My Family Day story is linked to an event that transpired 80 years ago. That was when Captain the “lost wilderness dog” entered our family’s history.
At the conclusion of a silva culture contract they had completed, my dad and my uncle Tom decided to canoe from Red Lake Ontario to Pine Falls Manitoba. 130 miles as the crow flies, much longer by canoe. The fall had turned unexpectedly warm with no prospect of severe weather in the forecast. The two thought it presented an opportunity for a canoeing adventure. It was on that wilderness trip they came upon a beautiful dog they named Captain, lost in the Canadian wilderness looking for human companionship.
He instantly proved to be a stalwart canoeing companion sitting himself amidships with all the pomp the hairy seafarer could conjure up and brought many happy memories to dad and Uncle Tom. Captain later died in an unfortunate accident when a tree fell on him as he was sleeping. However, the story of his impact on Dad’s life was told countless times as I grew up.
After the first four of us had been born the story of Captain the wilderness dog morphed into Ginger; a lovely, little kid loving, lab. Ginger was a constant companion to all of us until one day he disappeared. Days later he arrived home after chewing through a rope still dangling from his neck. At that point he became a larger-than-life hero, a family legend. Dogs – how can kids grow up without having a dog to share their life with? When I was eleven suffering from a serious bout of bronchitis a family friend, a nurse no less, suggested to my parents that getting a dog would be a wonderful thing for my health. I jumped at the opportunity such an authority presented me with.
Pre Kijiji, we had something called the Classified Ads in our local rag, the Star Phoenix. It did not take long before I spotted my first ad for a dog needing a home. And the price was FREE. Despite promises made to mom by dad that he would make no rash decisions, the site of a slightly frayed dog (referred to as a mongrel by us kids) tied to a pole in a stranger’s basement grabbed the heart of dad and I. Duchess came home with us and became the center of my life.
As I had not yet progressed to dog whisperer and Duchess needed significant training, her poor house habits led to us building an outdoor doghouse for her. One frigid winter day she did not come racing up despite my repeated calls. It was not long before my worries had reached stratospheric level. Bundling up, I went out to expand the search. It finally led back to her doghouse buried under straw bales to ward off the bite of a Saskatchewan winter. I crawled on the snow through the tunnel entrance to her house and found Duchess whimpering and unable to move. Her hip was broken. She had been hit by a car. My paper route savings were all I had, and mom and dad could not afford to help but a wonderful vet told me she would reduce her bill by 50% so I could afford the surgery. She was my hero. A handful of days later Duchess was back home, the proud owner of a temporary steel pin in her hip that stuck out about two inches.
We had adventure after adventure together topped off by her delivery of nine puppies one day when mom was in ill and in hospital. Mom was mortified about the event, I was ecstatic. My grandmother who was looking after us was, shall we say, less than enthusiastic as she was the one who eventually had to deal with non-house-trained puppies who figured out how to climb stairs while I was at school. After Duchess, Mickey and then Celest became part of our family.
Later, after leaving home and starting my own family, a new chapter of family dog members began. Typically, our hairy friends were outcasts that needed a home. Each carried their own story but to our kids all were special. Benji, Snowball, Jazz, Blue, Jake, and Penda; each have added joy, unexpected antics at the worst possible time, listening ears to our stories, and love for all.
Our kids have moved away and established their own homes. Each has welcomed a new generation of dogs into their lives. Simba the mountain wanderer always eager for a hiking expedition, Happy the constant guardian and companion of a little boy growing up, and Colby the ranger, hiker, and little boy raiser. Each was unique, a constant loving companion throughout their life.
The two of us have recently been joined by Lexi, a smart young German Shepherd with boundless energy. Soon another little German Shepherd puppy will join her. The ongoing story of dogs in our lives continues all thanks to the impact of Captain long ago on dad.
This past year has been a hard one as our children and ourselves have mourned the passing of our four family dog warriors who gave so much to all of us. It has been tear-filled as endless memories have run through our minds and conversations. But the stories of Captain and all who came after him lives on in our family’s collective memory. Koa, Scout, and Lexi share our lives now. Each bursting with life and uniqueness; eager to love us, our kids, and grandkids. New to adventure and life lessons. Young bodies that haven’t experienced injury or old age yet.
We came across Back on Track products years ago when Simba ruptured his cruciate and had TPLO surgery. The products were recommended to help his comfort levels during his rehab. Throughout the years we have used Back on Track products to help all of our dogs. Simba used the mesh rugs to help with his body soreness. Happy, Colby, and Penda all slept on the dog beds to help with daily wear and tear. These products have helped our dogs live a little longer and keep up to the grandkids a little easier.
Lexi relaxing on the Rocky Dog Bed by Back on Track
Rocky Dog Bed is Infused with Welltex minerals to help to improve circulation and comfort for your dog
Happy doing life in the Back on Track Multi Season Rug – great for cold and wet weather. Happy was easy on his body. An agile border collie shepherd who loved the comforts of life.. including how Back on Track products made him feel. He loved a warm fire, kids and rocks. He passed Jan 12th 2022.
Family Day is a wonderful day to remember the endless blessings our canine friends bring to families everywhere. We trust Back on Track therapeutic products to help keep our treasured pets feeling their best and living life as comfortably as possible. Because we love them.