Cooper makes a friend

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While we are chatting, a 10 week old Bernese Mountain Dog puppy comes running over. Cooper is great, he is tolerant with this rambunctious, playful pup.

“Immediately start the training process. Obviously I am a bit biased, but I highly recommend positive reinforcement. Because having a dog, particularly when you get it as a puppy, is a very long term commitment. One of the things I always say is that if Cooper lives until his full life expectancy, and knock-on-wood that he does, then I will be 40!

“If you think of everything that happens between your late 20s and the time your 40 that’s a key time period of your life and you need to make the investment early on so that you have a happy, healthy, well behaved dog.”

Small dog has big impact

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“His name is Philly, short for Felipe. I named him Philly because my favourite football team is the Philadelphia Eagles. He is three and a half years old and he’s a rescue.

“It’s amazing. It’s a real responsibility… a little stepping stone to having children. It gives us a purpose. If we’re going out for a walk…it’s an outing for the family.”

Zoey herds Bison

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“I always have my dogs with me. This is Zoey, she’s my 4 month old Cattle Dog and this is Bison, he’s a little under a year and he’s a Staffy (Staffordshire Terrier). She’s so mean to him…Zoey! Get off of him!

“They are the biggest friends! She is relentless. She nibbles on his ears, his tail… he’ll be sleeping and she’ll wake him up. He has all the patience in the world. I try to do a lot to keep her entertained! She is a handful. We joke that Bison is her own personal calf and that she spends all her time herding him!

“Seattle is very dog friendly. I ride the bus with them every day, all day. I take them in stores. I take them everywhere.

“Having a dog makes me responsible. I’m responsible for myself and them. It makes me be a better person. If I have to make sure they eat, then I have to make sure I eat at the same time. It just makes me stay on top of things.”

Ivan the Great

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“I found him one night after we were dove shooting. He was in the ditch and he was only 8 inches long at the time.

“He warns me 30 minutes before I’m about to have a seizure…He knows when my glucose has dropped. He showed an aptitude for alerting me, so we sent him off to school to be trained what to do.

“Ivan allows me to live medication free.”

Shasta outside Toast Café

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“Shasta is a five month old Australian Cattle Dog. I took her to SF Puppy Prep for puppies between 8 and 18 weeks. That’s in San Francisco where I live. He (pointing at the older of the two dogs), was raised with more of the dominance model… getting a whack on the nose. I want Shasta to be more comfortable and relaxed.

“…It’s been good information about my relationship, you know? (laughter). I was actually just talking to a woman in a dog park, yesterday, as we passed through Seattle. She was saying she and her husband got divorced right after they got their dog… they had really different styles too. That wasn’t why they got divorced, but it kind of highlighted that as well.  He’s more of a kind of tough love and then I want to do positive reinforcement. It takes a lot longer, but it seems to get results.”