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Colorado Bookshelf: Wild Together: My Adventures With Loki The Wolfdog

In a new book, Denver-based "professional dog dad, photographer, and avid outdoorsman” Kelly Lund compiles his adventures with his six-year-old wolfdog mix, who's found fame on Instagram.

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If you spend as much time on Instagram as I do, then you know all about Loki the Wolfdog. The Insta-famous dog is part husky, part arctic wolf, and part malamute, but 100 percent adorable. Loki’s human, Kelly Lund, has been curating a feed full of their adventures for years—pictures and videos that show Loki running through snow, water, and sand, sleeping in tents, and gazing wisely across idyllic landscapes. It’s enough to spur social media envy in any dog lover.

Now Lund, who refers to himself as a “professional dog dad, photographer, and avid outdoorsman,” has curated a collection of the pair’s escapades in Wild Together: My Adventures With Loki the Wolfdog.

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Lund adopted Loki in 2012. From the beginning of their companionship, Lund’s mission was to show the world that Loki can go wherever he goes—from work to the mountains, man and dog belong together. “I want to remember everything I can about my life with Loki. [The book] is a cool way to do that beyond the digital world,” Lund says.

Photograph by Kelly Lund

Lund and his partner, Ally Coucke, co-wrote the book together. Hesitant at first, Coucke didn’t think she was up for the task. “Kelly asked me if I would feel comfortable co-writing it with him. Initially I thought, I can’t do that, I’m not an author,” Coucke says.

After considering a ghostwriter for the book, Coucke changed her mind. “There really isn’t another person in their life that knows them the way that I know them. I also enjoy writing so I thought, I can just figure this out, surely.

On long drives, Lund and Coucke would brainstorm all of the topics that people ask Lund about owning and taking care of a dog like Loki. “She would kind of interview me, gather my thoughts, and turn those into something that’s a little better spoken than what I would typically write,” Lund says.

A dog owner herself—her pup Bailey is often pictured alongside Loki on Instagram—Coucke already understood the concepts Lund wanted to convey. “It was very easy to put myself in this position to write these excerpts about their bond,” Coucke says. “I would go back and forth between freestyle writing, giving it to Kelly, and talking to him about a certain topic.”

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The book isn’t split up by chapters. Rather on each page, Coucke spells out lessons, big and small, that Loki teaches Lund as they take on each day together. From not holding onto grudges to the importance of exploring new places and listening to the needs of others, Lund aspires to understand Loki’s sense of self and wonder. “I wanted whatever words I wrote to be the foundation for his photos to stand on and be a little bit taller than they already are,” Coucke says.

Photograph by Kelly Lund

On some pages, words aren’t needed. Lund’s awe-inspiring photography of Loki and the places they go—California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and the Arctic Circle—speak for themselves. A respect and admiration for nature is depicted through each photograph. In one image, Loki stands in the middle of a river off Schofield Pass in Colorado. You might find yourself thinking, I want to go there. And that’s exactly the point. While there are a few snapshots of Loki inside, he certainly looks the most at home in Mother Nature.

A recurring theme through the book is Lund’s perspective of Loki as his equal, not his pet. “Loki is his own dog,” he writes. “He makes his own decisions and his own desires in life.” Lund believes dogs shouldn’t be locked in a cage or chained up, rather the animal should feel as unbound as his companion. “I, as his human, chose him, and he, as a dog, seemingly has chosen to stay with me,” he writes. Lund hopes his book inspires others to restructure their lives so their dogs can get more exercise and exposure to nature.

Although many of the photographs in Wild Together exist on Instagram, the intimacy of this human-dog relationship is best experienced when flipping through the pages before your next hike. This book will spark a renewed sense of adventure inside you—one that’s best fulfilled with a dog by your side.

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