Professional Photographer, Mike Schirf.
Is there a story behind how you found your dog(s)? Shelter, friend, breeder etc…If so, tell us the story?
Tera got Milly before we met from a breeder. She had always wanted a yellow lab and Milly was her dream came true. Tera calls Milly her soul pup. We got Patsy a few years after we had been dating. We went to a rescue rovers event. As we were walking in we saw a car full of puppies that were too young to be adopted that were there to get vaccinated. Patsy trampled over all the other puppies to come say hi to us and the rest was history. We did a breed test on Patsy a few years ago and it said she is a German Shepard, Lab, Staffordshire Terrier, Greyhound and Corgi.
What breed is your dog(s) and how did you pick your dog(s) name(s)?
Milly is a Yellow Lab. Tera grew up snowboarding at Brighton and loved looking up at Mt. Millicent which people call Milly for short. There is a backcountry run outside of Alta called Patsy Marley that was one of Tera and I’s first ski dates so thats where we got the idea for Patsy’s name.
Why did you choose a Raw Diet for your dog and what problems did RAW WILD solve for your dog(s) health?
We only want the best for our pups in all regards and when it came to the best food Raw Wild was the only choice. Before we started Raw Wild we noticed that Patsy would itch her nose a lot. We could tell something was bothering her and our vet suggested it might be a food allergy. We tried a few different foods but it wasn’t until we started giving her RawWild that the itching went away.
Tell us a funny story about your dog. Something they did, still do, or something that makes you love them so much?
A lot of times during walks Patsy will put her tail down and just start running around like crazy. We call it a mid walk freak out. Its moments of pure dog bliss. We love it when it happens. There is a dog park just outside of Park City that has a little dock that Milly loves to jump off. You have to throw the ball the perfect distance from the edge and she does a perfect little plop without getting her head wet and comes back for another throw. She could literally do it all day.
What advice would you give other dog owners about switching to a Raw diet with RAW WILD?
We have noticed nothing but positive things since the switch. Their coats look fantastic. They have lots of energy and their poops are much small which is always nice.
What makes you dog a special character or what special characteristics does your dog have?
Patsy is close to 60 pounds and she thinks she is a lap dog. Whenever we are sitting around with friends she always wants to jump up on my lap. Its pretty funny. Milly has a distinct pink nose and the softest coat that usually ends up all over your pants after she does the “car wash” through your legs.
How has your dog changed your life or what impact has your dog made in your life or your family’s life?
They teach us to live life to the fullest and to enjoy the moment. They also are the best example of unconditional love.
What prompted you to live the “van-life.”
We love traveling to bike and climb with our dogs in tow. We were inspired by others ‘rigs’ in the various places we go camping and started to dream of building our own home on wheels a few years ago. The window of opportunity came to buy our van and let our dream come to life. We have been on the road doing the things we love in the places we always dreamed of visiting with our fur babies for almost four months, it doesn't get much sweeter.
How long are you planning to live the van-life?
The plan is to be on the road for one year and see where it takes us, maybe to different dreams or more inspiration.
Where are you going on your travels? Give us a road map (national parks, off the beaten path, cities, etc….
There are so many beautiful places to go that we have focused on destinations with mountain biking or climbing crags or better yet both in close proximity. We really have enjoyed BLM land and have a new appreciation for how important the preservation of these places are. The list so far and map soon to follow: Gold Bluffs beach campground CA, Klamath Lost rocks boulders CA, Oakridge Oregon mtn biking,) Bend/Sisters Oregon, Trout Creek Oregon, Mt Hood Oregon, Hood River Oregon, The Fins ID, Sun Valley ID, City of Rocks ID, Index WA, Mazama WA, Bellingham WA, Vancouver Island, Squamish BC. We are headed off to Lake Louis, Canmore and Fernie then back into the USA for some Montana, Wyoming and Colorado action.
Is there a purpose for your trip other than living simply?
For us climb and bike all the things. Patsy and Milly to run, jump, swim, and chase all the things.
How do the dogs like the road life? There are ups and downs, some days full of play and others days lots of cooped up in the van driving time.
They have been very adaptive and are usually psyched as long as there is meat in the morning and meat at night! The food bar has been set very high and they don't accept anything less.
And what’s your wildest/funniest/scariest moment on the road with them so far?
The first long stretch drive we did was 16 hours and we hadn't quite worked out all the details of securing items in the van, for example everything in our kitchen cabinets. We were driving down a bumpy dirt road to the beach and Tera was in the back trying to hold all the cabinets shut and comfort the dogs and then I drove over a huge dip that sent everyone flying. All the contents of the kitchen cabinet fell on the floor, a bowl broke and a book landed on Milly, poor Milly always gets dumped on. Tera started to cry and Patsy started to eat some spilled chips, and I said I am sorry. Its all gotten a lot better since then including our method of securing things which we call ‘battening the hatches
How do they like eating RAW WILD on the road? How does it work feeding them a raw diet on the road?
They love it. As long as there is delicious Raw Wild meat on the table they are happy. Its a little more work for us making sure we have enough frozen vs thawed and planning ahead with ordering but its been more than worth it.