Anyone that knows us knows that we are basically obsessed with our puppy, Lucy. We went through months (about 7) of training classes, and by the end, she was ready to compete in Rally (think: fun trainer/dog cue cards with different skills on each). While she is still a little rusty (we are too), she knows a whole slew of commands and tricks: sit, down, stay, “Bang!,” roll over, nose, go-to-your-place, front, around, stand, go-get-it, fetch-it-up, and many more.
From the first day that we got her, we knew we wanted her to be socialized. We wanted kids to tug on her ears, pull her tail, and sit on her. We wanted strangers to come up to her and have her be okay with it. We basically wanted her to be an anywhere-companion. So, the first day that we brought her home, we went to Home Depot. Well, we didn’t realize, but that was the day that we became the unofficial Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever ambassadors.
Here is a typical conversation (when I say “typical,” I mean that it is usually word-for-word) when someone meets Lucy:
Them: “Wow! What a beautiful dog!”
Us: “Thank you!”
Them: “What kind of dog is she? Is she a mix?”
Us (pause for a very long breath because of the mouthful about to be said): “She is actually a purebred. She is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.”
Them: “A what?!”
Us: “A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. It is the smallest of the retrievers, but the longest name in the AKC.”
Them: “What is she mixed with?”
Us: “Well, she is actually a purebred. The breed was accepted into the AKC in 2003, although it is a much older breed from Canada.”
Them: “How did you find out about the breed?”
Us: “Well, when we decided we wanted to commit to a puppy, we took an online quiz from the AKC. It asked us about hair, temperament, the type of coat, energy level, size, and all kinds of other factors. The Toller was actually on the very top of the list. We had no idea what the breed was, so we researched them a lot. We found a list of breeders, and the only one from Virginia was just 40 minutes from us. We contacted them, met their dogs, and we fell in love with the couple and the breed. They had a litter planned a few months out, and we were lucky enough to be selected to get Lucy.”
Them: “Wow! I love her! I am going to have to look up the breed. This is just the size and look of a dog that I wanted. What kind is she again?”
Us: “A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Well, we are a little partial to the breed, but it took a lot of money, training, and effort for her to turn out as well as she did. Our breeders were top notch and our trainer has been amazing to work with.”
Them: “Yes, that is definitely the kind of dog I want.”
Well, not all conversations end exactly like that, but many of them include the once-stranger to profess his/her love for Lucy (she was aptly named after Lucille Ball, after all).