The majority of dogs I have worked with have been registered breeds over the years. Thirty percent of my contacts have been with mixed breeds. It is time to highlight a few of them for you and hear their personal stories.
A few years back I got a phone call regarding walking two dogs at a home nearby. Their owner had hurt her back and needed assistance with dog walking on icy sidewalks in the winter and during her convalescence to prevent further injury.
I went to meet the dogs as I always do and the owners. I was delighted meeting Marlane and could not believe her hours of work, leaving in the middle of the night when we are all cosy in our beds sleeping, to head to her job. I assumed she was working in a hospital with those hours – possibly as a nurse or doctor. After more conversation, and instantly feeling at complete ease with one another she divulged her profession.
She is the talented Marlane Oliver, a radio host of 680 News – a station I have been listening to for over 22 years… what a coincidence! I was bed ridden with my first pregnancy almost 21 years ago and would listen to 680 news to hear about the local and world news while I was told to not leave my bed due to a pregnancy complication. It was my link to the world I could not be out in temporarily.
It made sense her voice was so familiar! As a dog walker we listen to the news literally all day long for the weather and traffic concerns and hopefully world affairs! Marlane literally wakes me up every morning with her voice set to my alarm. Already we had a connection!
Marlane has two daughters like myself so we were off to a running start talking about our girls and being mothers plus dog owners! I asked Marlane recently how Tia and Mo came into their lives.
Her oldest daughter was living with three other girls in a house while attending Queens in Kingston during second year. The students all decided to get pets – one dog two cats and a ferret! Becoming pet owners was a perk while at university – no parental consent was required. Many of the students became dog owners “saving” pooches as rescues from the Kingston Pound, which in turn sold them to the University for research. By Thanksgiving all the pets in the girls’ home had gone to other families and Tia came to live with Marlane, also known as “Oma”.
By third year her daughter figured she was more grown up, seeing as she had a boyfriend who had graduated, and they got Mo, her second dog. She graduated a year later; her boyfriend was history and was offered a wonderful two month job in Korea teaching – so Mo came to join “Oma” too. Five years later her daughter returned with her Masters and moved to LA. Mo and Tia have continued living with Marlane and John in Toronto and enjoy hearing them on the radio.
Tia is gorgeous , a blend of Boxer and lab, mostly Boxer with her tan and white markings. Her walk is definitely Boxer with the wiggle in her hips. She looks scary and often people will cross the road if coming towards her but she has a heart of gold. She wears a hot pink collar to “soften” her look – a great marketing tool by Marlane!
She does have quite the appetite though which I have personally witnessed! Marlane’s work hours were switched a few years ago so their morning routine became different and Tia decided to go on the occasional binge! She is extremely clever and quickly discovered how to open their fridge and freezer! She has helped herself to steaks, hot banana peppers, cheesecake, and chocolate bars to name a few of the items.
Tia has an iron gut and gets through the mishaps with some discomfort but nothing which isn’t resolved in a couple of days and frequent letting out. I have walked her and Mo off and on and always wonder what might present when I open their door and see into the kitchen.
I have caught her after an eating spree when she is lounging on the couch with a nice full belly. Mo, on the other hand, a Chihuahua French Bull Dog mix takes one look at me from a distance away from the feasting location with the perfect expression of “I am so not guilty you know!”
Marlane and John have to bungee cord their fridge and freezer closed when out to prevent a buffet taking place. So far she has not figured out how to remove the cords, fingers crossed!
Mo is the funniest looking dog. She could win a contest for the largest ears on a small dog. When she is on “High Alert” they resemble a rabbit’s ears! She uses them to her advantage as a GPS system going down groundhog holes and hibernating porcupine habitats. This has been a negative as she has received a face of quills twice and has not learned her lesson.
Mo likes to sleep under her owner’s covers and is a natural heated “water bottle” being that size! We have experienced this when she came for a sleep over and we found it very endearing – a comfortable underground den of her own liking! Mo has big bulgy eyes -most likely another perk to go down holes!
Mo has a fun wardrobe that often brings a smile to people seeing her out on her walks. Red is her colour and she has a jacket resembling Little Red Riding Hood, a raincoat and a heavy duty winter parka with faux fur trim that would easily be seen on a Hollywood celeb in Aspen.
Being small the salt on the sidewalks is not her thing or the days with wind chills, her little “bird” feet/paws are far too delicate to be a winter loving gal.
One day while out walking the duo Marlane noticed a boat for sale and was thrilled to tell John as he was looking for one that was the same type. He bought it and it has been named the Tiamo which in Italian means I love you. The boat is perfectly named after their un-matched pair who have enriched their lives as Grand-dogs.
I love walking them together as this unlikely pair draw attention being polar opposites. They both love a few dog treats on our return home, have each other for company and have the devotion of their family behind them as a common denominator, what a lucky pair!
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