“Once you have a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished.” Dean Koontz
This is a story about dogs & their companions or “The People” in their lives.
When I first met Jim he had his faithful Labrador Liza, his childhood companion, by his side. Liza loved to nap in the doorway of the log cabin in the Tarryall, basking in the sun.
She sat patiently watching the dirt road for his return from town when he went for supplies.
We have had many wonderful visits to the ranch by brave friends who did not mind going to the “Wilderness” to visit. Here is a picture of dear friends Chuck, Sue, Missy & Erin with a perfect Liza look alike named Polly on the left & her Labrador friend.
People love Labs!
Once Liza jumped out of the truck at the toll gate to the Bay Bridge. We did not realize she was gone until the other side. Of course we turned around, drove back across the bridge & found her waiting for us to pick her up.
The last dog we had was a Labrador named Shred. For those not familiar Shred is a snowboarding word meaning to conquer the mountain. Our kids grew up in Colorado & skied every possible run on their school trips during ski season.
This dog was layered with handfuls of fat & fur. He was very vocal as he circled 3 times to lay down, never far away. Jim was too heartbroken to ever get another dog when he passed.
Since I have been living in Berkeley with family I have had the pleasure of dog sitting Stella during the day when everyone is off to work & school. Stella, a rescue dog, is the total opposite of Shred. Where Shred would lunge out the front door, run across the street & up the hill in search of adventure, Stella is always by my side. She prefers to be close. She is petite but ferocious when it comes to squirrels. She lives for a game of ball. I am not sure if she is excited to see me or the delicious prospect of chasing the ball. Maybe both. We tried to train her to fetch a ball shot out of a machine but she never mastered the art.
My friend Sue lives in Berkeley, has 2 dogs & spends many hours walking her pets. There are countless places to hike & walk, from dog parks to wild mountain trails.
This is Cha Cha. This is the humorous part of the story! Sue’s contribution was this video. I’m not sure how she did the voiceover but it is very funny. Cha Cha means business & she deserves it because after all she is a senior citizen & deserves our respect.
Translation: “Well let me tell you something. Don’t get in my way. I’ll bite your stinking hand off. Anyway I can just say what I want to. So like I said, don’t get in my way!”
Her story is more along the lines of a review by The New York Times Book Review of A Dog’s Life by Peter Mayle.
“Ingenious…a take on dog life that collides with the sweet mythology of Man’s Best Friend.”
My brother Eric & his wife Jane are totally into animals. Jane used to work for the City of Berkeley Pound & brought home dogs, cats & turtles. I may be missing other critters in this story! This is Tyke playing with the cat, Kathmandu.
Dogs go way back in my family. Here is a picture of our very young father John when he was in the Navy during the 2nd World War. Dad is the handsome one on the left. The crew loved this dog.
Speaking of sailors here are 2 pictures of our fellow Klamath Yacht Club Staff Commodore Bob on his boat Lighten Up & a picture of his dog Megan.
This is Tom. He is lucky enough to live on a very nice boat at the Berkeley Marina, one of the best places to live here. He is a dog walker & loves his job & seems to be a natural at multitasking. He has found his calling.
This is his story.
“I have been intrigued for many years about a dog walkers life. Having lived in the mountains most of my life, all my dogs were “ranch” dogs and never needed to be leashed. (most of the time) After purchasing a sailboat in 2000, many days and weekends were spent on board in the Bay, where I now reside full time. I would see dogs being walked around by as many different types of people as there were pouches! Someday, I knew it would be a check off of my bucket list, to become a “dog walker”.
I’ve been walking dogs now for an East Bay company for about 8 months. Some days I have one customer dog. Others, I’ve had as many as 7. I only do group walks. All off leash in specific areas of the East bay. A few of my dogs have required leash’s full time, usually because of a bad foraging habit or poor recall. I like this job because it gets me off the boat 5 days a week and I get a few miles walk in with a huge dog fix! I get paid for each and every dog I walk, every time I walk him/her. All variable amounts as to the frequency. My dog Sassy is an 8+ year old Schipperke whom I rescued about the same time I started the dog job. Picking my own hours, I’m usually able to start and finish the walks after and before the morning and afternoon traffic. The walk is one hour, minimum. I have keys to all the dogs homes. However, with the driving, traffic and distance between dog houses, a 3-5 hour day is the norm.”
My friend Madeleine has returned to Klamath Falls where she grew up. She is a world traveler, photographer & artist. I am delighted that she bought our wetlands property on Upper Klamath Lake. Jim had a beautiful vision for preservation of this urban wetland & Madeleine is the perfect person to continue on the path. She plans to build a small house & contemplate the sounds & sights of the abundant bird life there. In the summer the sounds of frogs croaking is a delight.
To complete this story I am proud to be friends with Abbie & Jason. We have known them professionally & socially for many years. They have a special place in our hearts as we hosted their wedding at The Klamath Yacht Club when we were Commodores in 2000.
Here is their story. We donated funds so they could afford a companion dog for their son. If you know someone who needs such a dog please do help. Titus is a lifesaver.
“Finn was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in Kindergarten and shortly after, Titus joined his medical team. Titus was professionally trained to alert to blood sugars under 80 or over 180. He is our MVP and right hand man not only because of his lifesaving medical alerts but because of his loyal companionship and the positivity he brings to a relentless diagnosis.”
P.S. I recommend reading A Dog’s Life by Peter Mayle for a good laugh.