“What sort of dog would you like?”

There were so many to choose from: small, medium and large dogs, short and long-haired dogs, quiet dogs and enthusiastically barking dogs. How do you decide?

“How about Diamond? She’s a nice dog and she behaves well on the leash. She will be a good start for you,” suggested Stephanie.

The Mae Bachur Animal Shelter provides care and a home for animals – mainly cats and dogs – waiting for adoption. They welcome volunteers in a number of capacities, including dog walkers.

It must be spring fever and the release from the restrictions of cabin fever and freezing temperatures that create this urge to get out and get more involved. The idea to volunteer “somehow” had been bouncing around for a while.

The idea landed at the Mae Bachur shelter. You can get out, get involved and take along a new friend … a most appreciative friend that will be more than happy to share their day with you.

Dog walkers are welcome to stop by any time during opening hours so it’s flexible enough to fit into anyone’s schedule.

“OK, come on Diamond. In the car!”

Diamond was a smooth black lab, a calm rider happy to stay on her side in the passenger seat during the drive to the park.

Walking along the path, Diamond turned back from time to time to double check that things were going along OK. The sun shone, the crocus bowed in the breeze and a few passing walkers stopped to pat Diamond on the head. This was a fine way to spend a lunch hour.

On my next visit, I felt more energetic and perhaps a little more relaxed. Stephanie introduced me to Grizzly Bear.

As his name implies, “Grizz” may be the largest dog currently in residence. Very fortunately, he is also friendly to the maximum and, in fact, just a bit goofy. The dog and I teamed up and set off. He fully occupied his one-quarter of the car.

“Excuse me, is this the way to Yukon College?” asked a young man with a knapsack, passing us on the path alongside Two Mile Hill. He bent to scratch Grizz behind an ear. “Nice dog.” By this point, Grizz had the leash between his teeth as if to let everyone know “I am actually taking myself for a walk.”

At least that’s what I thought. What Grizz was really doing with his leash between his teeth was chewing it in half. It took me a minute to realize that, in a way, he was taking himself for a walk since we were no longer physically connected.

He may be a bit of a clown, but he’s a clever one. Hopping back in the car without further ado, he returned home quite pleased with himself; but in need of some new equipment.

For further information on volunteering, dog wash and foster programs at Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, visit www.humanesocietyyukon.ca, phone them at 633-6019 or stop by 126 Tlingit Street (just off Copper Road).

PHOTO: RICK MASSIE massierick@hotmail.com