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Meet Shane The Trail Dog: The Goodest Boy On Mount Nittany

Every year, countless Penn State students and State College locals take the short drive to Mount Nittany for a day of hiking and trail exploration on the Mount Nittany Loop.

This hike of nearly 5 miles long (although there is also a shorter, 2-mile version) and offers scenic views of State College and Penn State. My friends and I did the hike this weekend to take in the fall foliage, but during our hike, we noticed a friendly canine that came to keep us company.

Meet Shane the trail dog. Shane is owned by a man who lives at the hike’s trailhead, but what’s so special about Shane is that he is trained to help hikers find their way on the route. Every day, Shane makes the climb up to find potentially lost hikers and guide them back to the bottom.

Shane came and found us about halfway through the hike while we were at the flat, upper portion of the mountain, and he didn’t leave our side for the entire rest of the way back. And while we didn’t need any assistance, we certainly weren’t complaining about such a friendly companion.

Like any good dog, Shane likes a good smell. For our entire walk back down the mountain, Shane would run ahead, just far enough that we could still see him, and then take a good sniff around while he waited for us to catch up. Other than the occasional squirrel distraction, he never left our sight and always made sure we knew the way.

Shane is a ball of energy and loves running around. But other than getting a little jealous when we stopped for a granola bar break, he was about as well-trained as any dog we’ve ever seen before.

After making it successfully back down the mountain, Shane was due for a well-deserved water break. Luckily, there was a bowl waiting for him right at the end of the hike.

At the bottom of the trail, there is a bulletin board where hikers can report their findings. Many hikers described the amazing wildlife they saw throughout their journey, but one hiker noted “one cute trail dog” among their findings.

Many hikers left messages to Shane to thank him for his help. While we’re not sure that Shane can read (he’s trying!), we know he also appreciated the company he had on his daily hikes.

Shane even made friends with another dog, giving a quick hello sniff before getting ready to recharge for another trek up to the top.

Shane hiked right by our side (or mainly just in front of us) for over an hour of our hike, and we couldn’t have asked for a better companion to lead the way. Though it was sad saying goodbye, it was comforting to see him sitting and waiting for the next hikers to arrive, sure to make their day just a little bit better.

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About the Author

Mikey DeAngelis

As well as being a contributor to Onward State, Mikey DeAngelis is also the creator of the Mad About Disney YouTube channel and an aspiring filmmaker. Mikey loves Philly sports, traveling and hiking in National Parks, and watching movies. To reach Mikey, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@mikey_deangelis) or by email ([email protected]).


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