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Stray Hearts has made an exception to one of its policies and is allowing 8-year-old dog Zizy to stay at the shelter for the rest of her life.

After multiple attempts to adopt out the small red pitbull, it was quickly discovered that while Zizy was a favorite among humans, she did not get along well with other dogs, and eventually received a New Mexico dangerous dog license.

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Sunshine Laier — part-owner of 10,000 Wags Pet Resort & Bow-Wow-Tique in El Prado — is quick to make clear that the ‘k’ word — “kennel” — is not a part of her everyday vernacular. “Cage” is a four-letter word she and her partner, Brian Carpenter, prefer not to use. “Home” is more like it. Home away from home.

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SUNDANCE, N.M. - Seemingly unaware of the danger lurking behind him, a medium-sized black dog with tan legs, sad eyes and no collar trotted up a dusty dirt road in this hardscrabble community outside Gallup near the southeast corner of the sprawling Navajo Nation. In a flash, a pack of seven other free-roaming, mixed-breed dogs - no collars, either - scurried up the same road.

Moments later, bursts of snarling, growling, barking and yelping exploded over a residential area after one of the dogs in the pack lunged at the lone canine, unleashing a ferocious attack that ended with all the dogs fleeing in different directions. This beastly, stop-you-in-your-tracks scene is not unusual in this community, one of many within the Navajo Nation where so-called rez dogs roam unchecked.

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A few years ago on a sunny July day, I set out to backpack to Trampas Lakes, The two clear lakes sit at the base of the towering Truchas Peaks, which rise over 13,000 feet. It is a beautiful destination with the crystalline lakes reflecting the nearby pine trees and the steep raw mountain cliffs above.

Based on existing maps, I expected a hike of about 5.5 miles one way. Given that it was monsoon season, I thought I might see some rain showers. Instead, it turned out to be more than seven miles to the lakes with the trail gaining over 2,500 feet, and it rained steadily for most of the hike. After several hours on the trail, my hiking partner and I and arrived at the lakes in the midst of a tremendous monsoon storm.

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The still of early morning in the Río Fernando wetlands. A lone robin's song. The low moan of a single cow. I've returned to the wetlands after a month's absence. Looking for herons.

A friend and I pause as we inch along the boardwalk in Baca Park. Already folks are out walking dogs.

It's June and the trees have leafed out. We listen for what we cannot see: Yellow warbler? Song sparrow?