One of the best moments of serendipity in my life (and there have been several) was that I happened to look on Facebook the very day this dog was brought into the local shelter, and, without hesitating, I contacted the shelter to meet the dog. She looked at me with my Siberian husky Lily’s blue eyes. I’d had to put Lily down only a few months before and I knew another dog would be coming into my life. When I saw this puppy, I knew I’d found my dog. I still had doubts, but…
At the shelter, I met one of the coolest young people I know. More serendipity. Brandi knew that I was Bear’s owner – though Bear was then called Silver, a good name, too — and though others came to see Bear, Brandi gave them no encouragement. “I knew she was your dog as soon as I met you,” she told me later.
Bear appeared to be a husky/Pyrenees mix. I didn’t know anything about livestock guardian dogs except I’d seen them working. I knew huskies were higher energy than I could deal with at that time. It turned out that Bear is an Akbash dog, a livestock guardian breed from Turkey. Livestock guardian dogs, in general, are calm, pretty low energy (they’re bred to keep sheep from going crazy which, if you know anything about sheep, is not that easy), independent, intelligent and they bond tightly to whatever they’re supposed to bond to — sheep, goats or me.
I like this dog a LOT. She’s turned out to be a good friend (for a dog). She has some odd behaviors — she hugs people, for one. She sits on her haunches and wraps her arms around people who come to my house. It’s her way to say hello rather than jumping on them. She’s pretty forceful in this demonstration of affection. She really wants my friends to feel welcome but I think sometimes they feel frightened because she’s so large. She’s very gentle and slow moving with small kids and kitties! She’s especially attentive and loving to my friend’s developmentally disabled son.
She’s a lap dog — but that’s normal behavior for her breed, too, to sit or lie on the creatures they care for. She’s openly affectionate — I’m used to Siberian Huskies who are very independent dogs, somewhat cat-like in their show of affection. For a Siberian Husky, showing love is going “hunting” with you for several hours. So having a dog who seeks and gives affection has been different. Often, on a walk, Bear will stop gathering her messages and tracking animals, and snuggle up beside me so I can put my hand on her back as we walk along. She loves this and I do, too.
Before getting Bear, I’d already had, probably, 20 dogs, but never a dog like this. ❤