The four-legged staff at our dude ranch

Every dude ranch should have a great staff.  But, what some don’t realize is that the staff includes 4 legged critters too.  We love to sing the praise of our crew, and we highlight our wonderful horses regularly, but we often overlook the smaller members of our dude ranch team.

The ranch dogs don’t provide a whole lot of function at the ranch, but do a bang up job in the hospitality department.  From greeting guests to providing comedic relief as they dive into the pond daily, they have their role.

Trooper is Terry’s wanna-be cattle dog.  Typically ranchers have a cattle dog to help herd the cows.  Trooper has disowned his lab background and has claimed a cattle dog pedigree with the way he jumps in and helps Terry move the cows.  Please don’t tell him otherwise, and just buy into his story.  He would be crushed otherwise.

Rosey is Steve and Kelli’s lab, who has grown up as a guide dog.  Not the kind of guide dog you might imagine, but a dog that has been guiding ski trips, hiking trips and other adventures her whole life.  When your mom and dad are ace guides, that’s just how you learn to roll.

Many of our guests this past winter fell in love with Reid’s new puppy, Dodger.  He has now morphed into more of a teenager, testing the system and harassing the older dogs.   But, they do help teach him the ropes, and he is learning the rules and guidelines to being a great guest ranch dog.
Sadly, two of our wonderful friends passed on earlier this summer.  Dakota and Cheyenne were our Great Pyrenees power puffs.   Time and time again, they would sneak out of their pen and wander down the road to visit some neighbors (yes, we do have a couple neighbors out here!).  It was a weekly event that we would get a call at night telling us the “white dogs” were at their house.  With their sweet personalities and kind hearts, they were hard not to love though.  We all miss them, but love that their stories will be with us always.

Over the years, we have had many ranch cats.  They truly are an important part of the team, and have a specific job.  As much as Vista Verde works hard to provide a luxury ranch experience, did you notice that there is one important word that is always a part of us?  Ranch.  And, with that goes wildlife.  And with wildlife goes some that we’d rather not see as much of…..mice.  You can build a very nice cabin, but when you build it on a 600 acre ranch, surrounded by millions of acres of national forest, the mice just don’t care how nice that cabin is, or whether it has granite countertops or not.  They just want in.  So, our cats have played an important guest service role over the years.  When left to their job, they are actually very effective.   More to follow on them tomorrow, as they have their own stories.

The animals come and go in our lives.  We have loved so many pets over the years- Bessie and Bailey, Aspen, Tillie, Slim, Red, Miss Kitty, Whopper, Babe, and the list goes on.  They all have brought stories, laughter, and joy to our lives.   So, go hug your pet today, if you have one.  If not, you can always hug one of ours.