Thoughts on Walking with a Purebred Dog

Today is May 1, (Inter)National Purebred Dog Day, so I’ve switched up the Monday and Thursday posts. Monday’s usual photo post will still appear, but on Thursday instead. Last year I talked about choosing a breeder, but this year I’m waxing nostalgic so I’d like to just ramble about my experience walking a purebred dog, particularly a semi-rare breed.

An interesting thing happens when you step outside with your purebred dog. You are instantly part of a little social circle. People who don’t understand mistake it as being like an antiquated elite club, but that’s neither accurate nor fair. It’s more like something people can instantly recognize as a shared interest, something they have in common. Something that two strangers from completely different backgrounds can connect and talk over. I’ve had entire conversations with people over the years that I never would have even spoken to had it not been for Suki.

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I once called out the window of my car to a man walking a Schipperke, frantically gesturing at Suki while saying, “I have one too!” He then was also very excited about that so J and I piled out of the car just to let our Schips meet and talk about the breed.

Another man was absolutely enamored with Suki because she reminded him of the Schipperke he used to own many years ago. He told me how in the morning they would let her out, then she would make her way down to beach where she would find boaters that would pick her up and take her sailing with them. He said he would go to the beach sometimes and see her way offshore at the bow of someone’s boat. She would do this all day, hitching rides with people, then as the sun started to set the boaters would drop her off and she would make her way home for dinner.

Some of the stories are shorter. Like last weekend in Vancouver when two people stopped to tell me that they used to own Schipperkes, and how much they loved those dogs. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed in the huge mall so we didn’t have a long conversation, but it’s still a case of two complete strangers in a big city connecting over a dog.

Some of the stories are only endearing to me. I had a woman approach me to tell me about her friend’s two horrible Schips that ate the wallpaper. I laughed. I’m not sorry. Considering her friend had not one, but two Schips I’m confident she would have laughed about it with me.

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I had man cross a beach just to meet Suki and tell me about his friend’s Schip that he adored and would take mountain biking. This little dog had left a huge impression on him even years after she was gone. Seeing Suki took him back to those memories and made his day.

At a fair a woman at a booth excitedly recognized Suki. She had no idea what breed Suki was, but instantly recognized her as being one of the dogs from her childhood. She told me about how she had grown up in Belgium pre-WWII, that her and her siblings would swim out in the canals to jump off barges, and would be chased by little dogs just like Suki. She hadn’t seen one of those dogs since her family fled to Canada to escape the war. Seeing Suki took her back to those fond memories of her childhood.

These are all stories that are precious to me for different reasons, and I never would have heard them if I didn’t have Suki with me. Purebred dogs bring people together, and that’s just another one of the reasons that-

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3 responses to “Thoughts on Walking with a Purebred Dog

  1. I was introduced to purebred dogs when I first met my husband some 48 years ago and I first met Tippy, his wirehaired fox terrier, who very quickly learned that she owned me as well. I currently have 2 mini schnauzers and a very naught wirehaired fox terrier who are my wonderful companions. People usually have no idea what breed my WFT is but those who do, well they have the wonderful reaction that you have described. Enjoyed reading your blog.

  2. I have to admit, I am one of those that flag down a car or drive up to an elderly woman walking her schip and say “I have one too”. I have to admit I’ve made many friends and my life is changed since I got a schipperke. And all for the best.

  3. I got goosebumps from the story of the Belgian woman. Wow. Thank you for sharing!

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