A Dog Who Needs a Job
Sally D. Ketchum; Garden, Mich.
I wanted Tucker even before he was born. My friend Lori breeds Labrador Retrievers, and her dog, Blondie, was due to have puppies on my husband’s birthday. Lori said I could choose a puppy from the litter. We already owned and loved our two Lab mixes, Johann and Wolfgang (Wolfie), littermates we adopted from the humane society, but they were both 10 years old, and I thought a new life would add joy to the house.
We live close to a fishery in Fairport, a tiny rural fishing village on the shores of Lake Michigan. The commercial fishermen all have dogs, and the pack hangs out around the docks and buildings. As Tucker grew large, handsome and authoritative, he also grew into his official name, "Fairport’s Friar Tuck.” Gradually, he rose to become the alpha dog in the large pack. Tuck’s manner was both commanding and charming. When he arrived at the fishery in the morning, he stood at attention, letting the other dogs come to him to be sniffed and show their respect.
Tuck charmed all when he watched the large fishing crafts and the sports fishermen’s boats come and go. He sat patiently while fishermen readied their boats, but as the boats slid into the water, Tuck swam alongside, escorting them out of the docks until the water deepened. Then he returned and waited for the next boat.
One day, there was a fight among the dogs and a young Rottweiler was killed. As a result, I decided it was best to enclose Tuck within my 3-acre property, which had plenty of woods and shore for Tuck to roam.
At home, it became clear that Tuck needed to work; he was happiest doing a job. With the docks off-limits, 3-year-old Tuck switched careers. He became my companion dog (I have hearing loss and am recovering from shoulder and hip surgery), as well as the caregiver for our senior dogs.
Johann passed away at age 12, but 15-year-old Wolfie, now deaf and blind, is under the care of Tucker, his guardian. Tuck alerts us when Wolfie is at the door, as well as when the older dog becomes "stuck” and can’t remember how to get out from behind the couch or under my desk. When Wolfie wanders on the lawns and woods, Tuck rounds him up and leads him to the house.
We’ve had many dogs and cherished them all, but we are especially proud of Tucker – just as Tucker is proud of his work.
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