Our First Rescue Dog, Part 2

Bear Settles In—and We Hang on for the Ride.

Several people commented and asked about Bear after the first blog on December 13, so it seems an update is called for. I’m happy to report that our sweet new boy is definitely part of the family now (though you might hear a protest from Princess-kitty Turtle, who has yet to grant the royal seal of approval).

Bear&ThorShowshoe2014 We’re having a great time taking Bear out hiking, and he clearly loves it. Though not a fan of water—he tiptoes around puddles—he went delirious with joy when we recently took him snowshoeing on Mt. Baker. He went plunging into the deep snow, spun circles around us, rolled, and took a few tasty bites, then settled into rhythm with us. He’s so densely and nonreflectively black that against the white stuff, he looks like an opaque photo negative of a polar bear.

Thor has dubbed him Bipolar Bear: As I earlier reported, Bear is a mellow fellow—most of the time. When we took him to meet our vet, who has five of her own rescue dogs, we learned that strays and rescue dogs are often rather subdued the first couple of weeks in a new or trial home. Then, when they feel secure, they let down their hair, so to speak. Oh, yeah. Bear, who is probably about two, is still very puppyish when excited, which means when we first get home, when he thinks a walk is imminent, when he spots a squirrel, when he just feels happy…. The first time he went into a whirling dervish routine in the back yard, leaping straight into the air and then running circles around me like the Tasmanian Devil as the radius of the circle tightened and tightened, I was a bit alarmed. But he’s smart and eager to please, and he’s learning the “Down” command.

The main thing is to make sure he gets his daily exercise, and local rambles do us all good. Check out that purpleBear'sTongue tongue! Everyone on the trails asks, “What breed is he?” Our vet is guessing a black Chow-Golden Retriever mix. Which is a bittersweet link to our beloved departed Worf, a Golden.

On the feline front, our tuxedo guy Tucker has gotten pretty casual about the new dog in the house—they warily circle around each other, Tucker running from any sudden movements, but Bear is smart and has figured out that he needs to be respectful. He was very anxious to get closer to Tucker, and finally was allowed to sniff Tucker’s butt. “Okay, that’s who this little creature is,” Bear seemed to say, satisfied, and now Tucker has reciprocated in the sniffing department.  Princess Turtle is another story—still Very wary of this big rambunctious creature, though she adored Worf. The cats have their own gated areas of the house, where she mostly hangs out, but she’s making more forays into dog territory, so hopefully they will reach détente.










I understand her caution. Bear has massive jaws and loves to attack squeaky toys, which he usually rips open and de-squeaks within five minutes. We’ve ordered replacement squeakers in bulk to stuff back into the mangled toys and keep him occupied.

Bear&SaraLake2014 We are all adjusting to the new routines, alternately exhausted or rejuvenated keeping up this active youngster. One thing for sure, sharing the great outdoors with our curious, eager new boy brings out the sunshine on our winter outings, even in the rainy Northwest.




About Sara Stamey

Award-winning author Sara Stamey’s journeys include treasure hunting and teaching scuba in the Caribbean and Honduras; backpacking around Greece and New Zealand; operating a nuclear reactor; and owning a farm in Southern Chile. Resettled in her native Pacific Northwest, she taught creative writing at Western Washington University. She shares her Squalicum Creek backyard with wild critters and her cats, dog, and paleontologist husband Thor Hansen. Visit her BVC Ebookstore bookshelf.


Our First Rescue Dog, Part 2 — 5 Comments

  1. We had a golden husky-chow mix with the purple tongue. She was a real treasure but also an adventurer. Keeping her fenced–even with 8ft chain link–became a problem when she figured out how to open the latch. A padlock worked for a time, then she started to climb… but by that time she was old enough and had enough weight in the butt that climbing wasn’t really an option.

  2. We have a friend in the park (meaning, we know the dog’s name but not the human’s name) called Damion who looks remarkably like your rescue. Damion’s mom is a black lab and it’s believed daddy was a chow (black tongue, ears.) I’ll see if I can get a photo of Damion, though it may not be until the weather is fair. I’m sure Damion would have no difficulty with our sub-zero walks in the winter months, but as I recall his people were elderly, so perhaps more cautious. I love that you can put the squeakers back in the toy! I had no idea you could buy them in bulk!

  3. Yes, Bear is very smart and a bit sly–stealing seashells from our shelved collection when we aren’t looking, squeezing through a new fence in the backyard that was meant to be only cat-permeable, etc. So he’s keeping us on our toes. A jogger in the park said he looked exactly like a Black Chow/Golden Retriever mix she had, so we like to think that might be it, keeping a connection to our former Golden guys. His history is a mystery, so we’ll just have to create our own stories as we learn more about who he is now.

  4. Have fun with those squeaker-fests! We generally just call them flaccid toys at that point and let them live on in their new form. ;>