is quite well known. "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." The individual originally quoted as saying it was UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell ("Red") Sanders. It's a quote that most people know whether or not they like sports...and whether or not they know who actually said it. It's also a quote that probably sums up the mentality of our world.

I challenge you to evaluate true success, and on the other hand, true failure. While standing on mountain summits, gaining status, and earning a great paycheck are all wonderful things, they do not satisfy in the long run of life. Strong faith, great relationships, true loyalty, honesty, dignity and so on, are much higher achievements that we rarely cherish. Consider your success...and your failure. Regardless of how high you get on the mountain, the REAL truth lies within.

1ST INTERVIEW ON KRFC 88.9 FM Saturday, August 5, 2017

KRFC Radio Logo

This radio interview was the first I had with KRFC. Ed Lammon and Jeff Reichert both hosted Critter Patter at the time. The show was recorded December 18, 2009, but aired January 14, 2010. Sawyer was in attendance during recording of my first and second shows. Enjoy!

2ND INTERVIEW ON KRFC 88.9 FM Saturday, August 5, 2017

KRFC Radio Logo

This interview was the second I had with KRFC, and was conducted in live studio by Jeff Reichert, who was the sole host of Critter Patter at the time. The broadcast took place November 11, 2010. It is the only live radio interview I have done. Sawyer also attended. Enjoy!

CANINE MASSAGE OF THE ROCKIES Monday, June 26, 2017

Canine Massage of the Rockies logo & photosI met Jill Reynolds in December 2009 during an interview I had on KRFC's Critter Patter show in Fort Collins. Jill, owner of Canine Massage of the Rockies, and member of Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado (SARDOC), was in attendance. During the taping of the half hour segment, she worked on Sawyer's tender lower back, offering massage and pressure point treatment. Sawyer was 9 years old at the time, and just beginning to show signs of aging. Jill's current dog, Skid, was only two years old then, and in training with SARDOC to receive certification. After 6 years of service with SARDOC, Skid retired. The briefing on Skid's retirement was published in 2014.

After the interview, Jill and I spoke for a while about Sawyer's age, health and climbing career. I remember her saying, "Josh, you'll probably have to tell Sawyer when to retire. He'll keep going until he hurts himself." As it turns out, the 30 minute massage Sawyer received that day would be the very beginning of the much needed physical therapy he would partake in for the rest of his life.

When it comes to canine massage, Jill is a trusted professional with roughly 15 years experience. She was certified at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy, and has the support of several veterinarians in northern Colorado. Contacting your dog's current vet, reviewing their complete medical history, and evaluating them in person is just the beginning of the process. Veterinary testimonials supporting Jill's work are insightful, bringing to light improved range of motion, better quality of life and decreased pain for your furry friend. Testimonials from various clientele express equal support having seen improvement in their dogs in as little as two treatments. In addition to the benefits of your dog receiving massage therapy, Jill offers the convenience of home visits, allowing your dog to remain comfortable and calm in his or her own living room.

Regardless of whether you're climbing Colorado's fourteeners with your dog, or simply trail hiking the flatlands with your four-legged friend, Canine Massage of the Rockies may be a great solution to help your dog regain mobility, improve muscle tone, recover from injury and ultimately slow the negative impacts from this continued outdoor activity. To schedule treatments for your dog, use the information below (or the link to Jill's website above).

Jill Reynolds of Canine Massage of the Rockies
jill.skiddy@gmail.com
970-498-0060
970-689-9302 (cell)

LISTEN TO MY RECENT INTERVIEW ON KRFC 88.9 FM Monday, June 12, 2017

KRFC Radio Logo

Thanks to KRFC 88.9 FM for recent interview I had on their Critter Patter show with Jill Reynolds. The show was recorded 5/29/17, but aired 6/8/17. Jill mentions my upcoming presentation at Red Feather Lakes Community Library. Enjoy!

PRESENTATION: RED FEATHER LAKES COMMUNITY LIBRARY Saturday, June 10, 2017

Red Feather Lakes Community Library BuildingOn Saturday, June 24th, Red Feather Lakes Community Library will be hosting me as I present from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Stenzel Room. The first half hour will cover my book, while the second half will focus on canine climbing safety as well as backcountry packing with your dog. Of course, questions are welcome! Come and enjoy the beautiful Red Feather Lakes Library, as well as the surrounding scenery. Books will be available for sale.

Also, a big thank you to Jill Reynolds of Canine Massage of the Rockies, and host of KRFC's Critter Patter show, for recommending me as a speaker. I will be writing a blog in the next few weeks about Jill, her search and rescue dog, Skid, as well as her company. Don't miss it!

And lastly, a HUGE thank you to Jeanette Heath and Creed of the Red Feather Lakes Library for supporting this project by including Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer in the library there. This is the second library system to include the book. Go to the Red Feather Lakes Community Library website to learn more about their facility, and to read more about the upcoming presentation on Saturday, June 24th at 1:00 p.m. You can also visit the RFLCL Facebook page to follow updates and postings pertaining to this event. See you there, and I hope you enjoy!

INTERVIEW: KRFC 88.9 FM CRITTER PATTER Thursday, May 11, 2017 *UPDATED 6.2.17*

KRFC Radio Logo & Interview PhotosOn June 1st, KRFC's 88.9 FM Critter Patter show we be hosting and interviewing me about Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer. Critter Patter is “all things animals” every Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. on KRFC. When Sawyer was alive, he and I were on the show twice — once in 2009 and again in 2010. At that time, we met Jill Reynolds of Canine Massage of the Rockies. Jill now runs Critter Patter each week, hosting amazing animal welfare non-profits, talented authors, and other experts to discuss the latest in animal health, as well as share special stories about people and their pets, and much, much more. Check out Critter Patter to learn more.

*UPDATE: New Show Date! JUNE 8TH @ 6:30 P.M.

The radio interview with KRFC's Critter Patter show was recorded Monday, May 29th and will air on Thursday evening, June 8th at 6:30 p.m. The show will also be available online through the KFRC website, however, listeners will have to do so live. KRFC does not post links to shows online for later listening. If I am able to get a CD from Jill Reynolds of the recording, I will post it on this blog. Thanks for listening!

BOOKS & BREWS EVENT AT WELDWERKS BREWING Saturday, April 29, 2017

Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer Book GiftOn Sunday, May 7th Books and Brews is BACK! Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer will be available for sale at the event. Weldwerks in downtown Greeley will be hosting, and the High Plains Library District is bringing a full day of book-centric greatness! There will be a silent reading meetup/party, pub quiz, and local authors. I'll be one of the authors. High Plains Library District has 250+ books to giveaway of brand new, beautiful, current titles. Good stuff, too! My book, as of now, is not on the giveaway list from what I've been told. But, that may change. Stay tuned and attend for lots of fun. See you there.

SADLY OVERLOOKED: WATER & BOWLS Monday, March 20, 2017 *UPDATED 3.21.17*

Bison Designs Dog BowlIf you think water doesn't matter, I assume you do not view it as an essential of life. Regardless of one's personal beliefs, theistic or atheistic, water is necessary for life. Whether considering man, animal, or plant...water is vital for survival.

Climbing fourteeners, or any mountains for that matter, requires two basic things: time and energy. The more of these you expend, the more likely you'll need water to keep you going. Too many times over the years I witnessed climbers that treated their dog as an afterthought. Years ago, on a non-traditional route from Mount Bierstadt to Mount Evans, Sawyer and I ran into a climber and his Black Lab just above Abyss Lake. This particular dog was very large, heavy, and clearly exhausted. The dog's owner had brought only enough water for himself, and simply stated his dog could drink from "rivers, streams, and ponds." I gladly gave the dog some of Sawyer's water, being I always carried a two day supply.

Years prior to that story, a different gentleman near the top of another fourteener stopped Sawyer and I to ask questions. He was intrigued about Sawyer, but saddened at the sight of him. He had lost his climbing dog due to dehydration and heatstroke during a climb. He told me he had not brought water for his dog, and sadly the dog perished because of it.

If you plan to take your dog hiking or climbing, bring him or her water and a collapsible bowl. The best bowls will easily fit into your pocket when compressed. Larger bowls will not do so, and they'll complicate things when you find yourself wasting water your dog refuses to drink in one sitting. Also, do not place your dog's bowl inside your backpack. An easily accessible bowl makes it simpler to get water for your dog throughout the entire day. Removing your pack multiple times throughout the day to get water for your dog is not practical. Best practices are to drain water from your hydration bladder hose into the bowl. Doing so is both easy and convenient. Offering small amounts to your dog will prevent the continual dumping of water from the bowl, should your dog not consume it all at once. On dry climbs, your most precious commodity will be water. And you cannot afford to waste it! Lastly, remember to ask your canine companion if he or she needs water. Your dog WILL let you know! Remember, a hydrated dog is a happy and healthy one!

Collapsible dog bowls are made by many companies, and are sold virtually everywhere imaginable. The best bowl I ever had for Sawyer was the Bison Designs Fold-A-Bowl. In fact, I still have it. It appears similar to the one pictured above. The bowl is about 3" high and 5" wide. It sits next to Sawyer on the cover photo of my book, and is the perfect size for outdoor adventures.

*UPDATE: After posting this blog, Bison Designs responded with this nice message...

Hello Josh,

This is very cool! Thank you so much for sharing. We wish Sawyer was still with us so we could thank him as well ;0)

We appreciate your continued support for Bison Designs products.

Happy Trails!

Thank you,

Bison Designs
Customer Service

HIGH PLAINS LIBRARY DISTRICT INCLUDES SAWYER'S BOOK Friday, March 10, 2017

High Plains Library District logoI wanted to thank the High Plains Library District, Victoria Boone, and all who supported the Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer book project by including it in this excellent library system. HPLD is the first library network in Colorado to include the book in its lineup, making it available to all members. It is an honor and privilege. If you would like to check out the book, the search done here will allow you to do so. The book is processing, but will be available soon. High Plains Library District: Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer

TRUE CHAMPIONS: WHO ARE THEY? Sunday, March 5, 2017

Book Excerpt on True ChampionsMountain climbing and the pursuit of goals can bring out the best and worst in people. It did just that for me. It also can force a person to evaluate aspects of success and failure that might normally be overlooked. Everyone likes to hold the trophy above their head, but what happens when you don't win? Or what happens when you reach the top, and find out it's a lonely place there? The short excerpt to the left reads in full below...

One of the biggest things I have learned is that success is not judged by mountain summits, trophies, and accolades. To be a success, you must not be defined by the summit or the trophy. You must be higher than the summit and more radiant than the trophy. You must be greater than these things, because they cannot define you. Only you can define them. A person defined by a mountain summit will never be bigger than the mountain itself. A person defined by a trophy cannot be greater than the piece of metal from which it is forged. No one should be defined by an elevation in the sky or a shiny piece of metal. These things do not define champions. Many who have them are not champions. And yet many who do not have them are the greatest champions of all.

Coming to the truth can be both painful and ugly, regardless of the outcome of your event. But truth, no matter how painful, is freeing. Ultimately, that is what should be sought after. The Bible tells us in John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

THE NEW YEAR: SETTING & REACHING YOUR GOALS Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer Book Back CoverEach new year brings new goals. For climbers, as well as their canine counterparts, it presents new opportunities to reach heights not attained before. When setting goals for your upcoming climbing year, consider these three things. 1: Are my dog and I MENTALLY prepared to tackle the goals set? 2: Do we have the necessary GEAR to help us reach those goals? 3: Have I STUDIED the routes and RESEARCHED the mountains well enough to give not only myself, but also my dog, the best chance to succeed? Many times it is easy to forget these key elements. Most climbers remember the gear, but forget that having it does not equate to mental preparation and strength. And of course, research is SO vital. Seeing photos from trips, reading posts, researching websites, studying books, learning from the successes and failures of others, and so forth are all great ways to gear up. Ultimately, these considerations are left up to you. For those lacking mental preparedness, your success may come at the even greater cost of injury or loss of life to your dog.

A GREAT GIFT IDEA: CHRISTMAS OR BIRTHDAY Monday, December 12, 2016

Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer Book GiftClimbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer has been a popular gift idea for loved ones on both Christmas and birthdays. Last year it was selected by the Fort Collins Coloradoan as one of 10 Cool Gifts For The Active & Outdoorsy. You can either arrange to pick it up or have it shipped. Shipping takes about three days to any location in the continental U.S. The book is a great resource for those that enjoy outdoor adventures with their dog. It is also a fun read for those that simply love dogs, the outdoors, the fourteeners or Colorado in general.

THE WINTER BLUES Thursday, December 8, 2016

It's been a while since I've posted and even longer it seems since I've been in the mountains. And how I miss it! The smells, the scenery, and the solitude. Wow! In today's world it is difficult, if not nearly impossible to escape the chaos of daily life. When Sawyer was alive, the winter months were a time for us to shut down the mountaineering operation and focus on other aspects of life. Rarely did we tackle anything of significance in the winter, and never did we attempt any fourteeners during these months. In the upcoming weeks and months, I'll concentrate on gearing up for 2017. The blog spots here will focus on supplies and goods, as well as training techniques you and your canine companion can use to help have a successful summer climbing season in 2017. Stay tuned!

IT'S GOTTA BE THE SHOES! Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sawyer along the Halo RidgeIt was 1989 when I first saw the commercial. And it led to the purchase of my first pair of Air Jordans. Mars Blackmon, the character played by Spike Lee, was asking Michael Jordan what his secret was to being "the best player in the universe." Mars asks, "Is it the vicious dunks?" Jordan replies, "No, Mars." Then pointing to Jordan's bald head Mars says, "Is it the hair cut?" Jordan again says, "No, Mars." Mars then exclaims, "Is it the shoes? Money, it's gotta be the shoes. The shoes! It's the shoes, right?!" The black and white commercial is still classic.

Over the years, many people asked what it was that made Sawyer a great climber. "Many things," was my typical reply. But, his strength of mind was really the key trait. However, many were simply drawn to his shoes. Just like the elusive pair of Air Jordans everyone wanted in 1989, fellow climbers dreamed of having their dog scaling cliff edges and class 4 terrain with a brand new pair of dog shoes. And the voice of the fictional character Mars Blackmon rang in my head when people seemed to believe that Sawyer was special because of shoes. "It's gotta be the shoes, right?" No, Mars.

If you plan to hike and climb with your dog, purchasing a good set of dog shoes is crucial. Of course, they do not come in pairs, but in sets of four. The best shoes, and the ones Sawyer wore, were made by Ruff Wear. The original Ruff Wear style shoe was re-upped by REI for a while until ultimately being discontinued. Ruff Wear currently makes several dog shoes for different types of terrain. Keep in mind, there are several other companies to choose from as well. However, choose your set carefully. Because ultimately, while it's not the shoes, the wrong ones can and very well might be disastrous for your dog.

REMEMBERING SAWYER: 2 YEARS LATER Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sawyer Above Chihuahua Gulch The photo to the left is one that has been in my house for many years. And I have loved it dearly. It is from above Chihuahua Gulch on the west side of Torreys Peak, during our second year of climbing fourteeners. On my 25th birthday, I received a 2 foot by 3 foot framed print of it. For many years this picture sat all alone in a beautiful archway in my house. And how I miss those days. Now it sits there as a memorial of sorts, accompanied by Sawyer's climbing harness, a set of his old climbing shoes, and his ashes.

It was two years ago today that I got the call from my dad. "Josh, Sawyer fell," he said. "Pick him up," I thought. But when my dad repeated his words I knew this was no ordinary fall. I could hear the fear in his voice. It turned out Sawyer had collapsed in my parents house when I was away in Denver for a short while. What none of us knew at the time was his spleen had ruptured and was internally bleeding due to cancer that was unknown to anyone. The drive home that day was terribly emotional not knowing whether or not I'd get to see Sawyer again. The sky was mostly overcast, but the view of the mountains was not. It was clear skies above the entire Front Range as if God was saying, "Josh, I too remember the good times you both had up there." After taking Sawyer to the emergency vet, it was evident we were nearing an end.

I'll be getting married in few days and starting a new venture in life. But Sawyer's life and friendship will never be forgotten. I wish he could be there. But maybe God will tell him Tiffany and I are going to be okay. If you have read my book, and are interested in Sawyer's last day, click here. WARNING: There are spoilers.

14ER CANINE MAP POSTER PRINTS? Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer MapI was recently asked if I sell the map pictured in Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer. I am currently investigating resizing the map to a poster size of approximately 2 feet by 3 feet, as well as getting it printed in bulk. This is a project I'm trying to gauge interest in to see whether time, effort, and costs are worth the investment. If you have any interest in purchasing a larger version of the map shown here, which is also seen in Sawyer's book, please email me or call me using the information on the contact page.

BOOKS TO SELL AT HOME & GARDEN SHOW THIS WEEKEND Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Come to the Tribune Home & Garden Show at Island Grove (N 14th Ave) in Greeley this weekend and stop by Tiffany's Paws In The Kitchen Dog Treats booth to say "hi" to us. Tiffany will be selling her excellent homemade dog treats that will make your dog smile, and I will have my book, Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer, also available for purchase. The show is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (March 11, 12, & 13). There are no entry fees. Parking is also free. We will be in the north building toward the back in the pets section. If you do not want to buy treats or a book, stop by the booth next to us and adopt a dog from the Humane Society.

WRITE A BOOK REVIEW OF SAWYER'S BOOK! Monday, February 29, 2016

If you would like to write a book review of Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer, it would be greatly appreciated. The more reviews that are out there, the more it helps those interested in reading the book get a feel for it. If you have enjoyed reading and viewing my book, and would like to write a review of it, you have two options. Option one is write up a review, send it my way, and I'll post it to my blog. Option two, however, might be simpler. Go to the Google Books link here, click on Write a review, and sign into your email to write your review! Help me by telling others you got the book at www.14ercanine.com! Google Books Review: Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer.

THE FINAL PAW PAGES MAGAZINE Sunday, January 31, 2016

Final Northern Colorado Paw Pages Magazine Anyone who read the first Northern Colorado Paw Pages magazine containing Sawyer and me (fall of 2009), might not know that we were featured in the magazine one more time about a year and a half later (spring/summer 2011). This would be our last time in Paw Pages magazine, and also be the final time Paw Pages would print. After approximately three years in business, Paw Pages would close down shop for good. The magazine still brings fond memories, and I really wish it had survived. About a year prior to the magazine's final issue, Ed Lammon sold his share of Paw Pages to co-owner Jeff Reichert. Jeff was able to keep the business alive for about a year before unfortunately having to cease operations.

The story here covers the summer of 2010 when Sawyer and I climbed Snowmass Mountain and Little Bear Peak. The article, Josh & Sawyer Update, contains excerpts of some of the actual writings in my book. Wait for the PDF to load and scroll forward to the beginning of the article on page 38.

WHO PRINTED SAWYER'S BOOK? Monday, January 25, 2016

Star Print Brokers logo Since my book has been published, I have occasionally received the question, "Who printed your book?" Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer was printed in South Korea by Star Print Brokers. The company is run by Edward and Nancy Starkman. Both are VERY kind and extremely helpful. Anyone printing a book, be it a self-publisher like me or a large company, should check into Star Print Brokers. They are great. If you are interested in printing a book with Star Print Brokers and would like more information, you can read my review of them here.

BOOK ENDORSEMENT & REVIEW BY: GERRY ROACH Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Colorado's 14ers From Hikes To Climbs By Gerry Roach I must be honest and admit up front that it was my fiancée's (Tiffany's) idea to contact Gerry Roach to review my book, Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer. Roach was a legend in my mind, not only for his climbs of Colorado's fourteeners and guidebooks about them, but for his worldwide mountaineering feats. To greatly simplify his resumé, Roach has over 50 years of mountaineering experience. He climbed Everest in 1983 and was the second person in history to climb all of the seven summits. For those not emersed in the climbing world, the seven summits reference the highest summit on each of the seven continents. Roach went on to become the first person to climb every major peak in North America over 16,000 feet. While this drastric oversimplification of his accomplishments is unfair, and possibly even rude, it allows those few who have not heard of him to have a general idea of his mountaineering accomplishments and greatness.

From my part of things, I had owned several of Gerry Roach's books and had referenced them multiple times before, during, and even after my climbs with Sawyer. These books offered tons of valuable information for everyone from beginners to the most advanced. Just about every imaginable route up the mountain is covered in his books, and the detail within them is incredible. My favorite book of his, Colorado's Fourteeners From Hikes To Climbs (Second Edition), was used and reused by me so much over the years it was nearly thrashed. His third edition, pictured in the upper left of this blog section, is the one I bought and kept in mint condition at the end of Sawyer's and my climbing quest.

Even after Tiffany mentioned that I should contact Gerry Roach to review my book, I hesitated. I wondered if he would even want to review and/or endorse my book. After all, I owned his books. Not the other way around. And to be realistic, he didn't have to do it. But after some poking and prodding from Tiffany, I finally contacted him. If you would like to read Gerry Roach's thoughts on my book, take a look below. Not only am I really greatful to have him review my book, I am also VERY honored to share the things he wrote about it. Thank you, Gerry Roach. I hope my book brings joy to your life, just as your books have brought so much joy to mine.

Climbing Colorado’s 14ers With Sawyer is an exceptional book; it soars across several domains. Foremost, it’s a compelling story of love and companionship between a man and his dog during their quest to climb all of Colorado’s fourteeners together. Josh’s dog, Sawyer, takes center stage during their 11 year quest, and these adventure stories are likely to bring tears of joy to the eyes of dog lovers everywhere. We are used to hearing stories about great deeds, but seeing Sawyer on the heights settles us into a simpler place. Unfettered by our modern world, Sawyer climbed for the pure delight of being up high with his best friend. The large format book has hundreds of color photographs, and this book also offers a great view of the fourteeners. Sit back, breathe, and enjoy!

Gerry Roach


NEWS ARTICLE BY: THE REPORTER HERALD Sunday, December 6, 2015

Reporter Herald logo Jessica Benes of the Loveland Reporter Herald wrote an article about Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer on December 3. The article then ran in the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post newspapers the following days. Thank you, Jessica, for the great story! If you would like to read the article, it is called Dog Climbs Colorado Fourteeners.

RECALLING PAW PAGES Monday, November 30, 2015

Northern Colorado Paw Pages Magazine In April 2009, Sawyer and I met Jeff Reichert and Ed Lammon, founders, co-owners, and developers of Northern Colorado Paw Pages. Jeff originally heard the story of Sawyer through my sister, who worked at a salon cutting Jeff's hair. At the time, Paw Pages was new to the market and the first publication had just been released. Ed and Jeff were interested in doing a story about Sawyer, but at the time Sawyer was in retirement from a climbing injury that had taken place in August 2008. Paw Pages was only published twice a year, so the story of Sawyer would not be seen until September 2009.

As Ed and Jeff began interviewing me for the story, it was Ed that actually sparked Sawyer's return to the 14ers. Ed suggested trying physical therapy and rehab for Sawyer. At first I was very hesitant for many reasons. I did not want Sawyer to be pumped full of drugs by a physical therapist or clinic. And, I did not want our quest to continue due to selfishness on my part, or for a story.

After much thought, I declined to have Sawyer attend physical therapy and rehab. But, something quite amazing came of all of this. Ed's idea actually triggered one of my own. I began swimming Sawyer several times each week in Lake Loveland, and his recovery was so significant that we ended up climbing 14ers for three more summers before his final retirement.

While the Paw Pages story is now six years old, it is fun for me to recall. In fact, Paw Pages ran two articles on us, the second being in 2010. I still miss the days that Sawyer and I shared. In 2009 and 2010, Ed and Jeff hosted us on a local radio show known as Critter Patter on KRFC. Sawyer attended both times. If you are interested in reading the old 2009 Paw Pages article, it was called Meet Sawyer: Greeley's 14er-Bagging Dog. Wait for the PDF to load and scroll forward to the beginning of the article on page 13.

SELECTED A TOP 10 CHRISTMAS GIFT! Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Coloradoan logo Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer was recently selected as a Top 10 Christmas Gift for the outdoors lover by the Fort Collins Coloradoan. How cool is that?! The best part is they refer to Sawyer and me as "pseudo celebrities within the fourteener community." Their feature, which ran on Sunday, November 22, was called 10 Cool Gifts For The Active & Outdoorsy.

NEWS ARTICLE BY: THE GREELEY TRIBUNE Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Tribune logoLast month, Dan England of The Greeley Tribune wrote an article about Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer, featuring the quest Sawyer and I shared over eleven years. The article was also published in the Aspen Times and other mountain papers. The piece was called Dogs Days: Author Recalls The Best Of Times On 14ers With His Golden Retriever In New Coffee Table Book

GREELEY WESLEYAN HOLIDAY ART/CRAFT FESTIVAL Monday, November 2, 2015

I will be selling books at Greeley Wesleyan Church (3600 W 22nd St, Greeley, CO 80634) on Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6 during the Holiday Arts & Crafts Festival. Stop by the event to purchase a signed copy of Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer! Find the book at the Paws In The Kitchen By Tiffany homemade dog treats booth.

BOOK REVIEW BY: AN EVEREST CLIMBER Thursday, October 29, 2015

Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer Back Book CoverClimbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer was recently reviewed by Brandon and Kristine Chalk, the youngest married couple in history to climb Mount Everest. In 2009, I contacted Brandon to see if he'd let me include his dog, Rainier, in the History of 14er Dogs section of my book. At the time, Rainier had climbed roughly 40 fourteeners, while Brandon and Kristine were nearing completion of the Seven Summits. Brandon recently wrote a book review for Climbing Colorado's 14ers With Sawyer on his website called New 14er Dog Book.

ANNUAL STITCHES IN TIME QUILT & CRAFT SHOW Thursday, October 22, 2015

I will be selling books at the Quilt & Craft Show on Saturday, October 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Roosevelt High School in Johnstown, CO (616 N 2nd St). My fiancée will be selling her homemade Paws In The Kitchen By Tiffany dog treats as well. Stop by the booth and see us.

BOOK REVIEW BY: SCOTT FARISH & PEPPER Monday, October 19, 2015

Pepper Next to Sawyer's Book Sawyer and I met Scott Farish and his friend, Jordan, high on the slopes of Mount Democrat in June 2010 when Sawyer was 10 years old. Both Scott and Jordan seemed surprised Sawyer had climbed so many fourteeners. At the time, Sawyer had climbed 58 fourteeners and was only 3 shy of completing all of them. Scott recently posted the message below on his Facebook page after buying Sawyer's book. Good luck to Scott and his dog, Pepper, on their upcoming high-alpine adventures together!

I'd like to give a huge shout out to Josh Aho, author of the book Climbing Colorado's 14ers with Sawyer. We just received our copy today, and this book is amazing. Even if you're not into 14ers, buy this book! It is an incredible collection of adventures about a man and his pup. Josh, as you can see, Pepper is ready to follow in Sawyer's steps! :)

BOOK REVIEWS COMING! Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Over the next few days, weeks, and months I will be adding some book reviews, from customers, to this blog. Reviews will include links to articles and/or blogs, and may also include some photos of climbers and their dogs. If you would like to be seen on this page, contact me with your review. I currently have two reviews that I hope to get up on this page within the next few days.

2015 CRAFT & GIFT SHOW Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The 2015 Tribune Craft & Gift Show this past weekend was a lot of fun. I was able to meet some new people and sell some books through my fiancée's (Tiffany's) booth. I will be attending another event in Johnstown, CO later this month on Saturday, October 24th. Stay tuned for more details.

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