Hello friends, my name is Cat and I love dogs (yes, I see the irony!).
Born and raised in the United Kingdom, and now a proud citizen of Canada, I’ve been lucky enough to have dogs in my household for 20 years. In 2001, my mum brought home our very first adopted dog – a gorgeous black Labrador cross called Benson – and from that day on I knew I’d always want dogs in my life. Now, I’m a proud dog parent to the love of my life and my sandy sidekick, Tucker.
It’s hard to overstate how much I love my dog, and dogs in general. They are incredibly special creatures – what other animal on earth is capable of such love, loyalty, caring and companionship (even if it’s driven by food!!)? What other animal will unfailingly greet you at the door as if you’ve been gone for months, when it’s only been five minutes? What other animal always wants to do what you want to do, with enthusiasm to spare? Dogs are truly beautiful (ok, slobbery, slightly smelly) beings thanks to their capacity to love us unconditionally. What we as people perceive as faults, failings and imperfections, simply don’t exist to them – they don’t judge or discriminate, hold standards or expectations, or care about status or wealth. All they want is to love and be loved – what could possibly be better that that?
Tucker is no exception. A rangy, gentle, yet spirited Golden Retriever cross (we think – exact breed unknown!), he came into our lives eight years ago when my spouse Steve and I adopted him from a local dog rescue in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where we lived at the time. It all began with a chance encounter on March 29, 2013 – I’ll share the full story here soon – but for now, all you need to know is despite repeatedly climbing on me and depositing half his coat on my clothing, Tucker made an excellence first impression, and I knew right away he was a dog I could love. From that moment, he’s filled our lives and hearts with endless love, joy, happiness, laughter, entertainment, fun and perhaps most poignantly, comfort.
Which brings me to this blog. I decided to launch Island Dog now in tribute to the immense role Tucker has played in pulling me through a particularly challenging year, and some of the darkest times in my life. I’ll elaborate in a future post, but 2020 was certainly up there with the most isolating, uncertain and unsettling years I’ve lived through, as I’m sure it was for many of you too. When I reflect on my two decades with dogs, it’s by no means the first time they’ve seen me through a rough patch – our first dog Benson arrived at a very distressing time for my family, and his love and companionship felt like a much-needed panacea. Studies have shown that dogs can benefit our mental wellbeing (and physical too) by alleviating stress, anxiety, sadness, and depression. Tucker is a retired therapy dog and it warms my heart to say that he brought joy and comfort to dozens of people in need of it when we volunteered with St. John Ambulance in Saskatoon (more on that soon). I’m a big believer in the healing power of dogs – it’s something I can certainly vouch for in my own personal experience, and I hope to delve a little deeper into it here.
Tucker is an avid adventurer, as am I, so the essence of Island Dog is to celebrate exploration, excitement and life experiences. The name is inspired by our imminent move to Vancouver Island, which represents a bold new chapter in our lives and hope for better times ahead. I’m blessed that Tucker shares my love of a good adventure, never happier than with the scent of freedom fresh in our nostrils. Together our little pack has travelled much of Western Canada, crossing three provinces and discovering an incredible array of national, provincial and regional parks, forests, prairie, beaches, grasslands, mountains, big cities and small towns along the way. We’ve hiked, swum, scrambled, and snowshoed, fished, climbed, camped, and canoed, and with more to come, I couldn’t ask for a better companion to explore the charm and beauty of our new island home.
As we emBARK (pun intended) on our island adventure, it’s a great opportunity not only to share new exploits, but to reflect on our journey so far. We’ll do it through our own personal stories and experiences, and we’d like to invite you to share yours too, whether it’s commenting on one of our posts or connecting with us through our Island Dog social community (just click on the links at the bottom of this page to join us!).
That’s all for now friends, so without further ado, we give you Island Dog. Enjoy!
Don’t let life pass you by – always paws for adventure!