It’s hard not to love our own, and that includes this province’s special dog breeds. From the furry and heroic Newfoundland to the friendly companion to all, the Labrador Retriever, what’s not to love and be proud of?
Whenever we are out and about, it’s natural to gravitate towards one for a picture and a ‘hey buddy’ ear scratch. But then I’m what would be considered a dog person. There were dogs in my family before kids. Sure, I grew up part of a litter with Dad’s hunting dogs around.
Fetches & Rewards
Blackie. Brownie. Coco. Bouncey. Jingle. Lady. All dogs of my childhood, not to mention their many pups born over the years while I was wide eyed right in the midst of it all.
There’s nothing like a sick day on the sofa when you have a dog. Maybe they somehow sense you are in need, or perhaps it’s just a warm body staying still so finding a comfy spot in the crook of a knee is easy pickings. Whatever the reason, sick and still meant being coated in a loving blanket of dog fur.
And when well? There’s nothing like a dog when you live in the country near water. Our dogs towed our dinghies doggie paddle style and chased us through the garden. They kept up on our bikes, bounced behind our slides, fetched our batted balls, greeted us at the bus stop and, occasionally, barked away the neighbourhood boys who annoyingly tried to mess with our girlie games.
I used one of our dogs as a pillow while watching Sesame Street for years. I rewarded him. My poor mother always wondered what happened to the sliced cheese she stocked up on. The dog loved them.
As the family grew, so did the family pets. Dusty Dog, Angel, Shazbot and a little Japanese spaniel called Amos Moses. There were lots of legs around our table each evening, let me tell you.
Growing up with a dog teaches so many valuable lessons. Compassion for one thing. The joy I witnessed when they saw me coming with food and water was such a high; queen of the doggie dish! Being a dog owner also taught me about life and death and everything in between.
I knew from about the age of five why Lady had to stay inside sometimes, and when she did get out and eventually laid off on dad’s snow pants, we knew to show her peaceful respect until those puppies came. You also learned about death. We came home to one less wet nose a time or two and we mourned. But we laughed most of all.
You can’t have dogs without having odd tales added to the family lore. Mom gave Amos the hug of life the day he choked on raw meat. She would have given him mouth to mouth had that not worked.
Angel once ate a full bucket of chicken dad had for supper. A lowered head and eyes told that tale. We still have dogs in our family. While I sometimes curse the monotony of dog ownership; feed, walk, poo pick up, repeat, I also love the sense of purpose and peace they provide.
On a sunny day, they stay close as I lounge or do yard work. On stormy ones, they curl up and keep my toes and heart warm.
On busy days, they keep the home homey, waiting patiently for family members to return so each can be showered with wiggly licks and love, which is the best part of a dog’s life I love being part of.
Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]