Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Shang - Ruff - La

Last Sunday, the most beautiful day in a long time, we made our first visit to Acton Park. What a great spot for both species - humans and canines. My photographer friend had been strongly encouraging me to visit and boy was he right.

The most friendly and well-behaved dogs were gathered at this slice of heaven.

The labs and retreivers were streaking across the field and launching themselves into the lily pond. Several puppies were being thoroughly examined and exercised - just gentle friendliness.

The herding dogs - Australian shepherds and border collies among others - were vocally objecting to the lack of symmetry of the park's pack. Their protestations were heeded for a few minutes here and there.

Hunter, "a purebred exotic Bahamian kitchen sink dog" the color of a fox, was a particularly popular and joyful creature. The five-plus-year-old pooch and his much-smaller mixed breed sib, Twinkie, were non-stop adventurerers. He has mellowed, according to his owner. In his youth, Hunter was "a surface-to-air missile," causing many a black eye.

Another cutie pie, Scout, was a later arrival. The basset hound/beagle mix was a rescue from Virginia. The Sterling (Mass.) dog shelter takes in dogs from the south regularly. The owner's wife, a vet, first noticed the newest family member when she was participating in a spay and neutering clinic.

What a lucky family and animal to have found each other. Scout was in the shelter for a month unclaimed and has now been in his new home for six months. He had eight wires in his jaw and had seven teeth extracted. Poor thing had clearly been through a lot. What a happy ending. During this day's visit, he was seducing adults and children alike. Giving back for all that he is receiving.

And then there was Nanka, a five-year-old male Keeshond. He had gotten his summer 'do. More of a thinning to show his very light gray undercoat, instead of a dark gray to black-tipped top. His devoted owner keeps this cut from May to October - done every six weeks. Nanka seemed very proud of and comfortable with his look.

When I first saw him, I thought he was a puppy because of his cute almost black baby face (raccoon-like) and lovely disposition. Just a big beautiful fluff ball. It was a breed that I have not commonly seen, but have been exposed to only through televised dog shows.

Keeshonds were bred to be guard dogs on Dutch barges. Nanka's genetics have given him keen ears and the instinct to react swiftly to any noise. But first and foremost his owner said he is just a really good pet.

Chagall and I really enjoyed our outing and look forward to many more.

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