Life with a Rock Star

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River is now 18 months old and by most accounts a full-fledged dog. He has developed his own distinct personality and travelling with him is kind of like being the road crew to a rock star. You have a job that needs to be done but no one really cares or gives you much attention when the star is present. And he does kind of fit the part – handsome, long flowing blonde locks, deep, dark chocolate brown eyes, sleek and athletic, and a killer smile.

On a recent trip to Peggy’s Cove, River was showered with affection by a group of high school students from Kingston, ON who were visiting via a Canadian exchange program and tour bus. As we waited on the rocks while the group had their photo taken sprawling Stanley Cup style in front of the iconic lighthouse, we could hear the chatter about him began. As we started to make our way past them, about 10 teenage girls circled River asking to pat him and take photos. Even their chaperones came over for a visit. One girl said her trip just got even better with the meeting of River. Meanwhile, River took it all on stride, happily darting from one person to the next, obviously enjoying the adoration from the amateur paparazzi/groupies.

Also on our excursion as we stopped for photos at the fishing wharf, River was greeted by a larger than life, tan-coloured bull mastiff who would put a good-sized pony to shame.  The big dog, who was older and much larger than River ,started to sniff and check him out. Within a couple of minutes, much to our surprise, River lets out a little growl to voice his displeasure with his head up over the humongous dog’s shoulder. The bull mastiff replied with the same mixture of rough play and intolerance but we just parted the two easily and walked away with no incidence. The bigger dog gave one last look as he sauntered away as if to say, “Kids these days can be so cheeky!”

River, we think, believes he is 150 lbs instead of 72 lbs and was showing off his “Boss Dog” personality. River couldn’t be any friendlier, easy going and charming but when it comes to bigger canines, he likes to roll with the big guys.

As we waited in a local Tim Hortons drive thru a middle-aged man came over to meet and pat River saying he had a golden retriever who was getting up in years. He made a big fuss over River and snapped a photo saying he had to show his daughter. Walks on the Samson Trail or along the shores of Melmerby or Caribou beaches also result in lots of pats, smiles and kind compliments. River just preens and soaks it all up.

Rides to the beach now mean wails and whimpers as soon as he gets a whiff of the salt water in the air. Beach time is among his absolute favourites as he enjoys the chance to dig clam shells from the water’s edge as well as on shore or dive for rocks. Making snow angels or rolling in the sand are also two of his favourite play activities and he is in his glory rolling in a light covering of snow on top of the sand at the Merb, just about turning himself inside out. He takes many situations in his stride such as torrential rains and thunder while on the beach or even snow thunder. Not a bit scared, he is his usual  frolicking self, never wanting to cut a run or walk short no matter what the conditions.

We have never had such a digger in the family and the backyard is starting to reflect this way with little holes popping up. Our next-door neighbours are so good to River, patting him, baby talking him and just all around enjoying and appreciating him. This past week, the family of four were in their back yard playing soccer. It was the cutest sight to see River perched with his nose pressed against the fence, tracking their every move, contently following each play, not a peep coming out of him.  It was as if he thought if he intently watched and was well behaved, the “coach” just might put him in the game.

Inside River always loves to stay close and in the evenings as we both curl up on the couch he snuggles in tightly with his head on my feet. Life with a “rock star” is the best.