This is Caminio Dog. On Day 16 he joined our party for a bit of a walk on the Camino.
We first saw him when we stopped for breakfast at a happy little unexpected place just outside of Cacabelos. It was a small building advertising Strawberry Pancakes for breakfast – how could we walk by such an offer?
The pancakes were delicious. It was sitting here, enjoying our freshly cooked breakfast, that I first saw Camino Dog. A few cyclists went by the path that passed by the open door in front of our table, and running after them looking very pleased with his life, was a large German Sheppard. It was such a surprise I laughed as he ran by.
Later that day as we stopped for an early lunch I once again spied Camino Dog. This time without the cyclists, instead just wandering around the town sniffing here and there and seemingly enjoying himself.
Then, as we were walking out of town we ran into Camino Dog again, only this time he decided to walk with us.
At first I was pretty amused, but when he didn’t turn around at the edge of town and instead continued to walk with us along the busy road I began to worry a bit. Surely he had a home he had to get to. He didn’t have a collar, but looked to be well cared for with a shiny coat and seeminly well fed.
He continued to walk with us for the next 4km. Which normally wouldn’t be too long for me to worry about, but this section of the Camino was all roadside walking and it was very sunny and hot out at this point. We were walking along a river and every once in awhile Camino Dog would stop and try to find a way down to the water – he was obviously thirsty and hot at this point and we were still 3km out from the next town.
When I was training my dog Anna for our long distance hiking trips one of the things she learned was to drink from a wide mouthed water bottle. She knows the word “thirsty” and if she is, she’ll come over and drink from either the bottle or from the lid as I pour water in. So knowing that a dog is totally capable of doing it, I tried to get Camino Dog to drink from my spare water bottle. No go. He seemed actually nervous every time I’d bring the water out and would walk away from me, so I stopped trying. But he was obviously overheating and needed water.
At this point other Pilgrims were passing us and looking at us oddly for having this giant dog that was clearly overheating out on the road with us. We tried to explain, but they just walked on by. One Pilgrim, however, slowed his pace and helped us find an entryway that the dog could use to get to the river.
Camino Dog found his way down and drank a bit, then ran back up to continue is curious Camino adventure. I managed to get him into the river a couple more times before we reached our next town. At this point we sat for a break and a cold drink of our own, and Camino Dog walked on.
I was a little worried, since at this point he seemed to be pretty far from home. But maybe he was returning home. I don’t know. We continued on our journey to our end city of the day, Trabadelo. And lo and behold who do you think was there chilling under a table with a new group of Pilgrims? Camino Dog.
We ended up running into him once more near the top of O’Cebreiro in Laguna. He was resting with another group, and then took off with them when they got back on their bikes. I’ve been keeping an eye out, but I haven’t seen him since. I have no idea where he lives or what he’s doing, but he seems to be enjoying himself on his little canine Camino adventure.