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[at-l] Thru-Hiker With Dog Seeks Help From AT-L Family

Thru-hiker  Marcus "Blowin' Sunshine" and his dog Shiggy "Da Buddy" made it
to Thornton Gap (SNP) today on their northbound trek and Shiggy is hurting
bad enough to need to get off the Trail. They're staying at my place in
Luray right now, but I can only be a short-term solution, so here--I'll let
him tell it in his own words...

Hi.  Our trip began March 24 and has been going very well until recently.

Three days before Waynesboro I noticed that Shiggy developed a slight limp
in his right hind leg that seemed to diminish after his muscles warmed up,
then reappear after cool down in the evening.  I slacked his pack much of
the way to town where we took 2 full and 2 half days off for him to rest and

I also took him to a vet in Waynesboro for a problem-specific checkup.  The
vet said Shiggy had "very minor" displasia in his right hip caused by a
recent injury (a bad stile crossing at Daleville?), but had no muscle
atrophy and was very healthy and strong despite his age (just turned 10).

Shiggy hiked well on the short day out of Waynesboro, but exhibited the same
symptoms at the end of the next full day (into SNP).  I slacked his pack
part of the third day and all of yesterday with no apparent worsening of his
limp until after dinner last night.  So, last night I decided to take him
off the trail.  I slacked his pack again this morning and after a long
mid-morning break his limp was noticeably worse but appears to be isolated
to one toe, not his hip.  We hitched to Thornton Gap where Skyline offered
his help.

I'm taking Shiggy to a vet in Luray ASAP for another check.  Regardless of
the diagnosis I've taken him off the trail.

My options for his boarding are limited and less than desirable:  1) my
mother has a vicious Mastiff, or 2) I leave the trail too.  Completing this
thru-hike has become very important to me, but Shiggy's well-being is my
first concern.

*** Skyline suggested this posting to ask if any other hikers would be
interested to pet-sit Shiggy while I complete my thru-hike. ***

If so, please respond directly to me at rmarcusb@yahoo.com instead of
replying to this posting.

Shiggy is a sweet, mellow, neutered mixed breed, 75 lb.  He's quiet and
well-behaved, and has developed "favorite dog" status among current AT
hikers.  His picture is on my trail website at www.geocities.com/rmarcusb .
I offer current AT hikers "Rooster" and "Bear" as references, both of whom
have trail journals on www.trailjournals.com .  Thanks for your