The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘family’

Family History with a Doggie Twist!

I’m pretty sure I mentioned that Elizabeth is studying to become a professional genealogist. Every week on her day off she buries her nose in a binder and reads and then writes on the computer and then sends in her homework assignments and says she’s really learning a lot! Most of the time, I think the whole exercise is not nearly as interesting as packing trails or running after hares or going for a ride. But this week, Elizabeth made a discovery!

The course she is working on right now is all about Nonconformist denominations in England. Elizabeth found out some time ago that her great-great-grandmother Ellen Flack was a Nonconformist, a Congregationalist from a city called Ware in Hertfordshire. A long time ago, Elizabeth learned that this woman’s sister Juliana was married to a missionary and that they lived in British Guiana, where it gets far too hot for woolly dogs like me! They moved back to England where Elizabeth found them again on the 1871 Census. Then Elizabeth lost them.

Last week while doing her readings, she found names of some of the Congregationalist Missionary Societies, and decided to do her homework assignment on Juliana and the Rev. Robert Ricards, her 3g-aunt and uncle. She spent the afternoon researching using ideas gleaned from her text and the Internet. And guess where she found them!

In Hobart, Tasmania!

And here’s how: She found a classified ad in the Hobart newspaper of 1904:

Stella blog bulldogFOR SALE.
One bulldog. Owner selling because his wife tries to keep Persian female cats, and bully objects. Apply Flack Ricards. Con Clark guarantees that the architecture of the bulldog is all right : chewed her (Tudor) style.

Juliana and Robert had a son, Robert Flack Ricards, who, it turns out, was an architect….

My Family 2

Newfoundland Dogs are, apparently, very eager to please their two-leggers, relatively easy to train and eager to serve in all kinds of amazing ways like hauling nets out of the sea for their fishing two-leggers, swimming out to rescue drowning two-leggers, hauling carts of fish to market or logs from the woods. They are brave, hard-working, obedient, gentle giants. I am one-quarter Newfoundland. I’m brave. I can be gentle when I feel like it (most of the time). I think I work pretty hard – but I must admit that it’s only at the things that interest me.

I understand what my two-leggers are telling me to do. But obedient is not a word anyone would use to describe me. I think most of the time, two-leggers tell us to do things either to show off for them or just for the sake of showing who’s boss. Anyway, most of the time, I just don’t see that what they are telling me to do makes any sense. Certainly, I usually have more important things on my agenda, and those are the priorities I pursue.

That’s the Great Pyrenees three-quarters of my pedigree. And if two-leggers don’t understand that aspect of the Great Pyrenees personality… well, maybe they should be looking at another dog breed. Unfortunately, we look so adorable when we are babies that people forget we are fiercely independent thinking guard dogs. They take us home and baby us, coddle us and forget that they should be training us from the instant they first hold us in their long, hairless arms. And that leads to problems. Some people call it inappropriate “puppy behaviour.”

Elizabeth scanned Facebook and the Internet looking for other people who had Gt. Pyrs. She was having her own problems with me. I was lucky, though – Elizabeth isn’t one to give up on her pals. She was always asking questions, reading books and talking to people, in an effort to understand me better and to learn how better to work with me. She took me to classes where I grew from being the second smallest dog to the second biggest in eight weeks, and more importantly, learned to be friends with other people and dogs and what I should do when two-leggers made certain noises or gestures.

Elizabeth found the Manitoba Great Pyrenees Rescue (MGPR) page on Facebook and began “lurking.” One day she saw a picture of a dog that looked an awful lot like me there. She showed me the picture, and I had to agree. There was something about the dog that really seemed… familiar. Elizabeth read me the dog’s story. She asked the people who were talking about her situation – Dakota’d been in rescue for 18 months by that time – a few questions.

She learned that, while I was just finding my way into our home, one of the puppies from my dad’s litter with the neighbour’s Great Pyr found herself admitted to rescue. It was an owner surrender. They didn’t like her “puppy behaviour.” Dakota was really lucky in one respect, though: she was taken in by the lady who operates the MGPR. Sonia knows all about Gt. Pyrs, and she loved Dakota enough to work with her, teach her all kinds of good things – even skijoring!

Dakota, my Half-sister when in Rescue

Dakota, my Half-sister when in Rescue

But no one seemed to want to bring Dakota home.

Since then, Elizabeth has taken an interest in Dakota’s story. I think she would have really liked to adopt her, but I was very sick with blasto and there was no way she could bring another dog into our home. She tried to help Dakota find a home in little ways – showing her picture around, asking her to send me a letter for my readers to see (she was pretty busy learning to skijor and guarding the other dogs in the rescue centre, so that never came about). Finally, after two years of trying to find a forever home, someone saw Dakota and fell in love with her.

Dakota While she was at MGPR

Dakota While she was at MGPR

The other day, Elizabeth met one of Dakota’s two-leggers on Facebook, and he sent her a link to his blog, where he had posted some photos of Dakota with her new family. They really love her. And you can tell just by looking at her that Dakota is pretty happy with them, too (click on the link).

Just as Dakota found her forever home, I learned of another half-sister, Belle. It looked like she, too was going to be placed with MGPR, but at the last minute, things worked out for her, too.  Sonia had a picture of her and she has been kind enough to let Elizabeth post her pictures of both Belle and Dakota in this post. Thanks, Sonia! And thank you for helping my two sisters and so many other dogs find homes!

Belle, Another of my Half-sisters

Belle, Another of my Half-sisters

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