JANUARY 1, 2015: A SPECIAL DOGS IN CARS TRIBUTE TO A COUPLE OF FURRY TRAVELING ROAD BUDDIES

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Dogs in Cars is one of the most popular sections of MSCC and it is a big hit with people who like dogs even more than cars.

 

One of the constants for us since 1997 has been a dog in the car.

 

We have been part-time custodians of my brother’s family dogs Pongo and Flash since the late 90s whenever he and his family were away from home.

 

The experience has always been great for us because dogs are great company on the road.

 

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The two dogs loved the motion, sights and sounds of a road trip, although the smaller dog Pongo was a handful during his first few years in a car.

 

Pongo passed away in 2013 after a long happy life with many road trips and we were down to one furry road buddy with Flash.

 

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Unfortunately, Flash passed away this past Christmas Eve when the vet discovered he had terminal lung cancer.

 

This will be a different year in 2015 without either of the two dogs riding shotgun in the car, but we are glad we got to spend so much time on the road with two of the great ones from our personal canine world.

 

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The following is a tribute I wrote for the local daily newspaper where I have been a contributor since 1985:

HE WAS NO FLASH IN THE PAN

 

“Dogs bring out the best in us. The relationship between dogs and people extends back at least 11,000 years with the domestication of a European wolf, according to most theorists.

 

That first moment was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between canines and humans because dogs truly connect with people in the best possible way.

 

Last year I wrote a tribute column about my brother’s family dog Pongo, but I did not mention his family had another dog named Flash. Flash was a border collie with rumors of other dog breeds in his genealogical mix. He was bright and fast, consequently the name Flash was a very accurate name.

 

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I first encountered Flash as a young adult dog after his arrival from BC about 10 years ago. He was left with us, along with Pongo, when my brother and his family headed out for a summer vacation. I had no idea what to expect from a lively dog with loads of energy, but I quickly learned Flash was a gentle, very likable mutt who loved people.

 

We went for plenty of hikes because a border collie needs plenty of exercise. He hated leashes so I let him run, even in the city, usually on back alley tours. One morning I walked him right into a back alley police blockade and he sprinted over to a police car, despite my best efforts to call him back.

 

Flash was generally obedient, except for people, cats and jack rabbits. He liked one out of the three and ran like a crazed canine after the other two.

 

The RCMP member behind the wheel summed it up on the radio; “yeah, it’s quiet here except for some guy who has no control over his dog.” That was Flash, he loved everyone and wanted to greet every person he met along the way.

 

Flash was kind of a furry contradiction. He had limitless energy, yet he was a laid back dog who rarely barked and typically showed his emotion with a wag that started at his tail and extended along his entire body. He also had his own vocalization for happy and excited displays that almost sounded like infant speech. Flash was trained not to jump on people, so he would bounce up and down on his front legs when he was caught up in a moment of excitement.

 

The only times I saw Flash really angry was every time I walked him by a neighbor’s house and he reacted to a Rottweiller cross on the other side of the fence. The two dogs hated each other and finally settled their differences in the alley when the leashed Rotty broke loose from its owner and attacked Flash. However, Flash was a scrapper and had the Rotty pinned in about 30 seconds. I pulled him off the Rotty and passed along my regards to the dog’s owner in a more colorful verbal fashion than is allowed in print.

 

I loved hitting the road with Flash because he was a great traveler and enjoyed every moment of a car ride. In fact, the mere mention of a car ride or walk was an instant-on moment of unbridled excitement for Flash.

 

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A few weeks ago, my brother noticed that Flash did not want to go for a walk for the first time in his life and suddenly he was faced with a tough decision because he learned Flash had advanced terminal lung cancer.

 

I took Flash for one final tour the day before he passed away. It was obvious he was not well because he needed a little prompting to jump in my car, but he settled in nicely once we hit the road. We went for a car ride and I realized I needed that final moment more than Flash.

 

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Dogs bring out the best in people because they embody the best attributes of people. They are pure affection and loyalty wrapped up in a fur coat.

 

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You were a good dog Flash and I am glad you were smart enough to understand that concept when we all said it to you so many times over the years.

 

Jim Sutherland

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