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Snoopy The Pup

January 5, 2021

The days that followed Ray’s death were dark and sad. Faced with the question how do I go on, and choosing to live and not die a slow death, I welcomed the arrival of Snoopy, who was eight weeks old. Unknown to me, a puppy is like a new child — the food, crate, clothes, toys, training, vet appointments, and so on. He arrived in cargo at the Toronto airport — roaring and barking like a 40 lb rottweiler! Snoopy is a Coton de Tulear — a breed which originated in Madagascar in the city of Tulear. As the story goes, Cotons (French – Cotton in English) were bred for royalty…. aren’t all dogs, though?

Now in ‘the year of our discontent,’ the trauma of COVID-19 and the pain of it all, Snoopy has again provided great joy, healing and comfort, mentally, emotionally and physically. We take long walks, discover and explore new places and meet new people. He gives big cuddles, and unconditional and knowing love. With his ‘ackee seed’ eyes, and black button nose, Snoopy is hypoallergenic, spirited, charismatic, highly intelligent, playful — a people magnet all round.

My sister Suzette, the real dog whisperer in our family, says dogs take on the personality of their owners. Snoopy is hyped, sociable and extremely spoilt — oh, well! At 17 lbs his huge bark belies his size, and he is a great watchdog, as his breed is closely linked to the Bichon Tenerife Terrier. In 1974, Madagascar released a stamp with the image of the Coton, affirming their status as the nation’s “royal dog”.

Undoubtedly, Snoopy continues to help heal me and save my life.

In the best of times dogs are man’s (people’s) best friend. According to the Mayo clinic, “Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders, and can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue.”

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