If you manage to run across Hana and her golden retriever, Gumbo, on the hiking path (or basically anyplace), you could also run into Shrimp, Gumbo’s plushie look-alike.
Hana stated in an interview, “He loves to take his best friend and favorite toy, Shrimp, everywhere with him.” He LOVES Shrimp and enjoys showing him off.”
Since Hana got Shrimp from IKEA in 2017, Gumbo and Shrimp have been inseparable. She didn’t acquire Shrimp expressly for Gumbo, but he quickly became Gumbo’s greatest buddy after he arrived.
Hana went on sporadic treks with classmates in high school, but it was Gumbo who pushed her to hike on a regular basis.
“We moved to the Pacific Northwest and met some dog friends who got us more into hiking,” she added. “So you can say we discovered our love of hiking together.”
Gumbo is Hana’s hiking partner, while Shrimp is Gumbo’s cheerleader.
“We take Shrimp on basically every hike,” Hana explained, noting that Shrimp is normally hanging out in her backpack while she and Gumbo are on the path since Gumbo doesn’t enjoy carrying Shrimp if he’s paying attention to the trip and panting.
“Gumbo usually stays pretty close to me,” Hana explained. “If he is hiking off-leash (where it is allowed), he will get the zoomies and run up and down the trail.”
“However, now that he is 8.5 years old,” she went on to say, “he’s slowed down a lot and is usually right next to me when we hike together.”
And Gumbo enjoys sharing his path accomplishments with his closest friend.
“Usually at the end of the hike, [Gumbo’s] favorite thing to do is to take Shrimp and show him off to everyone else at the end of the trail,” says Hanna. “He will show him off to my friends I’m hiking with or even strangers who want to come say hi to him.”
“I think he genuinely knows that Shrimp is a ‘special toy,'” she added. “Usually, if we have/bring Shrimp, he knows we are going for an adventure.”
On one occasion, Hana and Gumbo inadvertently left Shrimp behind on a hiking route. They were approximately an hour and a half away from the trekking location when Hana realized someone was missing.
“So we drive back, and I look, and he’s perched perfectly on the trailhead sign,” she added.
Hana recommends studying pet-friendly trails around you and understanding your area’s leash restrictions to other pet parents who want to get their dogs into hiking. When it’s time to hit the trail, she recommends packing a first-aid kit “for both yourself and your dog.”
And if your dog adores his toys, take a cue from Gumbo and Shrimp and include a vacation companion in your plans.
“Shrimp’s part of the family,” Hana explained. “It’s Gumbo and Shrimp. You won’t be able to replace him.”