We first met Bobby in the spring of 1996 when my daughter Samantha and I adopted the three-year-old Samoyed from the Coquitlam SPCA. At that time, he was called Sparky. My friend Kim helped bring him home because she also had a Samoyed and knew more about what to expect from our boy than I did.
To impress on my husband and son what a fine specimen Sparky, soon to be known as Bobby, was, Kim and I gave him a bath, washing away the old, dirty, discarded dog to reveal a white-coated beauty. His hair glistened like snow, and his amazing teddy bear face seemed to carry a permanent smile.
While Sparky is a good name for some dogs, I couldn’t see myself using it for a magnificent creature like my Samoyed. I had looked at a sheep dog named Bobby at the SPCA about a month before, but was not sure my family’s allergies could tolerate the hair. The name stuck with me as a respectable choice for a dog-friend. That is how Bobby Boucher came into our lives.
Bobby loved having a new family to belong to. He also loved being clean. During subsequent baths, he would put his foot over the drain hole to keep the water in the tub, so he could soak a little longer. He preferred warm, steamy baths and, of course, one of the family to keep him company while he bathed.
When I decided to start my own dog walking business six years ago, it was Bobby and I working together that made it a reality. I started out with a human partner but the situation didn’t meet my needs. I was also ignoring my own dog too much, so decided to make Bobby a full partner. The two of us continued on with “Walkies Dog Walking Service by Cindy and Bobby.”
Bobby was a bit of a handful at first. He had so many “rules” for everything. In his opinion, there was a proper way for greeting other dogs and for peeing on a bush. When other dogs visited, there were also rules for who was allowed to sit where in the yard or kitchen. Any dog who crossed the rules by coming too close uninvited, or trying to sniff the same spot Bobby was sniffing, would be treated to a grumpy arf-bark. We had to augment some of the rules in order to run our business smoothly, but with a little guidance, we were soon walking with a pack of dogs and loving every minute of it. Bobby’s enthusiasm was relentless.
Bobby had the charm and looks of greatness. His snow-sparkling fur and smiling face always made an impression, and he delighted many a stranger on the street. He loved kids right from the start and would bark and wrestle with my son Charlie in the gentlest manner.
Three years ago, Bobby struggled with a mysterious illness and we feared we would lose him. His name became familiar at the vet’s office while we tried to find the reason for his condition. A beautiful, well-tempered, three-year-old female Samoyed became available at that time, and we adopted her. Her name was Maggie (formerly known as Noushka, but she didn’t like the name and wouldn’t respond to it). Maggie was full of energy and began helping out with the dog-walking business until Bobby was back on his feet again.
Just as we had almost given up hope for our boy, my husband Dan discovered the tip of a piece of wood emerging from a sore on Bobby’s backside. Upon pulling it out, he discovered it was a toothpick. At that moment, Bobby’s tail went up and his recovery started.
Bobby and Maggie became the best of friends and shared in the job of dog walking. It worked out well: Maggie would come with the younger dogs while Bobby reserved himself for older and slower groups. Sometimes, we’d all go out together, just for the fun of it.
Late last year, Bobby once again slowed down. He was only able to go for one or two walks and missed some weeks altogether. He had epileptic seizures that increased in frequency. Over Christmas, the family took turns carrying him downstairs to go out because he was having trouble with his hind legs. He refused every second or third meal and when he did eat, he often threw up. It was a difficult time for our Bobby, and for us. Soon, we realized, nature would take its course and he would die from one of his ailments. We decided it would be better to let him slip into a peaceful sleep than have him endure the pain and fear of a final seizure. So, in January, we took him to the vet one last time, and said goodbye to our beloved Bobby.
Wherever he journeys now, he’s free of the pain his body had recently imposed on him. Maggie and I continue our dog-walking business with his memory close to our hearts. Bobby is greatly missed – he gave and received a lot of love and had many human and canine friends. We’ll never forget the beautiful, white, fuzzy dog who always wore a bright smile.