When buying a house, something that comes up often is ‘location, location, location’. Websites and professionals tell you to look at the houses around you, are you close to a school, where is the closest grocery store? It basically comes down to how many square miles your life will reasonably fill up in daily tasks (so maybe don’t worry about your favorite Friday night bar). And for me, I have to say, location played a big role in choosing my place. I have a trail close by, I’m not too far from work, there are no hills between me and work, and the grocery store is just a few minutes away. So I would be a hypocrite to say that location wasn’t a factor to me. But by no means do I wake up with the same view every morning. That is far from the truth.

Instead, I also bought a moveable house for my dog. My REI Half Dome 2+ is perfect for Kiska and myself, plus my bag. I am totally that dog lady who read the reviews and honed in on any pictures or posts that had a dog in it. When people give the specs of their dog, their review becomes priceless to me. You fit yourself, a pack, your sweetie, and your 75 pound, long haired, sprawler of a child in your tent? Perfect.

For me though, Kiska likes a little more leg room than most dogs. Probably because of the plates in her knees from her torn ACLs, she very rarely curls up like a lot of dogs I see. And that’s ok, she has had quite the medical road so far at the tender age of 4. But, that means that it is a bit cramped for her, myself, and another person. Due to some squished nights with little sleep, I bought a second tent for Barksalot. I got the Marmot Limelight 3. There! A three-person tent should fit me, Kiska, and another person. Because when shopping on sale, why not.

Though this tent is heavier than the 2 person, the extra room helps ensure that everyone gets a good night’s rest – should a second person join us. And to be honest, it’s much easier to fit her sleeping pad and sleeping bag in there when it’s meant for three people anyways. Oh yes, Kiska has an air mattress, a fall/spring bag, and her winter bag. My next dog will probably have more fur, but I didn’t notice her pink mostly-naked-belly when I adopted her at 8 weeks old (to be honest I was looking more at her face), and now in the winter she gets a bit chilly tent camping, or out all night watching Lady Aurora. My adventure buddy should be just as comfortable as I am. And hopefully my next dog will have a bit more insulation for living here (and white toe nails so they are easier to clip). Even though my friends give me grief, on multiple occasions a friend not planning to spend the night has ended up sleeping on her pad and in her bag and in our tent. So consider me ridiculous, or overly prepared, I’ll take them both.

I don’t deny that I bought my dog and cat a condo. Because with as many cultural saying out there, I will also mention that not only should you consider location, but no matter where you live, ‘home is where your heart is’. So when I take the love of my life to a cabin, or we camp back in a mountain basin, or take a boat out to an island and camp on the beach, when I wake up with Barky it doesn’t matter where my home is. Because the little beast that I love more than anything is there with me. Without Kiska and Ember, my condo would just be a condo: a place I store my stuff and where I keep my food. It wouldn’t have the emotional attachment of providing for my little fur-mily, the mornings snuggling in bed squished between them, or how Ember runs up and down the stairs at night like a possessed little dust bunny. To me, it would just be four walls, a floor, and a roof.

Courtney Wendel has lived in Juneau since she was a year old. She has a twin brother and an older brother, and learned to enjoy the outdoors at a young age by following the boys into mischief. Graduating from JDHS in 2006, she attended UAS to receive her Literature of the Environment, BA English degree. When not at work she spends most of her time on the diverse trail system hiking, running, or camping with her spotted pooch and adventure buddies.