We first saw this starving, flea-bitten street dog shortly after we moved here. Patrick was riding his tricycle on the driveway and this strange dog came up the driveway behind him. When my son turned around, the dog was there ready to play. Patrick wasn’t all that amused and started screaming. But Mom thought this dog deserved better than he was getting and put some water in a dish for him. The whole episode only took about 5 minutes and this dog had adopted us.
As the days progressed, the bowl of water was supplemented with Milk Bones and then some dog food and then Mom decided that this dog needed a bath. The word around the neighborhood was that the dog’s name was Grover and no one knew exactly who the owner was but that it was always in our neighborhood. But most importantly, this was a dog that really liked to play. And this dog had been trained! He knew basic stuff, sit, stay, fetch, etc. but nothing fancy. So we decided that if we wanted to keep this dog, we needed to go through channels, turn the dog over to the pound, and then claim him.
Within 24 hours we were the happy owners of a terrific dog. It turned out that this was a purebred Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever that was originally owned and abandoned in another county. They are often called a Toller because of their ability to lure waterfowl within gunshot range. Since they love to play around the water, they would naturally attract waterfowl. It is likely that the dog was originally named or called Toller. When he changed owners that name may have been converted to Roller, and then further converted to Grover by the very young neighborhood children. Fortunately, Grover was never confused by the name changes.
During his long life with us, Grover was a friend that liked to play. Throwing a baseball in the yard was an open invitation for him to chase back and forth and never get tired of the game. And Grover wasn’t particular with whom he played. He loved them all, neighborhood kids, other dogs, and then there was the skunk that was so uninterested in playing that Grover got sprayed. But to him it was all good. After a few days he was back out there trying to play with whoever was available.
The only fear we ever saw from Grover was the thunderstorm. The first clap of thunder and he was instantly a 40 pound lap dog and he would shiver until it was over. If the storm started at night he was on the bed with his head buried in the covers. Then the storm would end and he went back to doing whatever he was doing before.
Before Grover passed away he had enriched our lives and those of our children while they were growing up. He was in many ways the Prince of the household and there were times that he let you know it. Grover lived to be about 16. If you are ever looking for a medium-sized dog to enrich the lives of your young growing children, you could do a lot worse than a Duck Toller.
© J T Weaver