Sunday, April 8, 2012

Meeting new friends.

One of the nicest things about being part of a very small breed community are the friendships that form because people have their dogs as a common link. I've met some of my closest friends because of Chandler. English Shepherd owners may drive or fly many miles to be able to attend an English Shepherd Gathering and meet other owners and dogs. However, not all friendships have to span such distances. I recently discovered another English Shepherd owner living in the town next to mine. Last weekend Karen and I finally had the free time to take a hike together.

Karen's English Shepherd is named Patches. He's somehow connected to the Operation New Beginnings dogs, although I'm not sure if he was one of the dogs that was sent away before the raid, or if he was one of the dogs at the Metra. If so, I think he must have been a pup at the time, because he is younger than Chandler and seems to have gotten enough nutrition to grow to his full size. The only other thing I know is that Karen mentioned his foster family was in North Carolina.

Like me, Patches likes to run.

Karen also brought along her foster dog, Monty. He's a Great Pyrenees who is very shy around people. Apparently he comes from a situation where he was neither bonded to livestock nor socialized to people. He's probably similar in a lot of ways to the ONB dogs that needed "taming". Karen is working to socialize him and make him more confident around people. I think she appreciated that I knew that doing my best to ignore him would probably do Monty the most good. Monty quickly started shooting worried glances back at me if I walked behind him and Karen. I switched to walking in front of Karen and Monty for the rest of the hike, so he would be less concerned. He also got to listen to me talk Karen's ear off about English Shepherds, so I hope the experience of being around a garrulous but mostly harmless stranger was good for him.

Monty is handsome, but he got nervous
every time he heard Mom mention his name.

Chandler and Patches turned out to be practically two of a kind. They quickly bonded through the brotherhood of the zoomies, and spent some time running up and down the trail. Chandler got tired first. I think Patches has about five times the energy that Chan does.

Five times the energy? But I'm the one running in front!

Patches adores the water as much as Chandler does. Both boys spent some time fetching sticks out of the reservoir. I think Chan was the faster swimmer, but he's had a few more years of practice.

Here we come with our sticks!

The boys did get into a slight vocal tiff when Patches decided to try to steal Chandler's stick. Apparently, Patches is the bossy one in Karen's house. I'm not sure if he has been growled off before.

Hey! Go get your own stick!

Since Patches and Chan are both good-natured dogs, the little argument didn't do any damage. Soon after emerging from the water, the boys started a game of chase. Both Karen and I had a great time, and I think Chandler and Patches did too. Monty may feel otherwise, but I hope we stretched his horizons a little. I'm looking forward to taking another hike with Karen soon.

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