Stephen and King & Sam @KingandSamExplore

Today’s episode is with Stephen, the dog dad to King and Sam @kingandsamexplore, two extremely active german shepherds in California that absolutely love to run, ride, hike and explore.

Stephen, who is an apprentice California wildland firefighter, spends a lot of his time being active and getting out with his pups in his time off. One of their favorite activities is cruising the Fresno-Clovis Rail Trail, which runs the entire length, north to south, of their hometown in Clovis. Nearby is Woodward Park, with a dog park and network of trails. Sam is young and speedy and loves to run alongside Stephen on the bike, while he pulls King in a trailer. Occasionally King still puts in a couple miles of running, but at 11 years old, his endurance is not quite what it used to be. But Sam certainly helps keep King feeling young!

When it comes to running, Stephen and Sam have competed in a couple of dog friendly 5ks including the UHC Summer 5k Hot Run in Fresno, and the Rad Dogs Mud Run Obstacle 5k in San Diego. Next up on their race schedule is the Ruff Run 2020 in Phelan, California in April. On their bucket list, Stephen wants to compete with Sam in the U.S. Canine Biathlon, a four mile obstacle course race in Anniston, Alabama that takes place twice a year in May and November.

For other adventures, just a short drive from home are a few favorite spots including Bass Lake on the edge of Sierra National Forest, and Yosemite National Park just to the north. Even more than the forest, they absolutely love visiting the beach. One of their favorites is Huntington Dog Beach near Los Angeles. Another to the south is Fiesta Island in San Diego. During their big cross country trip in 2019, Stephen and a friend drove with King, Sam and Bailey to the east coast and worked their way down to the Florida Keys. Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks in North Carolina and the southern most point in the U.S.

During the episode, Stephen and I talked a bit about sustainability and how his job as a wildland firefighter gives him an appreciation for being in the outdoors as well as natural resource conservation. One of the things that Stephen has done is learn to sew in order to mend his own equipment and even create useful gear for dogs. He started @tacticoolk9 to promote his dog adventure products like reflective wristbands, and bandanas that can be customized with patches and lighting for visibility. Another product he uses is the Ray Allen Buddy Bowl for a spill proof travel bowl.

His shout outs go to family and friends including his cousin Aidan, the Lechuga girls, Christine, Caitie, Gabe & family for watching King that one summer, Storm for joining in the Mud Run, and Ace & Charlie. Then of course for the road trip, Jess and her boy Bailey, who has since passed.

Thanks for listening!

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