Okay, so I’m dog crazy. Especially when the dog happens to be our beloved Sophie, a golden retriever, who keeps us entertained 365 days of the year, and then some. So please forgive me if I tell a seasonal Sophie tale about ringing in the New Year in her exuberant, inimitable fashion.
My partner Diana walks Sophie each morning through the trails of Wul’aam Park in Chemainus, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from our house on two legs, half that distance on four. It’s actually a misnomer to call Sophie’s dashing up and down the trail a ‘walk.’ She plunges in and out of the forest, races ahead and back, urging her plodding humans on.
We decided it would be good policy to attach a bell to Sophie’s collar, to alert any deer, cougar, bears, hares or squirrels in the vicinity of the canine whirl-wind in their midst. The first bell we tried was a Christmas decoration Di picked up at the 49th Parallel General Store, and fastened to Sophie’s collar with a twist tie; that went missing the first time out, no doubt snagged on a bush or branch.
The next day, Sophie was doing her usual scramble through the underbrush, until part way through the walk she returned to Diana, the bell proudly clamped in her mouth, her eyes bright, tail held high. Amazed, we congratulated ourselves on having such a smart pooch, even as we set our minds to finding a more secure jingler to hang from her collar.
Our son Ian found just the thing – an official bear bell with a Velcro strap designed to attach to the backpack of a hiker to add a little dingle to his step. A couple of days later, Diana tried it out for the first time; Sophie returned from one of her forays with no bell – even a skookum attachment, meant just for hiking, couldn’t stand up to her plunging and ferreting.
All was not lost, though. On Tuesday, Jan 5, more than a week after her audible accessory went missing, Diana and Sophie were enjoying their morning outing. “I was walking up the trail,” Diana said, “when I heard a bell ringing behind me, and thought it must be someone else’s dog, so I turned and stepped aside, only to see Sophie coming up with her bell in her mouth.”
She’s not called a retriever for nothing, I suppose. Now if only we can figure out a way to get her bell as attached to her collar as we are to her, it would never get lost again.
Actually, our latest strategy is to attach the bell to Diana rather than Sophie… so far it seems to be working.