Oliver, boisterous young fellow with an energy surplus, and his queenly sister, the elderly Torpedo, seem to have a kind of unspoken deal. With an unlikely balance of power between the two, Torpedo — Pedo for short — who takes her own good time to do life, is definitely the boss in this household. Perhaps her senior status — with 16+ years under her fur — is the reason for her superior domestic position. Ollie happily acknowledges her special status, taking time to groom and adore his senior house-mate several times daily. Like royalty, she patiently bows her head to receive his attentions, never deigning to return the favour.
Neither the lumbering dog nor Aaron & I lacked exercise during our seven weeks with this pair, as we were never quite able to exhaust Ollie, despite several hours of daily walking and stick chasing (Ollie, that is). Anybody willing to guess his Heinz 57 background? Who would have guessed — no black lab and some dachshund in his DNA? Not me. (Especially since the last dachshund I spent time with was the biggest couch potato ever, when it came to walks or fetching! See Charlie Wells, Gentleman Dachshund for more on that subject.)
Crofton, a small mill community about 1 1/2 hours north of Victoria on Vancouver Island just off the coast of British Columbia, is situated on the ocean. It has much to offer the outdoor enthusiast in the way of hikes, water sports and a general wealth of natural beauty. For a refreshing cultural outing, a local pub offers jazz and eats on Sunday afternoons. Crofton also happens to be the jumping off point for ferry rides over to Salt Spring (about 20 minutes), a worthy gulf island exploration.
The Crofton boardwalk joins a longer path along the ocean front right in the town, a great on-leash walk to augment the more boisterous nature frolics. Just a short drive to Duncan, the bigger town boasts a fine Saturday market, a greater variety of shopping choices and numerous off leash dog walking areas. A dike running along the Cowichan River, right in the town of Duncan (below), is a fabulous spot for enjoying nature and friendly walkers, both two and four-legged. Ollie did most of his doggie socializing on these walks, always happy to trade sniffs. We had the privilege of watching First Nations fishers in the river along this pathway, and discovered that this (below) young man learned all his skills from his grandfather and continues to use the elder’s systems and tools. His only nod to modern life is his Neoprine hip waders.
Fisherman observes traditional spear fishing methods, learned from his grandfather.
Aaron, intrigued by the traditions of the past, enjoys an informative conversation with young man of the Cowichan tribe.
Below see our favourite ‘go-to’ walk, which took us along the Chemainus River near Crofton almost daily, ending at the river’s mouth on the ocean. We found ourselves there during spawning season, and considered it a bonus to witness this eternal cycle of salmon life — that is, until Ollie showed us how much he loved spawning season too. **Dog sitters’ tip: Bearing in mind environmental impact, a small pack of Handy Wipes in the car can avert a total spawning season disaster while transporting a dog. Of course a thorough bathing is another necessary step, before the creature is fit to enter the home.
A handsome pair, gazing out over the ocean at the Chemainus river mouth. A more affectionate and loyal dog than Ollie would be hard to find, as this sweet boy makes his way joyfully through life, leaning in to a ‘dog hug’ for every friendly face he encounters, with daily offerings to Pedo, as is her due. (… while Aaron’s displays of affection are a little more confined to known parties….)