Amber Alert! A paw-fessional hat bark-ler

Pet Tips -N- Tales

Retired, Bob loves math. “I’ve been a math purr-fessor for about 150 years. I now teach it worldwide online and also teach counting to my dog, Gabby, and our friends’ dogs with ‘one-paw, two-paws, three-paws, four!’”

His other job is doggy-sitting Amber, Gabby’s cousin.

“It is a win-win-win,” said Bob. “The dog’s love each other’s company. Amber is not alone all day, and her doctor parents know she is in good hands.”

The friends met in a roundabout way. When his friend, Stan, went to adopt a golden retriever puppy, Bob volunteered to drive. Well, so he says! It’s more like he wanted to be immersed in puppy love. That’s when things took a sudden turn, and his and his wife, Jain, were added onto the waiting list for a future puppy.

Months later, on the same evening, two pregnant sister golden retrievers delivered 17 puppies. One of which was their angel, Gabriel.

When Bob and Jain learned that another couple in town had adopted Gabby’s cousin, Amber, they asked to be in touch with Amber’s family. The rest is fur-story.

I am not sure if Gabby’s cousin, Amber, is in the best of hands! After all, Bob trained her to be a hat thief. It all started so innocently...

“The dogs are a tag-team,” explained Bob. “Gabby is nuts about balls. She retrieves a tossed one but won’t give it to me. When I hold a second ball, she drops her first ball and chases the second. Amber learned that if she picked up the dropped ball and gave it back to me, she would get a treat. She lives for treats, so I always have a pocket full of treats."

Amber quickly realized that she gets extra treats when she handed Bob anything. One day, when he leaned over to pick up a ball, Gabby jumped up and grabbed his hat, either running away with it or dropping it in the creek or ocean. She would then let it float, or carry it around awhile before retrieving it and handing it in for a treat.

“Amber totally destroyed Bob’s first hat,“ said Amber’s human. “We searched worldwide and finally found a leather replacement in Australia. Hope this one lasts longer!”

I stood watching as Amber snatched Bob’s new hat off his head 12 times for a yummy treat. Finally, impatiently she stuck her nose in his pocket and polished off the treats. She looked like a dog wearing a surgical mask with only her brown eyes showing above the pocket.

Bob, a smart cookie, always has backup treats in several other pockets for bribing emergencies.

Annually, Amber and Gabby attend the birthday party at Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver, Canada, for them and their 15 birthday buddies on May 10. Many of the dogs, who will be seven this year, have to be driven long distances to attend. Not one word of complaint as they bounce out of their vehicles onto the beach barking and reuniting with look-alike siblings and cousins.

After the beach party, the families drive to Bob and Jain’s home to play on Gabby’s agility course.

Gabby loves Amber’s human family; and when they arrive to pick Amber up from doggy play care, Gabby recognizes their car’s sound. She runs to her toy box and carries a favorite toy to the front door to welcome her guests ... and for a treat.  She is a great hostess and welcomes everyone — even repairmen — this way. News Alert! Now Amber is copying her cousin because as you know... she just loves treats!


Rewarding your pet with treats bonds you to your dog and helps teach them.

“The dogs play chase exercising each other in our big back yard,” said Bob. “One carries a toy outside, then they each hold onto it and wrestle in a tug a war. Then they play tag running up the swing set's slide, then slide down it.  Our grandchildren puppy-play with the dogs. They giggle, riding their electric car with the dogs doing what dogs do, running after the little car. Family memories with pets are priceless!”

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