Sure, you may hike with your dog during the spring and/or summer months, but do you continue hiking throughout the winter months? Even more, do you continue to hike in snow and negative degree temperatures? If you answered no, don’t worry you are with the majority of the pack. But there is one pair that no matter the elements, continues their hikes throughout the year. Met Ryan and his Australian Shepherd, Fen, of @fen_the_aussie. This hiking duo is known on Instagram for their sense of adventure and beautiful outdoor photos.
It’s no coincidence that Fen came into Ryan’s life 2 years ago. Having had Huskies throughout his life, Ryan fell in love with the Australian Shepherd breed while visiting his brother in Arizona, but wasn’t exactly sure that Fen was the right dog for him. It was Ryan’s wife of 29 years of marriage, Debbie, who had a good feeling about Fen and convinced Ryan to get Fen. Fast forward to March 6, 2016, Ryan and Debbie welcomed home an adorable 8 week old Fen to live along side Debbie’s ragdoll kitten, Lilly.
Ryan works 3-4 days a week and on the days that he is working, Ryan and his wife split caring for Fen. Ryan’s wife leaves for for work at 8:00 a.m., but will come home for lunch on the days that Ryan is working to let Fen out of his crate for a mid-day potty break and stretch. Once Ryan is home from work around 3:00 p.m., Fen knows it’s time for his afternoon play session. Fen will grab a toy and run throughout the house as Ryan chases him. Afterwards, Ryan takes Fen on a short walk around the neighborhood and then they return home for dinner. One might think that Fen’s day comes to an end after dinner and that he later goes to bed awaiting his next adventure …. Well, you would be wrong. Fen doesn’t have to wait long for his next adventure, as after dinner, Ryan and Fen are back at it for a walk around town. And, when we say around town, we literally mean around the town. Fen and Ryan will walk about 2 -5 miles around their home town of Buffalo, depending on the evening weather.
The only thing that changes their long evening strolls around town is if Fen went to daycare earlier that day, as Fen plays hard at daycare and will come home exhausted. While this is not a weekly activity, but an every once in a while activity, Fen absolutely loves going to his local doggie daycare. Being the “only child”, Fen welcomes the opportunity to play with other dogs and while he doesn’t have a particular breed he is attracted to, he enjoys the larger, more active breeds that can try and keep up with him! 😉
When Ryan has the day off with Fen or the weather somehow keeps them from venturing outdoors, Fen will often go on indoor scavenger hunts. Since Fen is “very food motivated” and hasn’t met a treat he doesn’t like, Ryan will hide a dog biscuit somewhere in their dining room and Fen will search around until he finds it.
And while Ryan posts the most stunning photos of Fen on his Instagram account, the secret to his amazing photos is simply that Fen loves the camera! Ryan says that from the start, Fen loved the camera and posing came second nature to Fen. When Ryan takes out his camera and kneels down, Fen stops what he is doing and looks directly at the camera. Fen is so good at posing that Ryan actually finds it hard to get a candid photo of Fen not looking directly at the camera.
While this supermodel is always poised on camera, Fen has one of the funniest quirks around. Being an Australian Shepherd, obedience and good training may be in his genes, however, Fen doesn’t hold back his true feelings. For instance, if you tell Fen to lay down and he doesn’t necessarily want to, he will still do so, but on his way down, Fen will let out a groan. Ryan believes the groans are Fen’s way of “letting him know he will do it, but he’s not thrilled about it”. As you can imagine, this gets a ton of laughs at Fen’s obedience class.
While all of us love our dog and the bond we have, Ryan and Fen truly have a special connection. Ryan describes Fen as being an incredibly loyal dog who always has a strong desire to be near Ryan, which is what Ryan absolutely loves about Fen. Whether it’s sitting at Ryan’s feet while he eats or laying his head on Ryan’s lap while they relax, these two are always together!
Their bond over hiking and being outdoors is one to be admired. This active duo gives inspiration to all us pet parents to get outside and explore our town with our dog. If you’re in or around the Buffalo area, be sure to keep an eye out and say hi to Ryan and Fen if you see them on their daily walk. If you’re not around the Buffalo area, be sure to follow Fen’s Instagram account to see what adventure he goes on next!
All photos: @fen_the_aussie