We generally know our dogs from their behavior as it has adapted to our environment. But when they get into a situation where their instincts take over, they show us a side we may seldom see in our daily lives.
A dozen years ago, my third Lab, Guido, and I made a two-week trip in northern Canada to above the Arctic circle, camping and hiking as the mood took us. He was very much in his element, using his amazing nose to read the story of the places we visited, and sharing his more interesting finds with me. He was beautiful to watch as he took point on our forays, with his tail always pointing at the sky. My only worry was that he would find some bear poop, which he thought smelled so pretty that it was worth wearing - seeing him wiggling on his back with his legs in the air meant we were going swimming again....soon.
This photo was taken near Fort Resolution, on the east shore of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories, where we rented a cabin for a few days and explored the marshes along the shore. I think it perfectly captures the essence of the Labrador Retriever, of which Guido was an outstanding example. Both Guido and that special trip are never far from my thoughts.