If you take your dogs to Thacher Park, it’s best to go early. More often than not, you’ll have the place to yourself and they can race up and down the trails without bothering anyone.
One recent morning was different. Instead of the usual empty parking lot, we found three school busses — and the hiking paths were far from empty. We were barely out of the car when college kids started approaching us and asking to take pictures of the dogs.
Pictures of the dogs? Of course you can — but why?
It turns out that this was a biology class from Siena College who were out learning about the forest by conducting a scavenger hunt, and among the things they needed to find was a mammal. As we walked along, we continued to be approached by mammal hunters, petting the dogs, shooting pictures and checking off an item on their list.
At one point, we encountered their instructor, who looked on sourly as the students discovered our dogs. I’m sure he had squirrels, chipmunks or other woodland critters in mind — not dogs — when coming up with the activity.
But hey, you take what you can get, right? And the dogs loved being queens of the forest for a day.