The Aussie Meets an...Aussie?

Over the past three years I've occasionally bumped into another trail runner at Tiger Mountain accompanied by two dogs who are about Finn's size.

Who wants a treat?

People have occasionally asked me if Finn is a duck toller (Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is the full breed name). I had to Google the breed the first time I was asked, as I didn't know what they were. I then realized that while he's similar in size and coat length/texture, his color is much darker and he's missing a tail - but I could see why the question was asked.

So the first time I saw this runner and his two dogs, who looked like miniature Goldens, getting into their car at the trail head, I thought to myself, "I wonder if those are duck tollers?" I approached him as only we dog lovers can approach other dog people - without introducing myself but going straight to the question at hand: "What sort of dogs are those?" 

He confirmed what I had suspected, that they were indeed duck tollers. I explained how I'd never heard of the breed until people asked if Finn was one. He acknowledged that they're a pretty rare breed on this coast. As I listened to him discuss his dogs, I enjoyed his accent. Australian, I thought.

I see The Aussie (as I have come to think of him) and his two duck tollers on the trails at Tiger every very months. We'll say hello and continue on our respective ways.

On this day, The Aussie, his girlfriend (I think that's who she is) and the duck tollers are standing at a trail intersection, as if undecided which way to go. I approach, saying as I always do, "It's the duck tollers!" The girlfriend has some treats and asks if she can give one to Finn. "Of course," I say, although Finn's planting his butt front and center is answer enough:

Who gets the first treat?
I ask if I can take a photo for my blog; everyone says sure. Because I'm wearing my contacts (for distance) I can't see clearly the screen on my iPhone. The Aussie volunteers to check and decides that you can't really see all three dogs clearly in my first shot and I should take some more. He then proceeds to give the dogs more treats. Finn is a little pushy:

The duck tollers, much better behaved, wait their turn:

Everyone gets their treat and is happy. The Aussie checks my phone and verifies the photos are focused. Finn and I head on our way.

I did learn the names of the dogs when I heard The Aussie refer to one of them as Bubba. I laughed at the name, and the Aussie explained that their real names are Sophie and Tess; Sissy and Bubba are their nicknames.

I still don't know The Aussie's name, or that of his girlfriend. Isn't that always the way? We dog people focus in on the dogs and their names, and rarely think to ask - let alone remember - the names of the people.

Rebecca WallickComment