“We searched rescue dogs for a furry family member,” said Pasquale’s wife, Debbie. “None spoke to us until we found a female English Pointer puppy. We wanted her to have an English name. Prince William’s sister-in-law’s name is Pipa, which is the nickname for Piper, and it fit our pup. Piper means ‘flute player.’ She is a happy-sweet dog with a gentle soul. She may not be musical but she makes our hearts sing.
“English Pointers come in many colors: Orange with white coats and orange markings, black noses and black eye liner around their eyes. Lemon Pointers have pink noses and pink skin around their eyes. The breed also comes in either black and white or liver and white. Very few Pointers are one solid color. Their breed is not common, so strangers often stop us, just like Mary Ellen ‘Angel Scribe’ did, enquiring about our calm and relaxed dog.”
“Piper does not like walking in the rain,” said Pasquale. “She has two raincoats: a yellow one for spring and a warm navy and green plaid for winter. Oddly, she loves snow! She goes wild jumping in it like a child. When I toss a snowball she runs after it, but she can’t ever find it!”
Pasquale explained that Piper has taken the famous Pointer stance since she was eight weeks old, when she saw her first bird. She runs like the wind, almost Greyhound like, and has an amazing nose for scent. Like a Beagle, Pasquale said Piper practically drags her nose on the ground during walks.
“In the beginning, she had no clue,” he said. “I would toss a stick and she would run in ever-increasing circles around me, often in the wrong direction, while I encouraged her go find it. Her circling would widen to 20 or 30 feet until she zeroed in on the exact stick — in amongst many others — on the beach. It was amazing to watch. Then she took it one step further.”
During their hikes, Pasquale would toss a stick. Then, on the return trip, Piper would go to that exact same spot and encourage him to toss the stick again. “But it did not stop there,” he said. “Piper’s memory is so good that she remembered the spot of each toss location from previous walks and would go to the spot, coaching me to toss another stick.”
Pasquale added that Piper is aware of other dogs’ intentions. “She must read either their minds, facial expressions or tail language,” he said. “If a dog looks dicey, she stays away from them. But if it is friendly, she greets them with enthusiasm.”
But as sweet as Piper is, Pasquale jokingly said he and Debbie occasionally question their companion’s intelligence.
“She enjoys our morning and afternoon walks up the mountain trail,” he said. “But the time we came across a bear, she trotted over to it as if it was a big friendly dog to play with. The bear must have recognized her intentions and was not aggressive. But, in a panic, I called her back and to our relief the bear ran off.”
Piper does the funniest thing with her three-foot bed pillow, said Pasquale, who added that they refuse to buy a bigger bed despite Piper’s antics: She drags her bed from room to room, and a smaller one saves her from knocking over more things.
“She wants to be with us, so she drags her bed under the table at dinner and then out to the living room to watch TV with us,” Pasquale explained. In fact, Piper dragged it into the den during the interview for this column.
Piper’s other fun habit is announcing the mail delivery each day. Or maybe she’s just welcoming the postal worker who gives her a cookie?
“Piper keeps us healthy by taking us for walks, is full of love, good company and completes our family,” said Pasquale.
“A tired dog is a well-behaved dog,” said Debbie. “Piper is exercised every day, whatever the weather. She likes to chew, so she has a good selection of toys, which means she doesn’t chew on things she shouldn’t.”
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