Home competitions Two dogs born six thousand miles apart…

Two dogs born six thousand miles apart…

by Clare Mansell
Two dogs born six thousand miles apart…

Tots 100 & Swell UK are asking bloggers to tell them about their pets for the chance to win £500 to spend on them and I thought this would be an excellent excuse to introduce you to our two very different dogs, who rather uniquely were born on opposite sides of the globe.

Macy the snow dog

Macy is our Canadian Prairie Dog and was born on a farm in Southern Alberta. Although we are unsure of her genetic make-up she looks like a lot of Canadian cross-breed dogs, with her large build and thick coat. We collected her on a very cold April morning from a barn near Strathmore, where she was living with horses and her two brothers. It was several degrees below zero, but she and all the animals who lived on the farm were completely unphased by the temperature. To this day she still loves the cold.

On the way home we discussed what to call her as she squirmed on a blanket on my lap in the back of the car. Flicking between radio frequencies we found a jazz station and suddenly and instantly she calmed. “That’s it we said, we’ll name her after whoever this is.” Typically the DJ went straight to the next record “Ok, whoever they mention next!” The song finished and they started talking about a jazz musician doing a local gig. He was called Macy O’Parker and so that was it. The name stuck.

Fifteen months after Macy became ours, we were on the move again and she came too. Boarding a flight from Calgary to Cyprus via Germany. The cost of the flights, the paperwork, the vaccines, overnight accommodation and transport to and from the airport (a 6 hour round trip in Canada) was staggering, but all part of what forces families do to try and cling on to a feeling of normality.

Macy our snow-loving prairie dog arrived in Cyprus in August and was not impressed. With new jobs and a new home, our routines changed and we found ourselves away from the house for longer periods during the day. She was hot and bored and she let us know by taking it out on our possessions. The final straw came when she chewed a hole right through the centre of a newly completed quilt! What to do? The answer was obvious to us, though perhaps not to everyone. Get her a companion…


So along came Bella. A tiny skittish waif of a dog who had been found abandoned at the side of the road and had been taken in hungry and terrified by a rescue shelter. We agreed to trial her for a week and for six of those seven days she did very little except sleep and run away from things. Then on day seven she suddenly relaxed and started to play.

It was a long journey teaching Bella that her new home was safe and 18 months later we were posted by the military again. Unlike Macy, she did not take a long flight to the UK in her stride, emerging from Gatwick pet transport looking utterly terrified whilst Macy merely sniffed the air and looked at us as if to say “Oh, another country?”
But three years on (and another house move, this time thankfully by car) Bella is a dog transformed having grown enormously in confidence by hanging out with a larger and more self-assured animal. 

Macy & Bella
Macy & Bella (with snow)

Being a Beagle-cross she is of course terribly naughty and loves nothing more than raiding bins, stealing anything edible and running off after prey, but she’s a massive character and we’d never be without her. True to her Cypriot roots she loves hot temperatures as much as Macy enjoys the cold and so in winter Macy will sit on our patio watching the stars whilst Bella curls up by the radiator inside and in summer Bella will lie stretched out in the sun whilst Macy slopes off to the garage for a doze.

These two unlikely companions have seen the world between them and been on incredible adventures. They have run with cattle across the Canadian prairies, swum with turtles in the Meditarranean and scampered through the ruins of snow covered Scottish castles. If they were humans they’d be propping up a bar with a pint in their hands and telling another of their tales, whilst the other drinkers rolled their eyes and said “Oh no, not another shaggy dog story!”

This post is an entry into the Tots100/Swell UK competition.

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pennydog October 22, 2013 - 10:33 am

So cute, the whole story.

moira October 22, 2013 - 10:40 am

i’m more of a cat lady but those two are lovely x

Nancy October 22, 2013 - 1:25 pm

Callie came into our life 11 years ago in December of 2002. We had moved to Trenton Ontario (Canada) and my oldest reminded me that I had promised her a dog when she turned 12. What’s more, she had documentation in her Grade 2 scribbler to prove this promise (she never forgets anything). She explained to me that this was an official document and if I did not deliver, she would take me to small claims court. Our cat was getting older and I was home working on my masters degree in nursing so I felt ready to give this dog the time and attention it would need. We saw an SPCA mutt (German Shepherd, Collie and Terrior) mixture in a cage at the local pet store and fell in love. We brought Callie home to a house in early December (remind me never to do that again) after she had lived in a barn for the first 10 weeks of her life. Two years later we drove 1500 km to Halifax with 3 kids, a dog, a cat and a hamster…. And we still have Callie.

Becky Lamyman October 22, 2013 - 2:49 pm

Beautiful dogs and what a lovely backstory to them as well!
Becs xx

Teje Karjalainen October 22, 2013 - 5:07 pm

Hi Clare! Thank you for a beautiful post! I was touched to read your dogs stories and to see their beautiful faces! I was thinking to say that I love most the snowy photo but each photo is my favourite; also your family portret is wonderful! I’m happy to hear happy dog stories! x Teje

Fran October 22, 2013 - 6:16 pm

Oh, that is just so cute! Sitting here with my Blenheim spaniel, who would fit right in with those two!

Caroline October 22, 2013 - 10:12 pm

Such a lovely story!


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