That’s right. We said summer break. It’s not over yet! There are still a couple of weeks of summer left so we wanted to share our second installment of “Avalanche Dogs on Summer Break” in hopes to motivate you to continue to milk every bit of daylight and warmth you can out of this summer.
In this episode, Sean Hopewell and his partner Avalanche Rescue Dog Parley share their summer life working at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, UT.
Summer break is a bittersweet time for most avalanche dogs and Parley is no different. Most avalanche dog handlers take this time to give their hard working K-9s a much deserved break. These dogs live for winter: famous Utah powder and running through the mountains. During the summer, some go float rivers and mountain bike. The Utah Olympic Park provides a whole different form of entertainment for it’s resident avy dog.
Parley gets to spend his summer swimming in the UOP’s 750,000 gallon freestyle training pool. Like the athletes at the UOP, Parley doesn’t pass up on the opportunity to get a little airtime jumping off the 15 foot platforms for his frisbee. He has been enjoying his acrobatics in the pool since he was a little puppy. This is also a great time for him to get some TLC from the facility’s athletes who look forward to seeing Parley on the pool deck every summer. US ski team athletes like Emily Cook don’t have any issues keeping Parley in tip top shape by including him in their morning warm-up runs.
Guest numbers soar at the UOP with the many activities for them to enjoy. Parley has been an exemplary mountain host since he started working at the UOP. You can regularly see Parley and I cruising the grounds saying “hello” to visitors. When we are responding to an injured guest or athlete, Parley is happy to lend a sympathetic ear scratch.
The summer isn’t all fun and games. Last year, Parley and I started training for wilderness rescue as well. Parley is currently a WBR “B” level wilderness rescue dog and has been on several calls for the Salt Lake and Summit County Sheriff to assist with lost hikers.
When we’re not at work, Parley and I love spending our spare time in the Utah wilderness. You’re likely to find us hiking in the Wasatch or Uinta mountains. When the temperatures threaten triple digits, it’s not uncommon to find us frolicking in a Northern Utah stream or reservoir. It’s always fun to head to red rock country in southern Utah when the seasons become a little more mild. Parley’s a pretty good tent mate and bear repellent!
The turning leaves of fall is the sign that we need to start preparing for winter rescue. Buttoning up on obedience drills, passing our recertification tests, and getting Parley in the habit of digging in the snow are just a few things on the to-do list. Parley always looks a little sad to see the water drain from his favorite swimming hole. The first snow quickly puts a spring back in his step (and mine)! To both of us the first snowfall is the most magical time of year.
Click here to see Avalanche Dogs on Summer Break – Part 1 – Lēif.