Gone to the dogs

By Vern McClelland

June 7, 2018 10:04 AM

File Photo

Only once in my life have I been bitten by a dog and it was while showing a house in Lloydminster.
I opened the door using the key from the lockbox and when I stepped in, a little foot high fluff ball came flying off the upper stairs of the bilevel, nipped me in the leg, and disappeared into the basement, not to be seen again.
It happened without warning and so fast, I am not sure I could have prevented it.
However, if you see me carrying a leather binder know that it serves two purposes; one to take notes, the other to act as a barrier when needed.
Almost always, I can talk with dogs using a steady, non-threatening voice, and not have them become alarmed.
But we do see some disconcerting situations, particularly in tenant occupied properties.
Just last week my business partner had to abort a house showing because of two unrestrained large dogs who were so alarmed at his presence he thought they would break the front window.
The tenant had been given the customary 24-hour notice but apparently decided to leave a welcoming party behind.
The absentee owner was definitely not impressed when I told her the client he was with made an offer on another house the same night.
I guess we will never know if the dogs had prevented a sale, but we certainly cannot sell what we can’t show.
The closest I have come to being scared for my safety was an early winter day I was walking around an acreage to provide a valuation to the lawyer mediating a relationship breakdown, when around the corner a large husky cross dog came at me on the full run.
His deep growls were cut short when he hit the end of the chain tethered to the gas meter; thank goodness as I don’t think my binder would have stalled him long.
Not only did he not like my intrusion on his turf, he was protecting a deer carcass thrown there by the owner.
These days dogs are treated as members of the family and many times, may determine the behaviour of their human “parents,” which by the way is a term I personally dislike.
I don’t know how many times I have had mature adults turn down the only available condominium which would meet their needs because the homeowner association didn’t allow pets.
Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs.
We currently have three between the two households here on the farm.
The oldest is a Sheltie in her 13 year!
Tia has always slept outside, has been a steadfast companion to my wife, going for daily walks with her, chasing the barn cats away from the house yard, and generally, holding down the fort.
We know her days are limited but she still strives to supervise outside activities, moving from yard to yard watching her mistress on the riding lawn mower.
The other two are red heelers, bred to work cattle; one is six years old, the other still a puppy.
There are days when these two girls together equal the worth of a hired person.
They particularly love to ensure fence crawling calves or yearlings return to the appropriate pasture in a timely fashion!
Scott and I can separate a hundred cow/calf pairs quite quickly in the back pens due to the oldest one positioning herself halfway between us, serving to repeatedly move a sorted smaller group from him to me saving us hundreds of steps.
It was her predecessor though who gave our family the ultimate gift.
She woke her master when smoke filled his modular home at 4 in the morning.
Together, they barely escaped with their lives when the house burned to the ground.
So, while the Realtor in me might get annoyed occasionally, I do appreciate the bond between humans and their dogs.
Just don’t call me a dog parent.

Vern McClelland is an associate broker with RE/MAX of Lloydminster. He can be reached at (780) 808-2700, through www.vernmcclelland.com or by following the Midwest Group Lloydminster on Facebook.

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