I got some sad news a couple of weeks ago, about a Fuzzy Buddy of mine. Not technically my dog, but one I loved nonetheless. Rest in peace, dear Dexter.
It’s a strange kind of relationship, being a dog walker. I spend time with and get to know the personalities of the dogs I walk quite well. I’m not family, but I definitely get attached to “my dawgs” and they feel a lot like family to me. Especially if they’ve boarded with me as well.
I enter their homes, walk with them, play with them, typically do some training, occasionally feed them, often give them treats…and always care deeply about the their welfare, especially while in my care. It’s sad to have to say good-bye.
Dexter was a very special boy, a burly five year old black lab with a nose that didn’t quit. He wasn’t always easy, he had physical challenges, and a great deal of fear. He was also playful, very food motivated and always ready to chase a squeaky toy. After seeing him Monday to Friday almost the entire time I knew him, I miss him.
I met Dexter last summer, almost a year ago, just after he’d been laid up following his second knee surgery. He challenged my knowledge and training in dealing with reactive dogs, helped me become an even better dog walker and trainer. And he made me laugh. In our time together we made great progress, working on rebuilding the strength in his hind legs, as well as his rebuilding his confidence. It was my privilege to help him on that journey.
Dexter and I shared some adventures in our time together. The time we discovered a fire smouldering in the woods during the tinder dry summer, then led fire fighters to it, off the trail in the bush. The day we met a giant turtle and Dexter didn’t know what to make of it. The day we finally made it onto and over the scary bridge, after a great deal of patient encouragement and lots and lots of yummy treats. The first time Dexter met a dog and offered a play bounce instead of a bark and lunge in fear and defensiveness.
Here are some of my favourite moments of our time together…