Dear Curiosity Journal,

Rufus and I joked about putting a pack on Balio to  carry some of our maple tapping gear, but we were curious if it would actually work. So, today we ran a test to see how he behaved wearing a light backpack. When we work the sap lines, we’re always juggling a variety of taps, connecting pieces, drill bits, tools, splicers, knives, and a roll of tubing. It’s a lot to keep organized, so separating items into different pockets of a backpack is helpful, but if one of us wears the pack, we’re always slipping it on and off and lugging extra weight up and down the hill. Balio, who sticks close by while we tap trees, seemed like a logical alternative. He is a working dog after all, and seems to be living his best life when he’s on duty. We started him out with a few lighter items while he adjusted to carrying the pack, and to our surprise, he followed us diligently to each tree and patiently sat in the snow while we retrieved taps. It was a near miracle in my opinion. Sure, he got snagged on a few branches and needed assistance, but for the most part, he was perfectly helpful. He did wander off one time while Rufus and I were chit chatting about which woodpecker we heard. B must have thought he was on break, because we looked up and he was on the next ridge over. It was then we realized he had all of the taps, and we were at a stand still until he returned. Our voices echoed through the valley, calling him back, and soon he stood at our side. What a good boy. I would say this has been one of our most successful experiments with Balio, and he may find himself wearing a pack more often.