The first time we noticed Bear he was near the tennis courts at Low Gap Park. We didn't pay much attention at first, the weather was good and we thought he belonged at one of the nearby houses or with a park regular. But after a few weeks passed, it was becoming obvious that he was either lost or abandoned, but either way a stray on his own.
Trish began making attempts to get his attention, but he would scurry off, even when offered food or doggie treats. Other people left water bowls for him and we spoke to people who had tried to befriend him. Later, we learned that on several occassions the County Animal Care Officers had even been to the park to try and catch him. But no one who tried had any luck bringing him in.
In January several storms slammed the north coast with bitter cold, very wet, high wind weather. We think it was too much, he had probably had enough, was tired of it and decided it might be time to find real shelter. It was a particularly dark, stormy morning he came close to us as we were walking into the park. He allowed Trish to scratch his head and followed her along a bit and, well, that was it. Trish was hooked. A few hours later Bear made his decision about Trish and jumped into the back of her Jeep all by himself. That was January 24th, 2010 and he's been with us ever since.
After getting him dried off and settled in, we got him to the vet for vaccinations and tests; all ok. He weighed in at a bit over 60 pounds but seems to be in good health. Anderson Valley Animal Rescue paid for his neuter, chip and heartworm test and we appreciate their generosity!
His coat was a mess. He has long hair with a thick undercoat. We had to cut out a lot of tangled hair in his tail and spend hours brushing him. But he was in good shape in no time.
Life with the cats has been interesting. He has been very patient with them, especially when he first came home and we had Skittles who was blind and deaf. He wants want to play with them, especially Subway. Of course, the cats want no part of it.
At first we converted a tool shed into a dog house, but now he's inside pretty much all the time. He has a bunch of toys to choose from and gets regular treats. He gets at least two walks every day. And we take him disc golfing with us up at Low Gap Park on weekends.
Something of an animal celebrity, Bear is still often recognized by people who saw him at the park. He was also the subject of an article in the "Sunday Voices" section of the local paper in March of '10, titled "Just Another Dog Story".
He's up to 70 pounds now and is a very happy dog. He loves trips in the car, visits with his grandpa, and especially going to the park to play! We're so glad he's a part of the family!