Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pabu's Last Years

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Pabu never was trained to walk at heel or come when called but very late in life he learned to be a "cruiser."
His first person, Ellie, didn't think leash skills were very important and neither did I. His breed, Tibetan Spaniels, are notorious for being very independent so getting him housetrained was about all we did to modify his behavior for human convenience. We simply made sure he was never outside an enclosed area without having a leash on attached to a strong human arm. With short legs and a heavy double fur coat, he never seemed to need or want much exercise on walks with his halter and leash. For his first 16 years, a long walk once a day and a few more "outings" seemed to satisfy him.... until he had a chance to join his longtime pal, Dan, at a doggie playgroup in December 2015. He'd known Dan since he was a 6 month old puppy. Pabu had pulled so hard on his leash one evening, he pulled over Ellie and broke her wrist. She thought nothing of it (incipient vascular dementia) but the human family said, "The time is now for a dog walker!" His human niece, Catherine, found Dan's website and soon Pabu was spending a lot of time glued to his home's front door waiting for Dan, who is also an amazing photographer. Dan also had to fend off Ellie's constant attempts to fix him a lunch when he needed to get back to work or meet up with his fiancé, and later wife, Miranda. (Ellie made a great sandwich and super salads!) It's nice to see Pabu's first Big Dog pal, the Samoyed Skylo, still on Dan's dog care website first page.
Fast forward over 15 years of regular dog walks with Dan on the streets around home, and soon one weekly morning playgroup session became three days a week because Pabu, who knew?!, was a "cruiser" of constant happy motion when set loose with gentle dogs in an enclosed dog run at a local public park. He knew he was safe there with Dan, his wife Miranda, and daughter, Sierra.
He enjoyed those playgroups until the week before he died. I'm sure he would give Dan, Miranda and Sierra many dog kisses and long presses of his head into their legs in thanks if he could. (Many thanks to Dan for these impromptu cell phone pictures!)