2006-08-24 / News

It's a dog's island after all

By Michaela Kennedy

They wag their tails at passersby. They bark a greeting or a warning when someone approaches the house. They play with affectionate enthusiasm and lick away tears of sadness. They are the dogs of Jamestown.

With over 700 registered dogs in Jamestown, no one can deny we are a dog-friendly island. From lap-loving toy poodles to sleek-lined Dobermans, dogs are spotted all over the island playing with children, working in trucks, and lounging at the deli with their coffee drinking human companions.

Pedigreed canines outnumber the mixed breeds here by a ratio of 3-1. Nevertheless, the cross breeds number close to 30 in variety alone, not to mention more than five dozen mongrels listed at Town Hall. Purebreds do not discriminate against mutts here on the rock.

Also in wide variety are names. In a sea of creative nom de plumes such as Mirabau Matterhorn and Winston Churchill, the most popular names like Lucy and Rocky can be counted on two hands or less.

Competing for first place in the island's most popular pooch poll are the golden and Labrador retrievers. These breeds are often seen down at East Ferry beach upholding the legacy of their names by fetching sticks out of the water for their owners. Why do they keep bringing the stick back? Oh yeah, remember, they're retrievers.

Newer crossbreeds the likes of goldendoodles, Labradoodles and cockerpoos (which could be called cockerdoodles, but aren't) are rare on the island, with five Labradoodles, three cockerpoos and only one goldendoodle registered.

If you are a dog on Jamestown, you are a dog of lucky karma indeed. Roxy, a Walker coon hound, was adopted from the Potter League nine years ago by Alexandra Darigan of West Reach Drive.

"She was very skinny, subdued, with her ears flat when I saw her in the cage," Darigan said about the hound. Darigan also said that Roxy was "wild and completely untrained" when she brought her home. "It took an entire year for her to make eye contact," Darigan added.

A year later, Roxy ran away from home on Christmas Eve. Darigan spent a week looking for her, fearing that the poor dog had been stolen, or worse, was dead. Roxy came whimpering to the door a week later, and hasn't left since. "She's become much more

affectionate and connected now," Darigan noted, adding that Roxy likes to howl in harmony when her husband plays the harmonica.

A keeshond named Hailey shares a happier history, having gone home with Michelle Gibbs of Frigate Street at the tender age of three months. Now, Hailey shares her home with two toddlers who climb all over her, according to her owner.

Another keeshond that recently left the island for the great dog world beyond was Nicky, who lived to a ripe old dog age with his owners Chris Curran and Santi Meunier of Whittier Road. "When he died, the other three dogs took turns sleeping in Nicky's bed. It seemed to be their way of saying goodbye," said Meunier of her golden retriever, corgi and beagle.

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