Life is Golden: What I’ve Learned from the World’s Most Adventurous Dogs
Whether they’re paragliding down snow-covered mountains, exploring vast ice caves, or kite surfing enormous waves, Kicker the golden retriever and Andrew Muse, his human companion, journey together.
In Life Is Golden, Andrew shares the history behind this dynamic duo’s incredible bond through personal stories and stunning, never-before-seen photos of their breathtaking adventures.
Perfect for dog lovers of all ages, this charming account champions bravery, wanderlust, and compassion.
It will inspire readers to fall in love, chase their dreams, and live a more passionate life.
Excerpt from the Book: Taking Kicker the Golden Retriever Home
By the time I took Kicker home, I was living in a van I had just finished building, so he was thrown into van life from day one. At this point, I knew how to raise an outgoing, adaptable dog, and my life was far more adventurous than it had been…. We hit the ground running.
Right out of the gate, I took him ski touring, which is a lot like cross-country skiing but in wilder terrain. You use climbing skins to go up the mountain, and then you ski back down through untouched snow. At first, Kicker would just stay nestled in my jacket, but as he got stronger, he would run on his own for a little while before I carried him again.
We also went on some winter camping adventures in the high peaks of the Uinta Mountains, and we tried snowkiting (similar to kiteboarding except the kite pulls you on a snowboard over snow instead of on a wakeboard over water).
Kicker’s affinity for the mountains was obvious. He ran around while I skied. He learned to speed-fly and kiteboard. With each new day, he got stronger and more self-sufficient. One time he vomited all over the new cushions on my bed. Boy, did that stink for days! Still, living in a van with a new puppy was great.
I had dreamed of visiting Alaska since I was a child, so being able to share [that] trip with Kicker felt incredible. There’s something to be said for shared experiences and how they help develop a strong bond. Together we kayaked, snowmobiled, and even ended up exploring deep blue ice caves in Worthington Glacier. Kicker learned to come snowboarding with me in the mountains of Alaska.
He would hike part of the way, and I would carry him the rest. I would always let him run next to me as I boarded, but I usually ended up tossing him on my shoulders for the rest of the ride down—he had grown far too big to fit in my jacket.
What I’ve Learned by Having a Dog
Having a dog has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. For me, it’s about the time spent together exploring, sharing experiences, working through challenging situations, snuggling, and ultimately taking care of one another.
Introducing dogs to new adventures and activities early and often—while operating within your own comfort zone to keep them happy, warm, and safe—is vital to feeling at ease with each other on adventures.
It’s all about building trust, using positive reinforcement, and loving your dog. The love I feel for and from my dogs has filled my soul in a more meaningful way than anything else in my life ever has. And while trying to give my dogs the best life I can imagine, I have lived my own best life, too.
Andrew Muse is a photographer, explorer, multi-sport athlete, and adventurer. He’s also the owner of Kicker, a golden retriever dubbed the World’s Most Adventurous Dog by People magazine. During his ten years in the action sports and travel industries, Andrew has partnered with Travel Channel, GoPro, People, Google, and Land Rover.
Andrew and Kicker—aptly named the Ultimate Mountain Dog by Outside TV—starred in a 2019 SuperBowl commercial for Mountain America Credit Union. Andrew’s self-produced series, Tiny Home Adventure, has garnered more than a million views and is currently gearing up for a third season. Andrew lives in Park City, Utah.