Just me and my dog

Keo as a junior puppy at a dog show, wondering why we are up so early.

I have been part of the dog fancy for over 30 years. My first husband bought me a dog to ‘keep me company’ (in hindsight, that was the beginning of the end). I bought a golden retriever. She was wonderful. I decided to obedience train her and had an instructor who said, “You have a great working dog. Have you considered competing with her?”

Well…that’s all it took. I started obedience, tracking, and rally obedience with her. I then got another golden who was show quality and got into conformation. After goldens, I got into flat-coated retrievers for 22 years. I love that breed, and bred three litters under my own kennel name. I had the #1 flat-coat in Canada in 1999. I think of that dog everyday. He was amazing. I only wish I’d known then what I know now – he and I would have gone even farther.

Fast forward 20 years, and a couple of breeds later, and here I am with Keo. He is my fourth rottweiler. I got into rotties because a very good friend had one I absolutely loved. I told her, “If Ben ever sires a litter, I want a son.” Well, Ben only had one litter and it was all daughters. I was fortunate to get a Ben grandson, Kona.

After having flat-coats, who are an active, inquisitive, extremely intelligent breed – I had a dog whose entire life attitude could be summed up as “meh”. Kona never got too excited about anything. He was a wonderful dog. He helped a few friends get over their fear of rotties because he was so easy-going. He wasn’t the greatest show dog because he just didn’t care. He did it because he loved me, not because he loved showing. He became obsessed with staring at shadows, and would sit through entire movies if animals were involved. Any time anyone pulled out an iPhone or iPad, he’d bump their arms because he wanted YouTube videos of puppies and/or babies.

Makani and Quinn were two other rotties who have shared a life with me. Now, I have Keo.

Keo has a flat-coat intelligence in a rottie body. He is smart, inquisitive, self-amusing, and absolutely loves everyone he meets, especially children. He’s not always an easy dog to live with because he likes to entertain himself, but I love that in a dog. He keeps me entertained.

Keo loves to show. He gets in the show ring and he demands the judge look at him. He’s got “presence”. When I bought him, I knew he’d be my last show dog. I started my show career with a great dog in Riker, and I wanted to end it with Keo.

Imagine my disappointment when, at the age of 2, I get his health clearances done and find he has degenerative joint disease in his elbows. He shouldn’t be used for breeding. So, I had him neutered.

COVID put an end to his show career in 2020. He only needed 3 more points to become a Canadian champion. There was no reason to get the title if he can’t be bred.

I was SO worried he would not adapt to condo living. I’d contacted his breeders and asked them to start finding a home for him. Then, I found this place that allows large dogs. My unit has a walking path behind it. I was concerned he’d bark at everyone and everything on the path. I’d bought a special training collar to use in case it was needed.

Nope. He has adjusted just fine. Sure, he barks at a few – maybe one out of every dozen. There is something about some dogs he just doesn’t like. Fair enough. For the most part, he likes to sit on the backyard deck and watch the world go by.

I’m so happy he’s doing well. I love this dog. It’d break my heart to rehome him, but I’d do what was best for him. Turns out, staying with me is best. He and I have been, and will always be, “Team Keo”. He may no longer be a conformation dog, but we can still compete in obedience, tracking, scent trials, and so much more. With COVID still rampant in my area, we will start with Trick Dog titles we can work on at home.

Just as Riker and I ended up on our own so many years ago, here I am with Keo. It’s just him and me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.