Words by Ambassador Becky Gardner.

It all started on a blisteringly cold December day in Telluride, Colorado. The year was 2012, and I was in my early 20s living the ski bum lifestyle in this tiny, picture-perfect mountain town. I had zero responsibility besides racing bikes and an easy-breezy snowboard instructor job teaching the rich and famous how to link turns down the steep San Juan Mountains. Even more chucklesome than my day-to-day activities was my current living situation. We fit five girls in a house right on the downtown main street filled with skis, bikes, and ridiculous nights. Although it was fun, I did not have a lot of accountability at this time in my life. 

December is typically cold in Telluride, but this particular day was extra cold. It was too miserable to ski, so I headed to the gym at the other end of the main street with one of my roommates. Halfway through our walk, a homeless man stopped me. He had an injured arm and looked like he was having a hard time. He asked if I could please take his dog in because he could no longer care for her. My roommate and I looked at each other in shock, and I immediately thought that there was no way I could have a dog. I travelled all the time and had no idea how to care for another living being as I was barely taking care of myself. The man went on to tell me how he just knew I was the perfect person for his dog. I couldn’t argue with this odd conversation and couldn’t leave the pup in such cold temperatures, so I agreed to take his hound off his hands. After agreeing to the exchange, he finally points a few feet away at a beautiful German Shepard mutt that was filling her face with the local garbage bin cuisine. She was the cutest dog I’d ever seen, and my heart immediately filled with joy. 

Before the man handed the dog over, he made me promise one thing. He asked that I never change her name. I laughed and said, “No problem, what do you call her”? He looked at me with a smile and said, “Twocaps.” I laughed and said, “Of course, I will never change her name—the perfect odd name to an unexpected and peculiar event”. Before I could ask what it meant, the man disappeared into the cold winter day.

Little did I know I was gaining a best friend, and the most savage adventure dog I’ve ever met. The early days of raising Twocaps were comical to everyone in our life, especially when she would bolt out of the house, and I would be screaming “Twocaps” around the neighborhood as the tourists look at me like I was literally out of my mind. People would stop me and ask me in some form of, “Miss, what is a Twocaps?” In my tizzy of trying to find my newly found lost pup, I would shrug them off, saying, “It’s a dog, and No, I don’t know what it means.” Nevertheless, we learned together. I was learning to take care of another living creature, and Twocaps was learning how to live in a house for the first time. Although it was not always picturesque, we found common ground in one thing. We both loved to be out on the trails. To my surprise, this 70lbs dog could move fast, just as fast as me on my mountain bike, sometimes even quicker. Even more surprising, than her speed was her line choices. No drop, jump, or steep trail was too much for this dog. Legitimately, out of the gate, she was shredding harder than most of my other riding friends. So that’s what we did. We traveled all around North America together, rode together, and, most importantly, slowly earned respect for each. To my surprise, and everyone else’s, I finally had found some responsibility in my life. 

Fast forward eight years later to the present day. This little Colorado street dog is now my shadow and never leaves my side. She is smart, loyal, well-mannered, and turned out to be a fantastic animal with a sassy personality. We have ridden more downhill laps, and bike rides together than anyone else in my life. We have been to almost a hundred bike races together, traveled to just about every state, and she has appeared in numerous advertisements for multiple outdoor industry companies. Twocaps has become not only my best buddy but my go-to trail companion. She is always down to go on an adventure no matter what the activity or weather is: biking, SUPing, ski touring, you name it Twocaps is there with a wag in her tail and a smile on her face.