PMC Employee Pet Spotlight – Wookie Giesbrecht
As a self professed cat person, I had always loved dogs but I never formed a bond with a dog. People go through life believing their next dog will be like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin and truly at some point most pet owners come to realize that while their dogs aren’t child saving super stars, they’re still a vital member of the family. Growing up, my parents spoiled me with animals. A nanny Rottweiler for when I was born, Chow Chows with their natural inclination towards the grumpy, cats upon cats, stray cats, Siamese cats, calico’s. Much to my father’s chagrin (and to the delight of my mother and I) our house was filled with animals, but all the dogs remained steadfastly loyal to my parents. They loved me of course, but it was my parents they followed and fawned over. The cats cheerfully stayed with me and in our solitude we napped and read and became independent sassy felines together. I was cheerfully ignorant of the bond that can form between a human and their hound.
I must confess, I’m about to brag, but my dog is perfect. I was twenty-three when I finally found the dog (or my parents found him I should say) of my childhood dreams. He’s not a dog that grew up with me and raised me as his own, covering me with kisses anytime I cried and pulling me around in wagons. A dog befitting an adult, one not prone to outbursts and over affection. A dog for dark walks, for late night papers and the insomnia that invariably attacks those adults afflicted with thoughts and ideas well into the night. My car would be covered in “My Dog is Smarter/Better/More Perfect than yours” bumper stickers if only I could stand the clutter because like all other dog owners, I am ardently positive my dog is better than anyone’s dog.
His name is Wookie. Wookie Wookie Wookie. If you say it too many times the word loses all meaning except to the one who says it like a prayer and the one who responds to it. As though the very word causes marionette strings to contract and the dog is sprung to life. We originally named him Justus for a week but hours into his new name it was evident Justus, a name befitting a paladin or Cleric in a dungeons and dragons game, would not be the appropriate name for this dog. A hound from Hell is more fitting. He’s not light and fluffy. As befitting his breed (Queensland) his personality has given way to a serious intensity that shines through in everything he does and I kind of like that, being a somewhat serious person myself. If there‘s ever a good companion for quietly reading it‘s a lap cat or a dog who has no problem being quiet and still.
He does not waste kind kisses and thoughts upon those who he isn’t intimately acquainted with and that’s pretty much everyone. He has a look in his eye that all trained animal specialists recognize as a wary look, a look that requires muzzles and more than one person to restrain. At Pet Medical Center, Wookie is the dog you want to like you. If Wookie lets you touch him, congratulations you’re in the club., don’t touch his butt and you can stay for as long as you like. And it’s not that he’s an aggressive dog, he goes to daycare. He plays quite fantastically and his jumps and leaps are something out of an elaborate dog ballet, he just doesn’t want you to touch him and there’s something about that unwillingness to please everyone that makes my heart very glad. So many people assume that dogs will do anything to please the humans around him and the fact that Wookie makes people work for his affection is something I admire.
Perhaps the greatest sign of loyalty and love is that Wookie chooses to follow me, he chooses to be my faithful sidekick, my evil shadow dog. I didn’t train him to follow me everywhere without any kind of lead. I can’t think of a time or place in which anyone in my family has ever trained a dog to be off leash., all of our animals are well adjusted to their leashes and collars. Wookie looks at leads with the most insulted of looks. As though placing a lead over his head is the most ruinous thing I could do for our relationship, but like a good dog he forgives me within seconds and will allow himself to be walked.
To be afforded that trust by a dog just based on his instincts alone and his choosing to be loyal and faithful to me is what binds me to him. I don’t mind that he’s a loner or that he hates his tail being touched (it’s a cute little nubbin). He’s not the most open of dogs or the most friendly but I couldn’t ask for a more perfect dog for me. I wish I could write a long flowing essay about the way he kills his soccer balls, eventually skinning them and playfully throwing them in the air to catch them and kill them again, like some land stalking killer whale playing with seals for food. The maniacal way he looks at you if he thinks you’re about to touch his feet. Believe me, this could be a much longer essay about my love for this dog who complements me so well, but I must digress. If anyone takes anything from this eulogy to the finest dog I’ve ever beheld, let it be that Wookie is the most perfect dog ever for me and I can only hope that everyone who wishes to have that connection with a dog will find exactly that in the most loyal friend they will ever have.