I’ve been told more than once that dogs can’t climb trees. While it’s true they can’t climb up, they do possess the skills to climb down.
A few of my books feature dogs. Typically, they’re larger dogs. I like big dogs. I was raised by dogs. Okay, not really. My father was a dog musher. He raised and raced sled dogs. I spent many years feeding and helping care for those adorable mutts. Admittedly, at the time I complained bitterly. Now, I wish I lived in the country so I could have myself a husky or husky cross for a pet. Since I can’t have them, I write them into my books.
In my recent release, Cupid’s Charm, our hero, Max, adopts a rescue dog. He’s a sweetheart of a Rotti named Rex. Max and Rex have an ongoing battle. Rex keeps escaping from Max’s fourth floor apartment. Max is baffled and worries that his cleaning lady is getting careless and letting Rex out.
I based Rex’s character on a dog I met once when I was a child. This particular pup loved to sleep on the top bunk with his young master. I’d watch him scramble up the ladder and when it was time to get down, he’d jump to the dresser and hop down from there. I don’t remember whose dog this was, but I can still see that little poodle scrambling up the ladder. This got me thinking. While they can’t climb very well, at what height can a dog jump from without getting hurt?
I took to the internet for more information. It seems that a large dog can jump from about six feet without injury. Pretty cool right? They can even jump a six foot fence if they have a mind to. Up to the top and over!
When I was a teenager, I saw a husky-cross sitting on top of a flat roofed garage. I have no idea how he got there; I doubt he jumped. It’s likely that he found a way to climb up, but the image lingered in my mind decades later.
Have you ever read the book, The Big Jump? It was written by Benjamin Elkin. A youth, Ben, is challenged by the kind to get to an enormous height by jumping. He tries and tries to jump to the top and fails. It isn’t until a dog shows him to jump from level to level that he realizes he doesn’t have to take it all in one jump. So, Ben jumps up, one level at a time. Thinking of this story sparked the idea that my story’s dog might jump down by stages.
I think it’s a pretty cool fact that dogs can be trained to run agility courses which can, depending on the contest, include climbing down from heights. They jump or scramble from level to level until they reach the ground. Sometimes, it’s a straight across leap, others it’s on a downward diagonal. It’s really incredible to watch. If you ever get the opportunity to watch a dog agility competition, don’t pass it up. Those pups are amazing.
In writing Cupid’s Charm I took a bit of a liberty with Rex. I say that because I’ve never actually seen a dog lower himself from branch to branch of a tree. But if he could get to a higher branch by jumping from a nearby balcony, he would, conceivably, be able to lower himself down, bit by bit; just like the bunk bed poodle and those agility dogs. Especially if he had some agility training in his past.
Rex became a mildly irritating nuisance with his many escapes plaguing Max as he tries to convince the very romance averse Olivia that it’s okay to fall in love. Throughout the novel, Olivia is ridiculously opposed to love. But, this is a romance and we all know that, in the end, she’ll fall for Valentine background: heart tornado Max, our persistent Cupid.
Interested in reading more about our soon to be happy couple and their mischievous dog, Rex? Grab your copy of Cupid’s Charm today.