Life in my little town – by Juno

Juno is a three year old Labradoodle who animates and organizes the life of PK and MK Gray. In recent months she has developed an ability to communicate both ideas and story to her Pawpaw, PK. The following is another instalment in an increasingly popular series. We all live together in the small South Okanagan town of Summerland BC, Canada.

Basically I sleep or rest most of the time. There are some interruptions to this routine for sure, including at least two daily walks, runs, and plays. There are also people to meet at the front door of our lovely house on the La Vista Ridge hill. There are birds to engage, rodents to dise-lodge, and the occasional neighbour who must be communicated with. But for the most part, the majority of my time is spent either resting or sleeping. And I love it! So when people ask why they should consider owning a dog, especially a Labradoodle, one that sleeps most of the time, they could well say that these dogs “don’t do anything . . . Why bother?” In response, I reply that your return on investment is immensely valuable. I then continue with three things for any potential labradoodle purchaser to consider.

  1. We Labradoodles are warmer and cuddlier than chesterfield cushions. In my case I don’t shed, and I require only the occasional visit to the pet store cleaning baths (after a romp in the mud and scramble through the briar bushes). Mawpaw Kathie (MK) and Pawpaw Ken (PK) are themselves comforted as they watch me rest in comfort, sometimes in the very spots they wish to comfortably ensconce themselves. At that point, MK negotiates and PK throws me off the bed, chair, or the couch. (He can be brutish on occasion.) I see my role as a comfort-provider to all those who seek comfort for themselves. As the good book says: “Comfort, comfort my people.” G F Handel expressed this musically—I offer the same benefit, silently.
  • I help people like PK and MK structure their day. I am a slow riser as I take at least a half hour to fully wake. Even as the hours of daylight adjust for the changing seasons, PK rises at 0530 and MK at 0710. I trek upstairs from the bedroom suite at 0725 for cuddles and rib scratches. I am ready for walk number one at 0810. Home from the play/walk/run typically at 0910 I luxuriate one way or another until 14:30 when I again make my presence and desire known, sometimes assertively. There are places to see, people to meet, things to do at any of our favourite beaches and parks  in our little town. Spring continues its sluggish appearance this year, so I can only dream of swimming in the warm, fresh lake waters of summer. Once returned home I round out my day with a small evening meal (I am a tentative eater unlike my Labrador forebears). Towards evening, there is more comfort to provide, and the evening snooze to enjoy as we all watch BritBox together.

In contrast to my own somewhat perfunctory routine, PK and MK are madly off in all directions. MK is still working through the laborious and inefficiently managed Therapy Dog registration and orientation process. What started formally in Kamloops is almost complete but really people, this is ridiculous–what should have taken one month is now dragging through its fifth month. I am eager to provide comfort to others, likely in local long term care facilities; and MK is totally pumped; for crying out loud, bring on the love, people. MK now volunteers for Summerland NeighbourLink, a peer to peer community support initiative. She is now able to make good use of her fibre art studio downstairs.

PK on the other hand buckles down for 2-3 hours each day on his book project—BREAKING NEWS—The book has been accepted by a US publisher–watch this space. He continues to post blogs; he has resumed priestly ministry on a limited basis; he is working with his new organ peddling shoes; and there is time for some photography. One reason I sleep so much as their energy and industry exhausts me. So, now I lay me down to sleep . . .

  • And finally, my third recommendation to anyone thinking of purchasing, raising and including a Labradoodle in their life, is that we keep life interesting and spontaneous. While this aspect of ownership is not a panacea for eternal youthfulness, consider the mutually beneficial relationship between an owner and their pet. (The word “owner” is truly insufficient as the relationship goes way deeper than a fiscal contract.)  Whether dog (or cat—must we?) the pet becomes an integral non-human part of the social unit, whether a family or an individual. Certainly the human creates an environment where the animal can thrive in a domestic setting. This is totally opposite to life in the African bush for instance, which PK and MK have experienced now twice. They became profoundly aware of the law of the bush one night sitting in a land cruiser listening to a dramatic soundscape. Indeed, in such settings one either looks for dinner or becomes dinner for another. So much for “this fragile earth, our island home.” So very brutal!

In a more timid setting, that of the local dog park, listen to the dog owners, the best of whom have a raucous sense of humour cloaked in despair, as they negotiate with their loved ones, in a seemingly endless plaintiff voice: “Come, dammit!” While there are owner\dog team relationships that are disciplined (police dogs, service dogs, show dogs) the majority of pet/human teams are relaxed, funny, entertaining and life-giving. Dogs raised as pets have always been PK And MK’s primary life entertainment—I am part of a long tradition in Gray family life. Long may this continue. While I am not the first, I doubt I will be the last—though not for many years yet.

4 thoughts on “Life in my little town – by Juno

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  1. A very enjoyable read. I’m currently taking an online (recreational) philosophy course on human & animal issues; so, Juno, it was good to hear your view on the subject.
    Ken, have you been recently returning to organ playing or have you kept it up through the years (I should say decades!).


    1. Hi Bruce, good to hear from you again. I let the organ playing go in favour of other activities. I now struggle to regain some technique. See

      Years ago I remember meeting Grahamme Baker at the console of the St. John’s Casavant. He was trying to play the Bach C Major Toccata. He was struggling to play a piece he played from memory for his ARCCO years earlier. I now feel his pain.

      Perhaps you would consider a guest blog on animal philosophy. Juno would be so pleased.

      Stay well, Ken


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