Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Training: Puppy, Socializing, Obedience, Scent tracking
Posted November 15, 2017
Bear was the youngest and smallest of 11 puppies bred by some people who lived near us. A loving family, they did not have room for that many animals and Bear just wasn't thriving with all the competition. We took him a couple of weeks early and spoiled him with love, affection and formula. Bear quickly pulled a Clifford and outgrew every other pup in his litter, finally weighing in at a healthy 130 lbs. at maturity. In between, we discovered he was an avid guard dog, especially vigilant at saving us from other critters.
He was my constant companion in the garden and greenhouse. I often worked barefoot as my yard was finally attaining that park like perfection we all strive for. One day he gently leaned against my legs while I was potting up some tomatoes and then leaned down and grabbed a garden snake which he proceeded to shake vigorously, carrying it away from me rapidly so I would not be bitten. I went out to his run one morning when he was about 4 months old to find him in a duel with a very large young raven. After I managed to remove the bird, we called that one a draw. He rid us of a family of 6 opossum who dwelled under the front porch for a time, 2 marauding raccoons who tried to steal my berries one night and a whole slew of other predatory creatures which plague a garden. In addition, he became invaluable as a digging assistant, only putting his paws to excavations where we asked him to help. This was extremely helpful when it came time to divide bulbs in spring or fall.
Bear had one or two health issues, like an extreme allergy to fleas, but his overall health was sound and he wasn't plagued with hip dysplasia like many large animals we had loved in the past.
Bear was good with women and children but not as friendly with men. I did have one male friend whom he adored, and they played often. I trained Bear to do many things and he was eager to please and a very good working dog. He could run and fetch whichever person we needed on command and we worked to scent train him based on that talent.
Bear loved snow and steadfastly refused to come into the house, even when temperatures dipped below freezing. We solved that issue by building him a heated dog house which eh refused to use, so I created an open style wire mesh enclosure filled with leaf litter and grass with a good drainage slope and that was where he would sleep.
This animal is not an apartment-sitting showcase ornament but a real, serious working dog who will give his all if he feels needed and appreciated. By far the best animal I have ever had the pleasure of being friends with.