Acquired: Worked with pet (didn’t own)
Posted September 12, 2015
I started walking Balto, an English Shepherd, when he was four years old at the time I started walking him. He was owned by one of my closest neighbours, and I'd always liked him even before I started walking him. He was always by the gate to his property when I came home from school in the afternoons, and I always stopped on my way to give his head a good scratch. The kindness he portrayed even then was what made me approach his owners about walking him, and luckily, they said yes.
I walked Balto three times a week for five years, and over the space of those years, we bonded significantly. Balto was a well-trained, kind and obedient dog who was an absolute delight to walk. He could walk without a leash and never stray from my side, though I did prefer to keep the leash on him when we were walking near traffic, just to be on the safe side. When we were in large fields or parks with no traffic danger, however, I let him run around freely. And he always, always came running the second I called his name.
In addition to walking him, I also spent quite a bit of time with him and his owners, and I must say, Balto was an exceptionally kind dog. His owners also had several cats, and Balto was as protective of them as he was of his humans, and he was completely calm and kind whenever he was around other dogs. He was also very quick to learn new tricks, and so very obedient.
Balto was a fantastic dog, and perfect for the environment and family he lived in (with two young children, and two teenagers, as well as several cats), but as it is with his breed, it was crucial that his independent, bossy streak of temperament was enforced by a strong leader, which he thankfully had in his adult owners. As long as these dogs are raised properly, they will turn out to be fantastic family dogs. Just keep in mind that they require quite a bit of exercise, and I'd recommend at least 45 minutes to an hour of walking at the very least each day. Trust me, it's going to be more than a little worth it.