It’s a dog’s life

Cuilean enjoying the fall leaves. Photo supplied.

There’s an old saying, “I’m suspicious of anyone who doesn’t like dogs, but I always trust a dog who doesn’t like a person.”

While the saying is hard to trace, the sentiment has always resonated with me. There’s a reason that they say dog “friendly” when describing places your furry partner is welcome. I get a sense of warmth when I enter a business that has a dog on the premises, or when I’m in public places where pooches are roaming free.

That might be one of the things I like most about Sun Peaks. It’s always been a place where there are more signs that welcome pets than not.

I’m not trying to sound biased, but I truly believe there are only two types of people, those who think dogs are the best, and those who are wrong. I mean, what’s not to love? If you’re having a bad day, will a cat notice and rest its head in your lap? Not a chance. But try to be in a bad mood around your dog; they just know. I got Cuilean (pronounced Cool-an) after returning home from a trip to Australia that was cut short by illness. I felt like I needed a boost, something to help me get my mind and body back into shape. He was the perfect fit, and from the time he came home we were a team. We were like Butch and Sundance or Han Solo and Chewbacca. I was his milk, he was my cookies. We shared a love of snow, water and playing outside.

Cuilean enjoying a treat. Photo supplied.

I knew I had a good one when I took him to Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, for the first time. I was out surfing and Cuilean was exploring the beach and making new friends. I lost sight of him, paddled in and frantically searched the beach, without luck. He couldn’t have been more than two years old at the time, all I could think was how bad of an owner I was to lose him. As I ran up the path toward the parking lot, I caught the eye of a couple headed to the beach, my worried look must have been obvious.

“Chocolate Lab?” they asked. “He’s sitting at the tailgate of your truck waiting for you.”
That was my guy, smart, independent and always loyal.

He was with me on my first date with the woman who would become my wife. Lora jokes that she fell in love with me because of Cuilean. She figured if I could train a dog, how messed up could I be? I haven’t been brave enough to ask if she regrets her decision.

Watching my dog become our dog was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced. Lora has always been a morning person so that was their time. She would walk him and let me ride the snooze button. Eventually, he was ours and we were his. He helped both of us through some hard times and was there for all the wonderful ones.

When I wander through the village at Sun Peaks, I don’t just see dogs and owners, I see families. I see companions, caregivers, joy makers. I think how wonderful it is that we live and work in a place where these creatures are welcomed and get to be part of the vacation.

Most of the hotels here welcome pets. They are welcome throughout the village and on some cross country and snowshoe trail trails There’s even a fantastic pet store in the heart of the village. I can’t imagine what the place would feel like without those wagging tails.

Last month we said goodbye to our guy; this winter we’ll miss watching him play in the deep snow. One thing is for sure, we’re going to see winter like he did, with joy. Just like another great saying, “If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you’ll have less joy but the same amount of snow.”

Cuilean with owners Ron and Lora. Photo supplied.

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