Searching for a dog

By Tom Read

Rocky knew to smile for the camera instinctively it seemed. One of Rocky’s favourite spots was on this end of the deck where he could look out over much of the property to make sure no pesky deer or ravens invaded his space. This territorial guarding just came naturally!

As I mentioned in my previous post, we lost our beloved dog, Rocky, to cancer back in February. We still miss Rocky, but the mourning is less, and it’s time for another dog to join our rural Texada Island household. When searching for a new canine partner, it helps to create a list of desirable traits. We may not find the perfect dog, but if we could, here’s a short list of what she or he would be like:

—  Beta dogs are much friendlier than alpha dogs (who just want to boss everybody around), so we’d really like a dog who thinks that all the world is his or her friend, including cats. Among other reasons, this is important to Penny, our cat, who grew up with Rocky and is accustomed to having a canine friend and protector.

—  Either a young male or female, but definitely a mutt. We like the steadiness, durability and intelligence that haphazard reproduction can bring. My experience with pure-bred dogs when I was young was mostly positive, but they generally seem a little too precious to me now.

—  We like a big dog — Rocky weighed about 140 lbs — because we’re just more comfortable with large dogs, and we think our property offers lots of room for a big dog to roam. Also, there may be some truth to the stereotype that big dogs tend to be gentler and quieter than small dogs.

—  We’d like a dog whose instincts tend toward herding and protecting rather than roaming, digging or fighting.

—  An outdoor dog is a must. This place is heaven for dogs, with a climate that’s seldom too warm or too cold for a dog with a decent coat. Rocky preferred living outdoors on all but the very warmest of days, when he snoozed in a cool spot indoors during the afternoon heat. As for cold weather, that was his joy. His insulated doghouse that’s on the covered deck right outside our front door kept him safe from cold winds and moisture yet gave him freedom to go roaming in his designated 2-acre guard area when he wanted to. And he frequently wanted to, as we would sometimes know from his “get off my property, you darn deer!” bark in the wee hours of the morning.

So where might such a dog be found? At the “pound?” Our region lacks an animal shelter, with volunteers taking the role of “fostering” unwanted dogs. That’s how we found Rocky 10 years ago. Lately there haven’t been many dogs, let alone large ones, available hereabouts. So we’ve been searching online, and we’ll probably find our future dog soul-mate in the Lower Mainland or Victoria. The search is on.


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May 2010
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