It’s no secret I love dogs. We’ve had a dog since 1992. That’s when we moved out of Toronto and into the countryside.
My pal from high school suggested we start with an older dog due to our commuter schedule. Her family bred dogs: Rottweilers and Bouviers and her brother had a show dog (Bouv) that was too old for the circuit. We agreed to take the dog, but fate intervened and the dog went to the US.
So we went to the pound looking for a suitable match. Spike was waiting for us. He had been dropped off by a family earlier that day. He was approximately 1.5 years old Husky/Shepard mix. A beautiful wolf-like beast that would be our loyal companion for 17 years.
Pepper arrived on the scene a few years after Spike and they were great companions. Pepper was a rambunctious lab cross who was too feisty for her family with young kids. Someone on my baseball team decided Spike needed a buddy. Pepper was full of beans and would fetch a stick for hours on end. Spike thought fetch was a dumb game and preferred to hunt. If it moved it was fair game.
Then a friend had a colleague who’s dog had pups and the runt was left. They were desperate to find a home. So we acquired Duke. He was a true mutt. Not even the vet could say for sure what the dominant breeds were. And he lived up to his name. He would take on anyone or anything. Stubborn and grouchy.
Once Spike crosses the rainbow bridge, Duke and Pepper became inseparable. They were a truly bonded pair. And as Pepper slowed down, so did Duke. Pepper’s departure was devastating for Duke and he mourned for months. He became sullen and even more grouchy (if that was possible).
But we had decided that our dog rearing days were over. Duke would be our last canine. More freedom to travel and such. But fate (aka Marilyn Rootham) intervened.
We had known Marilyn’s dog Lucy for years. A lumbering good natured Bouvier that ran the house and the shop. Lucy was bred at 5 years of age. Her litter was 10 pups. But after she delivered 5 pups she ran out of energy. Lucy was rushed to the vets where the doc and Stoney (Lucy’s dad) set about delivering the others by emergency c-section on August 28 2011. Only 3 more lived. 8 amazing fur balls and Lucy with major surgery. It was a labour of love for the family who rotated on 24 hour shifts to help Lucy nurse her babies. Once the time was right the entire fuzz ball family was settled into an outdoor shelter (a yurt style set up that we dubbed “occupy Aberfoyle”).
Marilyn was ready to start selling the pups. Pure breed Bouviers – Lucy the mom black and her stud the dad white produced several black a couple of brindle and one white pups. But she couldn’t sell them. She was so attached to the pups that she wanted to place them in homes she knew.
But we had decided we were on our last dog!? Marilyn knew the key (weak link) was Rudy. She invited us to her kennel to “see the pups”. Right. Good plan.
We load Duke into the van and head over to Aberfoyle (about 20 min). We pull into the back area and see the kennel. Stoney heads over to unlatch the gate and 8 fuzzies come dashing and tumbling out to check out Duke. Poor Duke has never been more gobsmacked. He just stood there in shock as he was swarmed. All but one of the pups lost interest in Duke (to chase their mom Lucy around the yard hoping for one last suckle – which Lucy was having NO part of!).
One little fuzzer stayed behind and she and Duke had an introductory sniff.
Next thing I know it is declared that “Duke has chosen” and I’m in the van with a new puppy on my lap. Hello Molly. How did that happen? We were resolute. Or so I thought.
Miss Molly engaged us from the first second. She was (and continues to be) pure joy. A living teddy bear. And Duke couldn’t have agreed more. He sprang back to life and a new youthful energetic dog replaced the sad old dude that we’d worried about for months.
Molly is truly a remarkable girl. We often say she’s the best qualities of all our figs tolled into one. Smart and agile like Spike; playful and cuddly like Pepper; fierce and ruthless like Duke. I can’t imagine our life without her. Even though she had an insatiable appetite for chewing shoes and pillows (mercifully that has passed …. mostly).
She enjoyed Dukes companionship for about 5 years. Now she’s an only. (Not counting her buddy Otto the cat) Molly adapted wonderfully to being the centre of attention. She is our traveller and roadie. Wherever we go, so does she. She eats and sleeps with us.
Molly enjoys attention wherever we take her. It is not uncommon for us to have to explain her breed as it’s relatively unknown to most. Those familiar with Bouviers are always making the same comments: they’re so smart and loyal; great personalities; super guard dogs! We of course couldn’t agree more. Molly is a super lovely girl.
She will be 8 this year and we look forward to enjoying her for many more. A house is not a home without a dog. Even so, this will be our last one.