The Four-legged Good Will Ambassador

I let my dog pick my new friends.

Well, maybe “pick” is a little inaccurate. 

There’s nothing quite so petulant as a 120-pound adolescent dog.

If you think a toddler demanding your attention while you’re on the phone is annoying and distracting, try an Akita who thinks he’s keeping you from danger and is also bored and wants to look for Mr. Crane (an actual crane that lives near us) and chase Danger Squirell (a neighborhood squirrel that seems to think he’s immortal and loves to play chicken with my pooch, Crowley).

I’ve had dogs my whole life, but my relationship with this dog who could pass for a bear cub is as unique for me as a shy used car salesman. 

When puppies are about four weeks old, they form a bond with their mother and litter-mates.  This is where a dog figures out he’s a dog, learns dog behavior, and is taught not to date outside their species.

If you’ve ever seen a youtube video and they say the dog thinks he’s a goat, or a lizard, or a carrot, it’s a real possibility.  That puppy may have been separated from his mother too early, and instead of learning he’s a dog, bonds with an armadillo.

Then between seven and sixteen weeks, a puppy can imprint on a human.  This person becomes their bringer of adventure, fun, and food.  They’re the first one they look to when they’re scared or hurt. 

They can’t stand to be away from this person because they miss them, and when they’re not close, the pooch cannot protect them.  They must keep their human safe at all costs, for they are the wellspring from which all good things flow.

I think Crowley imprinted on me the night we brought him home.  I carried him to the car and he sat on my lap on the ride home.  As he snuggled into me he became familiar with my scent and sound.

The puppy Crowley.

What really sealed the deal though, was when we were about halfway home, he peed on me.

One of the most important things you can do for a puppy is to socialize them with both humans and dogs.  And with a pupper roughly the tonnage of a water buffalo, the only thing about him I want to be scary is size.

But of course, Mom proposes and dog disposes.

He is extremely protective of me.  If I were a teenager on a date and he was my dad, he’d be waiting for me on the porch with a shotgun.  He always positions himself between me and anything or anyone unfamiliar. 

Crowley is also a little skittish.  He may be my bodyguard, but if a school bus, dump truck, or a UPS truck approaches, I’m on my own.  He jumps behind me so that I am between him and the big scary thing.

Taken together, this makes him very choosy about his friends. 

His list may be short, but once you’re in, you’re in for life.  And the chosen are not just liked, they’re adored.  He knows where each buddy lives and walks right up to their front door and stands aside so I can ring their doorbell to see if they can come out and play.


With a couple, he usually becomes friends with the male first.  But it takes time and persistence until Crowley shares his heart.

Once the guy puts in the work to make friends, Crowley grandfathers the feminine half of the couple in.  Once you’re in the “Crowley loves me club”, you get a plus one.

It’s like my dog’s a country club, or destination wedding. 

Thanks for your time.

Contact debbie at

The Forest, In Early Evening

crowley snow

Look at my big, brave boy.

Ever since our dog, Crowley screwed his courage to the sticking place and crossed a creek the very first time, he’s become a true-blue creek-crossing convert.  He used to be nervous to walk through a ditch after a rain.Snow WalkerZ Walkers Winter Day Walking Walk Jungle Man Dog Walker HD Wallpapers 1080pNow we walk for hours and hours crossing and re-crossing the creek at various points and never cover the same ground twice.  In the years I’ve been going back there I’ve probably walked close to 300 miles, and even now I still stumble upon places that I’ve never been.Last January Crowley and I were having one of those extended constitutionals.  The afternoon was slowly transitioning to evening, and we were just about to cross the creek once more.

As I started down the bank, I walked past a bush, and one of its twigs brushed my face.  I reached up to push some hair back that had fallen into my eye.  It was then I noticed my glasses weren’t on my face.I began to panic but thought that surely if my glasses had fallen off, I would have noticed.  Without my specs, I’m blind as a bat wearing shades in a dimly lit room.  I must have come out without them.  I’m not blind and an amnesiac as well.

Where are my glasses, and how did I get on a bus?


Then I remembered scrolling through the music on my MP3 player in the front yard.  So, I glanced down at the screen.  If I could read it then I told myself I had left my glasses at home.  If I couldn’t, then I was in deep trouble…

I was in deep trouble.fog, foggy, forest, forest path, nature, scary wallpaper and backgroundIt would be dark within twenty minutes or so; I needed to find them quick.  As dim as chances of finding them were, I could only retrace my steps and hope for the best.  I urged my canine companion to, “Find Mommy’s glasses, boy!”

We were in an area where I didn’t go very often when Crowley saw, heard, or imagined something, and took off at the same time my hold on the 25-foot expandable leash was less than secure.  It flew from my grasp, and the plastic handle bumped along behind my galloping pup.  He was quickly out of sight.So, there I was, in the middle of the rapidly darkening forest, bereft of both dog and sight.  It was shaping up to be a banner day.  I did not want to return home and reveal the depressing situation to Petey.  I briefly, but seriously considered making my home out there among the trees, or possibly taking up work as a troll, and living under a nearby bridge.

But just then I heard the jingle of the tag on Crowley’s collar.  I rounded a shrub and saw him ahead, sitting and calmly watching me.  The leash had gotten caught up, and it and his forward progress had been halted.crowley snowfaceThe handle had gotten caught on a sapling, but just.  One gentle tug from the dog and it and he would have been free.

I reached down to grab it before he took off again, and unbelievably, not three feet away, sitting there as if I had set them down myself, were MY GLASSES.

I was shocked and incredulous.  By all rights I should never have found them in what is approximately 60 square acres of heavy woods, but there they were.This just proves, once again, that my woods are magic, and only good things can happen back there.

But just in case my usual, less than awesome luck shows up and the magic departs, I’m keeping that troll under the bridge thing in my back pocket.Thanks for your time.