Street smarts

Between training and photographing dogs as well as the every day chance meeting of dogs I have met some amazing ones. Amazing to me can mean many different things but typically it means that this dog meeting has had an impact of some sort on me. I want to share the story of some of these amazing dogs with you.

The first one is a stand out for me, he is a strikingly handsome mix breed who has an aire of confidence about him. I was doing a shoot at the beach with a rare breed, the guardian of these dogs said she had a mix as well that she was going to bring for some beach fun. She had told me what the best guess of his mix was but as he stepped out of the car he looked to me like he had quite a few breeds mixed in there. Most obvious was his markings and height which were very much like a St. Bernard although he was smooth coated and much leaner and athletic looking.

It was a typical fun and relaxed shoot with the dogs having fun and me photographing the fun. As I watched this dog interact with others it was obvious to all the dogs on the beach that he had "top dog" status without being obvious about it. Several times dogs charged down the beach with a "I'm the boss of the beach" display. Some dogs would cringe in submission and others would challenge back with a dispute following. But when these displays came the way of our mixed boy he stood his ground, never flinched with a look on his face of sheer confidence. The beach challengers were immediately stopped in their tracks and redirected their furry.

It amazed me to see that this unruffled behavior was clear to all the other dogs instantly. And as we left the beach with another great shoot done a dog came from out of nowhere and attacked one of the rare breed dogs I had been shooting. In the blink of an eye the mixed breed companion of these dogs flew into action, grabbing and pinning the attacker to the ground. As we gathered the dogs and ourselves together he held this dog down. There was no fighting and no discussion he just did what was required.

On my drive home I was very upset about the end of the day incident but reflected on the remarkable behavior of this stately dog. He was definitely the strong, silent type. Later the guardian filled me in on this dog, he was a street dog found in LA. And at the time the guardian hadn't thought she needed a dog in her life but he ended up there and was truly sent when most needed. He always comes to mind when I think about all the great dogs I've met.

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