The Dog and Crow

Crow and Dog © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

Sounds like the perfect name for an English Pub. I like to think there is one somewhere, and that I’ll enjoy a pint there one day.

But for today it’s a just good title for my blog.

Geordie at New Brighton

A new dog is a lot of fun, but so much work. Not a single blog post has been written since the arrival of Geordie, except for the one I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how he got to us.

You may think the crows are being neglected. But fear not!

It’s true that I’ve had less time to take photographs of them, but all of the walkies I’ve been on lately have kept me well informed of their progress.

HANK AND VERA

Hank and Vera are our “resident” crows. During the rest of the year the other crow families (Eric and George’s) stop by, but during nesting season they get more territorial. Eric and family do occasionally swing by, but this causes mighty outrage on Hank and Vera’s part.

Vera and Hank, Crow Couple © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

Vera disappeared for a while, and only Hank came for food so I think they had a nest. But then Vera reappeared, and at the same time I saw part of a dead baby crow on the neighbour’s lawn, leading me to think that (like last spring) a racoon or cat spoiled their plans. Vera seems to have vanished again, so I think they might be giving it another try.

Hank Sore Foot © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

Of all the local crows, Hank is one I worry most about. He’s always had a limp, but his left foot and leg seem to be getting much worse. He often stands only on the other leg, and sometimes has a hard time making a landing.

Vera, on the other hand, has gone from the Cinderella crow of last spring, to Boudicea the Warrior Queen. Still a little smaller than the other crows, she makes up for it with sheer attitude. I think she, rather than Hank, is responsible for jealously guarding their territory from other crows.

Crow Photography Boadicea Vera - Spring 2016 © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

Boadicea Vera – Spring 2016

 

ERIC AND FAMILY

Eric’s clan claim the tall poplars on the west side of Notre Dame School at the east end of our block. Their challenge this year is the fact that the school finally cleaned out the rotting portables and tangle of blackberry bushes. While it does make the area a lot nicer looking from a human perspective, a lot of that “wasted” space was perfect for keeping crow fledglings out of sight of predators until they learned to fly.

Every time I walk by the school on “their” corner, Eric comes down to say hello.

Crow Crossing © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

Crow Portrait © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

I haven’t seen any young ones yet, but it seems that Eric, Clara and at least one of last year’s youngsters are busy. I’ll be listening out for the lovely quacky sound of baby crows any day now.

LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST – GEORGE

George in the Rain Crow Photography © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

Of all the neighbourhood crows, George has most enthusiastically adapted to our new dog walking schedule. Every single time I walk to the west side of the block, George is there.

I’m especially happy to see him as for weeks he seemed to have vanished. I was worried that his bad luck had gotten even worse. On the contrary though, he and Mabel seem to be doing just fine and George, broken beak and all, looks to be in the best of health.

Every single time Geordie and I get to “his” corner, George comes and lands on a fence right beside us. I always try to have a few peanuts on board for him — although he’s also pretty fond of dog treats. His beak doesn’t look as if it’s going to grow back any more, but it seems to be well healed and I’d say George is managing just fine.

Crow on Fence © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

And what does Geordie think of the crows?

Like many of the new things in Geordie’s life, his first crow sightings were cause for nervous fidgeting and fretting. Now, having seen hundreds of them in the last few weeks, and the same ones several times a day, they barely register on his doggy radar.

He does like to listen to whatever Vera is saying from the roof of the house while he’s relaxing in the garden.

© June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

Geordie tries his hand at interpreting “crow”.

Dreamy Dog © June Hunter 2016 www.junehunter.com

Geordie gets to the deeper meaning in Vera’s message.

Oh, and if anyone does know of a pub called The Dog and Crow, do let me know and I’ll put in on my bucket list.

logo with crow

www.junehunter.com

Gone To The Dogs

That Face

This week I was going write a blog post with an update on the nesting crows.

There were a lot of things I planned to do this week.

But everything has gone to the dogs. Well, THE dog.

Our house has been dogless for over two years, since Molly, the last of the brother and sister Labrador duo, died at the age of 15.

We’ve been thinking of getting a rescue pup for the last few months. Our daughter, Lily, introduced us to lots of fabulous rescue dogs through her volunteer work with Leash of Hope, so it just seemed the right way to go.

Leash of Hope is a wonderful charity that rescues unwanted dogs and trains them to be service dogs. You can read more about the amazing work here.

Leash Of Hope Group

Photo by Lily Ditchburn

Lily and I visited some local shelters, and tried local dog adoption agencies but we found that many small/medium dogs and puppies were quickly spoken for.

We began to spend hours looking at heart-breaking photos of puppies online. Most of them were in the US or abroad in what are known as “high kill” shelters. In Canada, dogs are generally kept in shelters until they’re adopted unless found to be too aggressive or too sick to be saved. But in the US, Mexico and other parts of the world, the sheer volume of unwanted dogs means that they have only a short time in a shelter before being moved to the “euthanize” list.

It was so tempting to just send for any of the lovely little faces we saw on these web sites, but I really wanted to meet the dog we were going to share a home with for (hopefully) 15 or more years before committing.

Also, there’s Edgar. Any new family member would have obviously have to pass the Edgar approval test.

edgar watching

Then, as I had a feeling it would, the very perfect dog just appeared.

About a month ago, a Leash of Hope trainer saw this photo online and brought the puppy to Vancouver from a shelter in LA.

Shelter photo

He had only a few days left there before running out of time, and they hoped he’d be a good candidate to be a service dog.

However, his traumatic early days in the shelter (and wherever he was before that) had left a mark. After being assessed while in foster care, it was determined that he was a just bit too nervous for life as an assistance dog. And so a home was needed.

First, there was the Edgar test. It helps that Edgar is one of the most relaxed cats in the world. He was very tolerant of the pup unless he went into “let’s play” mode. Edgar, first of all, gave him a hiss and a rapid-fire series of a slaps to the face (no claws) to express his disapproval. Message received. When the pup forgot the first lesson an hour or so later, Edgar only had to languidly raise a paw to refresh his memory.

Just to make sure, we had the pup over one more time. We decided he was definitely the dog for us. An intensive naming debate ensued. Suggestions were texted furiously back and forth between family members and collected on this white board. A final selection was made. Geordie was the unanimous choice.

Edgar makes sure to add his opinion to the puppy naming debate

Edgar makes sure to add his opinion to the puppy naming debate

For one of the best Mother’s Days ever, we brought him home for good.

While his shelter profile had him listed as a Lab, I don’t think there’s much, if any, labrador retriever in his make-up. Some border collie for sure and perhaps some spaniel ..?

Edgar Kisses Geordie

Everyone is thrilled with Geordie.

He’s a lovely dog and I’m sure he’s going to be the perfect family dog.

Geordie is a great new studio assistant.

Geordie is a great new studio assistant

Making himself at home in the studio

… although he does seem to sleep on the job quite a bit.

While some puppies are boundlessly optimistic and bold, Geordie seems like an old soul. He’s been through a lot in the four short months of his life, which tends to make him a bit pessimistic about anything new (particularly vans and crates). For now, he sleeps on the floor of our bedroom, rides in the car with a seatbelt harness, and gets a little bit more optimistic every day.

Geordie cu

Geordie and Edgar have already discovered a shared interest in bird watching.

Geordie and Edgar have already discovered a shared interest in bird watching.

logo with crow