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Jennie Marsland

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Member Since: Mar, 2010

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Blogs by Jennie Marsland

Echo's Excellent Adventure
6/21/2010 4:55:44 AM
Blog post from jenniemarsland.blogspot.com

I think I aged at least two years yesterday.

Last Wednesday, we brought home a new addition to the family. We’ve had a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Chance, for eight years, and we love him dearly, so dearly that DH and I don’t ever want to be without a dog. So, we called Chance’s breeder a while ago and ended up with a beautiful little female, Echo, to keep our boy company.

For those of you who haven’t heard of them, Tollers – also known here as Little River Duck Dogs - are a native Nova Scotian breed, developed by Acadian settlers over 200 years ago. “Tolling” is a behaviour shown naturally by red foxes. At the edge of a marsh or lake, a fox will hide in tall grass while its mate plays on the shore, running back and forth and waving its white-tipped tail. For some bird-brained reason, this fascinates waterfowl. They swim in to shore to get a closer look, and if they get close enough, the hidden fox springs out and an unlucky duck becomes dinner for two. The Acadians bred dogs to imitate this behaviour, and to look foxlike – red coats, white markings and sharp faces. The smallest of the retriever breeds, Tollers are compact dynamos with endless energy and a lot of smarts. For hunting, they’re trained to lure the birds in for a shot and then retrieve the kill. We’ve never hunted, but we love the breed’s energy and personality.

This is Chance
and here’s Echo.
She’s two years old and full grown, but rather small for her breed standard, which is why the breeder decided to let her go.

I like this silhouette of the two of them. Just try to get two Tollers to stand still at the same time for anyting, let alone a picture!

Wouldn’t those names be good for a couple in a romance novel? Hmmm, the wheels are turning.

Echo fit into our household right away, and Saturday morning we headed for our family cottage. These dogs are bred for the water and Echo has had field training, so though we were concerned about letting her off-lead so soon, we couldn’t bear to keep her out of the lake. She had a wonderful time and made no attempt to run off, so Sunday morning I took her and Chance down to the water for another swim. Echo had been so good that I didn’t put her on lead for the short walk back to the cottage. We were almost there when she caught the scent of a deer and disappeared down a side path.

For three hours.

DH and I were devastated. We searched and called, but in spite of her field training, we couldn’t be sure she’d come to us even if she heard us. We’d only had her for 4 days. Our cottage is 10 km back in the woods, with no one around for miles. My imagination went into overdrive, picturing Echo alone and frightened, lost in the woods with coyotes on the prowl. While hubby searched on foot I jumped in the car and drove the roads, with no sign of her. Would she find her way out and try to make the dangerous 30-km trip along a busy highway back to the breeder’s? I knew I’d never forgive myself if we didn’t find her.

After several futile circles, I started back to the cottage, praying aloud. Before I reached our road I met hubby walking, with a broad grin on his face. Just after I left for my last circle, Echo had come trotting up to the cottage, very pleased with herself and ready for a rest and dinner. I simply went to pieces.

I suppose I overreacted a tad. She might look like a strong wind could blow her away, but this little girl is wiry and tough and bred for the woods. When she’d had her fill of exploring, she knew enough to follow her own scent back to where comfort and a meal would be waiting. But last night, when it started to thunder and rain and I lay in bed, knowing Echo was safe in her crate and not out in the woods in the dark, I said the most grateful prayer I’ve ever said in my life. It will be a while before that little minx gets off lead again.

She’s definitely grounded.


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More Blogs by Jennie Marsland
• Music is the food of love - Monday, February 14, 2011
• This Weird and Wonderful Language - Friday, January 21, 2011
• News Flash! - Thursday, January 13, 2011
• New Year's Musings - Monday, January 03, 2011
• McShannon's Heart Holiday Contest - Friday, December 17, 2010
• McShannon's Heart is Available! - Wednesday, December 15, 2010
• Dialogue and Layering and Stuff - Wednesday, October 27, 2010
• Folk Friday - Wild Women and Inspiration - Sunday, October 24, 2010
• Fall Flavours - Tuesday, September 28, 2010
• Folk Friday and thoughts on Canine Grammar - Sunday, September 26, 2010
• A Few Days Out of Time - Thursday, September 02, 2010
• Some Thoughts on Dialogue - Tuesday, August 10, 2010
• Folk Friday #2 - Friday, July 30, 2010
• Tragedy in Romance - Sunday, July 25, 2010
• A shattered City - Wednesday, July 21, 2010
• Folk Friday #1 - Friday, July 09, 2010
• McShannon's Heart Update - Tuesday, July 06, 2010
• A Different Flavour - Thursday, July 01, 2010
•  Echo's Excellent Adventure - Monday, June 21, 2010  
• Summertime, and the livin' is easy - Friday, June 11, 2010
• A Visit with Trey McShannon - Thursday, June 10, 2010
• A Musical Push - Tuesday, June 08, 2010
• Review: Naked Edge by Pamela Clare - Friday, May 28, 2010
• Words and Music - Thursday, May 20, 2010
• Revisions, revisions - Wednesday, May 12, 2010
• Review: Highland Rebel by Judith James - Thursday, May 06, 2010
• What's In a Name? - Friday, April 30, 2010
• My Take on Description 2: Setting - Sunday, April 25, 2010
• MyTake on Character Description - Saturday, April 24, 2010
• Contest Time! - Saturday, April 24, 2010
• A Family Divided - Saturday, April 24, 2010
• Second Book Syndrome - Saturday, April 24, 2010


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