Life on rural Prince Edward Island in the mid twentieth century, revolved around the farm and the fishery. Farming at that time was not industrialized as it is today. Horses plowed the fields and many were used for transportation in the local area. Livestock provided part of the family income as well as a food source. Therefore, keeping the animals healthy was of paramount importance.
In his book Mud, Sweat and Tears, island veterinarian, Bud Ings, recounts his life as a vet in eastern PEI. At that time, his practice involved farm animals, their health and safety through the life cycle. However, by the late nnineteen sixties, it was changing, as people acquired pets and had money to care for them. Now, among the many vets on this island, the number specializing in farm animals is reduced as pet care takes the forefront of many practices.
Every time we walk the boardwalk by the bay, we meet some of these pets accompanied by their humans. These dogs are pampered pooches, providing companionship, love and entertainment to their owners. While some may question the fascination others have with their four legged friends, these people know the importance of their pets in their lives and proudly speak of them when queried.
Curiosity about the dogs has led to some interesting conversations for my husband, Rick and I as we meet people on the trail. Here are some of the treasured pooches we met this past winter.
Bella was a ten month old golden retriever. She replaced a previous pet which died but she, too, has found her way into her owners' hearts.
Lady Di was an eleven year old schnauzer, the fourth such dog the family has had and she is excellent with children. Her eighty-five year old owner walks her twice a day.
Dylan, the golden doodle, was six years old. Her owners previously had a golden retriever which shed a great deal of fur. Dylan does not shed, incredible considering the long thick fur on this gorgeous animal.
Sky and Rye were eighteen month old, red coloured golden retrievers, so there is twice the fur in their home. The dogs were impeccably groomed and accompanied by their young owner.
Annie was an eleven year old cinnamon golden retriever. She was losing her hair until the vet diagnosed her with thyroid problems. Medication has resolved the issue. Annie enjoys the people more than the dogs she meets on the trail.
Roxi was a four year old black golden doodle. She loves walking the trail.
Charlie was a ten week old chocolate lab whose fur looked like velvet. He joined his family the previous week and they were still learning about each other. Charlie was anxious to keep going rather than stop to chat.
Myla was a two year old Alaskan malamute, a breed of sled dog. This beautiful dog was focussed on the squirrels in the woods just beneath the boardwalk. The owners had taken Myla to a golf course where they had her pull a sled around the course and she loved it.
The boardwalk would not be the same without the parade of gorgeous pets and owners who frequent the area.