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Kara, Queen of Samoyedena, a best friend at The Commons

In my youth, our family owned a series of “Heinz 57’s”, with one notable exception, my older sister Mary’s purebred Samoyed dog, Kara.

Mary’s spur of the moment decision to buy a dog came on the heels of a break-up with one of her beaux. Disillusioned by the fickleness of the suitor in question, impulsively, she turned to man’s best friend for consolation.

After my sister had convinced our parents to agree to a new dog in the household, she visited Teasel’s drug store, to purchase a magazine with a list of dog breeders in eastern Ontario. While studying its contents, she saw a picture of a Samoyed, in an advertisement for a kennel in Thorn Hill. Impressed by its showy white coat and majestic bearing, Mary called the breeder. To her delight she learned that there were puppies for sale and, for just $50., it would be possible to have the last remaining female delivered to her door, in a few days time.

Mary gasped at the price, for $50. was more than at week’s pay for her. Still, she was determined to have the puppy. An agreement was made for her to borrow  the money from our father and our family sat back to await the new puppy’s arrival. My sister immediately began to consider names for her new best friend.

Since it was the year of Princess Elizabeth’s coronation, there was great emphasis on all things royal. Mary decided to call her new dog Queen Kara of Samoyedena.

True to her word, the breeder arrived at our door, with Kara, a few days after talking with my sister. The fluffy white puppy captured our hearts, the moment she arrived. My sister was delighted with her new dog and could not wait to teach her how to walk on a leash. In fact, she had purchased a rolled leather collar and matching lead, just for this purpose.

Unfortunately, the breeder drove off before Mary had time to discover that Queen Kara was a highly unlikely candidate for Samoyedena’s throne. It quickly became apparent that, although the puppy was affectionate with members of our family, she was terrified of strangers and shook in fear, if walked beyond the perimeters of our yard.

Confident that exposure to new sights and sounds would lessen Kara’s fears, Mary was determined to lead her outside her comfort zone. One Saturday afternoon, she donned a stylish outfit, buckled Kara’s smart leather collar around her neck and set off to walk uptown. Later, she would report that as she passed the Daubney’s front porch, her friend Iola called out that she looked just like a movie star.

Mary was still basking in this compliment when Kara suddenly began to run backwards. She pulled out of her collar, turned tail, and bolted for The Commons. The “movie star” still leash in hand, found herself walking an invisible dog. Kara had just made what would be the first of many escapes.

Determined not to give up on her new dog, my sister decided to walk her again, this time closer to home. When my parents decided to stroll to the Yacht Club for a close-up look at the many boats docked there, Mary and Kara joined them for the outing. Although she was skittish as they strolled down the steep hill leading to the clubhouse, Kara, followed my sister, without pulling back.

Moments later, as they stood just outside the clubhouse doors, Kara jerked backward, escaped from her collar and scaled the vertical rock face leading to Queen Elizabeth Park. This amazing feat left Mary and my parents open-mouthed.

Finally, Mary decided that it would be foolhardy to attempt to walk her dog off our property. Happy with this decision, Kara spent the next 13 years of her life as a homebody. Allowed to run free, the Queen of Samoyedena contentedly reigned in the small kingdom of our backyard.

Mary’s romantic vision of long walks through the streets of town, with an elegant Samoyed prancing at her side had been permanently dispelled. However, her disappointment was alleviated, considerably, by the arrival of a new beau in her life. Both dog and owner were happy with the outcome. I, too, was pleased, for Kara then, officially, became my dog. She was my boon companion on many backyard adventures, a child’s best friend in those long ago days on The Commons.

Filed Under: Margaret Haylock-Capon

About the Author: Maggie Haylock is a freelance writer and former newspaper reporter who has co-authored several books with her husband, Alan Capon.

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