Queenie has become quite the personality in my neighbourhood here in Toronto. I was walking with her the other day and a little kid at the bus stop shouted out to his friend “It’s the wolf-dog!”. Every-time we go out we get stopped and people ask about her. Since she came to Toronto she’s has dealt with many changes. She has learnt about glass doors, by walking into them and stairs by falling down them – now she’ll only come upstairs if there’s a storm or fireworks, I think just to make sure I’m ok. In truth we have both learnt a lot including how to walk and run on a leash and indeed how to be off the leash and find each other again. At the dog park she has her favourite friends and is quite delighted when we time our walks with those of an eight month old Japanese shiba inu or with an old gentleman husky towards whom, in the most un-subtle manner, she tries to feign in-difference.
There were times during the summer when I worried about her and even though we only walked late at night and early in the morning I did on various occasions think she wasn’t going to make it and that I’d have to carry her home. That all changed in September. With the drop in temperature came a new lease of life! Since then we’ve been jogging and running everywhere. Every now and then she loves to run at top speed, thankfully she doesn’t keep it up for too long, only for about five minutes or so, for me then it ends up being five minutes of really fast sprinting. It’s quite exhilarating as she stretches out into a proper gallop (if that’s what you call it when a dog goes top speed). When we are not sprinting she has a lovely slow trot that both of us could keep up for hours. Its really comfortable (and I’m not really the running type…). Although she apparently has a slightly dodgy ticker and has had a good few teeth out she is in great shape, very often people will ask me how old my “puppy” is. They are shocked to realise she’s 13. And while it’s truly testament to the good care at Chocpaws I feel vicariously smug as I reckon she’s probably in better shape than any dog in the area that’s over the age of about 5 (childish of me, I know…).
She’s been a wonderful addition to my life and I think we’ve established ourselves as a little pack. When she’s off leash while she likes to hang out with (some of!) the other dogs she’s just as happy meeting the other people. That said she can’t resist chasing certain little dogs, especially the yappy ones. Funnily enough when the tables are turned and she gets chased she doesn’t like it at all and gets stressed out and a bit frightened; its the only time you’ll ever hear her making a noise. Then if I call her over she realises there is a safe haven for her; its nice to see her realise there’s a way out and it just means coming back over to join her mini pack. There are still some mysteries that I’ve not got to the bottom of and I’m not sure if I ever will. For example at home she really doesn’t like it when I sit at the kitchen table, when I’m there she’ll stand to one side and shiver nervously, as soon as I move to the sitting room (and it’s all open plan so it’s not even a different room) she’s happy as larry and will come over for a pet or just lie down where she can see what is going on. My house mate reckons she can see ghosts, who knows. What will get her in the kitchen though is some cooking and she’s very appreciative, green tripe is her favourite but she did rather like the shepherds pie I made at the weekend too…
Thanks Chocpaws for this lovely new family member, she’s affectionate, sweet and a real love. I’m looking forward to seeing how she reacts to the snow in this her first winter in full retirement, for sure more lessons and more adventures are to come! Hopefully I’ll make it up north in January, my parents are coming to visit from the UK and I’m hoping to arrange an outing with them, should be fun!