Hello Kathryn,

A number of years ago Margo and I purchased a male apricot poodle pup from you. We call him Jake.

In my 76 years I have had many dogs but none have come close in character and intelligence to Jake. When we first got him we attended a number of different puppy training courses. The end result is that he sits when the order is issued at a bellow and comes when he wants, which he usually does. Beyond that he has so integrated himself into our small family that no further commands are needed.

The closest that I can get to describing Jake is that he is like an extraordinarily intelligent six year old, who though lacking speech, can communicate his needs and love though signals and sign language. For the past 3 years he has been a therapy dog at the local Sally Ann old folks home, where his visits are much appreciated.

As a pup we had a difficult job training him to do his business outside, (In our 40 acre forest). A friend suggested that we hang a bell on the door to the outside, for him to signal that he needed to go out. After one lesson he never made another mistake inside. But now bell ringing has two meanings. Standing means that he has to relieve himself, sitting means that he wants me to take him out for a walk.

Over the years the subtlety of our communication has grown. I am sitting in my easy chair and sense that Jake is staring at me. I ask “What do you want”. His head swivels around and points, at a teddy bear on a high shelf, at the cookie jar, at a ball lost under a chair. It is my job to do his bidding.

He has even invented his own game, “Hide and Seek”. 1) find a tennis ball, lay it on the floor or in an easy chair. 2) find a blanket and lay it over the ball. 3) Sit back and observe. 4) Launch a viscous attack on the offending blanket. 5) Rip off the blanket and retrieve the ball. 6) Repeat.
John Evans & Jake 2

I get along well with my wife of 40 years because we consult, collaborate and try to give and not command. We get along well with Jake for the same reason.

John & Margo

St. John’s Nfld