The Francey - Girdler

  Dog (and cat) Page

What do dogs have to do with music you may well ask? Well, not much, but I am finding out just what a large part of many people's lives dogs represent by the number of e-mails you send on the topic. I thought I would make a small page devoted to our dogs, past and present. Please Scroll Down! to read ~ The Dogs of our Lives or Tails to Remember ~ about dogs of my past. Beth

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The Dogs of our Lives


Tails to Remember


"Dog casts its shadow on the cenotaph's face
Up above a star's
Slow fall from grace
In a small town, at the far end
Of summer"

from the song Far End of Summer

This is Buddy "the wonder dog" as David called him. He was a lab something cross (they told us setter!) and was the easiest dog I ever trained. I got him at 8 weeks and he only peed in the house once! He practically trained himself. He knew hand signals, did flips for snowballs and dove for rocks. He was also a great traveler - a patient and understanding soul. I got Buddy when I first started to "see" David and he passed away on March 8/03 at the ripe old age of 16. I cried for weeks after he died - especially at night because Buddy had always slept beside my side of the bed and his absence there was painful. I still miss him. It is amazing the way a quiet little dog managed to carve out such a huge spot in our hearts!

Someone wrote to us about a dog that they had loved and lost saying...

"We don't think that we will ever find another dog like that again."

I know exactly what they mean. When a special dog is part of your life for that long, there simply will never be a replacement. You know, Buddy was not my first special dog. Since the age of 17, I have not been without a dog. All except two of my dogs lived for a good many years.

The first was a scotch and border collie cross, Bobby. Elderly people used to stop me and say "oh look, a real farm collie, I haven't seen one of those for years!" When I brought Bobbie home, all five of us Girdler kids were still living at home. Although he was my dog, he really became the family dog. He was big and lovable and everyone cared for him until he passed away at 17. Bobbie was so handsome I used to think that if he was human he would be a great boyfriend! He could clear a fence like a deer and swim like a duck.

When I went to University I decided to get another dog. I phoned about a "free puppies" add. The mother was a black lab cross and the father was, hmmm??? Although the mother looked like a lab the puppies looked like golden, husky crosses. I picked the puppy that came to me first. A big male, that I named Buckwheat, because of the buckwheat colour of his fur. He grew to be a massive dog and I now believe he may have had some Anatolian Shepherd in him. I loved this dog like crazy. He was kind, (as our cat had kittens, he licked each one clean) he would climb ladders and trees to a height of 15 or 20 feet just to stay with me. He was great with kids and used to pull my first daughter on a sled. He moved from Ontario to Alberta with us, climbed mountains and swam across the Bow River. When he was nine he and a second dog we owned went for a walk and never returned. I looked for them for months but I believe they may have been shot by a farmer. I was crushed. Buckwheat was so smart, I have never had a dog like him since, and spent years looking for another buckwheat. I now know there isn't another.

In my search I saw an add for black lab, setter cross pups. I thought to myself that this might be a large, long-haired dog in the style of Bucky. I ended up picking out little black, flea covered pup and named him Buddy. Buddy ended not getting anywhere near the size of a lab or setter (I suspect his father was a border collie) but he did end up being the easiest dog I ever trained. He was a very young pup when I got him and he peed in the house once! and learned to sit and stay and go lay down in a day. He learned hand signals and would go right or left after sticks or drop to a down while a hundred or more feet away. He was no Buckwheat, but he was amazing and I am so glad I shared a life with him!

Oh, and Buddy was with me when David and I got together. Buddy was David's first dog! What an excellent fellow to teach someone how to be a dog owner!

Then came our crazy dog, Rosie. We did not have the time to train a pup so we took a trip to the Frontier Animal Society in Beebe, QC to look for an adult dog. There were 40 dogs up for adoption at the shelter. I was really hoping for a big dog, but as I looked at a newfy cross, the woman brought out Rosie. David was sitting on the back of the Van and Rosie leapt up beside him, put her paw on his shoulder...and that was it. She picked us! Rosie is a scotty / border collie cross, about 5 years old and she is devoted to her people! She is friendly to everyone, but will attack other dogs on sight! Apparently she was tied up for the first year of her life and then had a series of owners. I think she is so happy to have her own people that she will protect her position at all costs! We are working on socializing her and she is improving...somewhat! We love her though, quirky behaviour and all. Oh, Rosie is a talker too. She lets us know if she is pissed off by muttering doggy swear words.

Rosie is often swearing at our cat, Molly

And then came Nelly!

Before I met David I had always had large dogs. David had never had a dog before Buddy and therefore prefers small, quiet breeds. He did, however promise me that if we moved to the country we could get a big dog. Rosie is great, but overly friendly (to people). I wanted a dog that would be a good companion as well as a guard dog. I looked for the right one for over half a year. One day while reading the local paper I spotted this add:

I looked up the breed on the internet and found out that, although they are very rare, a woman down the road from us has an Anatolian mix. I went to meet him and was impressed both with the dog's great size and by his nature. The woman said "Toler" is the best dog she's ever had and she is in her sixties.

All the available information on Anatolian Shepherd Dogs comes with the strict warning that it is an intelligent but headstrong breed that needs early socialization and heavy obedience training. These dogs have a naturally protective instinct and should NEVER be trained as an attack dog. No kidding! With the males reaching 170 lbs - with massive mastiff type heads, this is a formidable breed! I decided to go see the pups and, as you can see from the photo below, they were SO CUTE!

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs or Coban Kopegi originate from the mountains of Turkey where they were raised to protect sheep from wolves. They look like giant yellow labs. They are a slow growing breed. Nelly is already 80 lbs at 8 months. She will continue to grow until the age of 2! Reaching a weight of 120 lbs.

Here she is at almost 8 months. She is turning into a great dog. Beautiful to look at, easy going, very affectionate and with a very deep bark. So far so good! I'll let you know how it goes! Beth

If you want to learn more about these dogs go to

A training session. Rosie gets a treat too!

Nelly is getting bigger....and bigger! But still cute - now if I could just break her of the desire to leap up and lick people's faces in mid flight! Any suggestions? 87 lbs. of flying enthusiasm is not always appreciated! (she never jumps on us so I can't discipline her for it until someone new comes by!)

I took the following photo this past summer. It looked so funny that I made up a little situation to go along with it...

Nelly is in the garden.

She is playing hide and seek…

It is my turn to hide….

She counts out loud…


Nelly has turned into an absolute treat. She is a wonderful dog, well behaved, laid back and she doesn't jump on anyone now!

to Buddy!

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