Bear's mom was a feral dog who lived in the hills near the Vallejo racetrack. She was killed by a car and a friend rescued her litter. Susan brought Bear home in her purse. I was not pleased. I grew up around racetracks and in those days, dogs were forbidden as they were known to chase horses. Susan had to bottle feed the Bear and we were told that he would be a "medium-sized Black Lab." Bear is a 110lb Sheppard/Akita mix. I surrendered and began taking the Bear with me to train horses at the track—dogs are allowed now. He loves horses, carrots, and fresh straw. He gets a bath in the horse wash rack every Sunday. He has become my constant companion.
Meanwhile, Susan, still wanted a dog of her own, and I had stolen the Bear. She found Sandy, a two-time adoption reject, on death row in Sutter Creek. She called to warn me that she was bringing home a new dog and promised that Sandy was a "smaller dog." Sandy is a 90lb Catahoula Leopard Hound. The first several weeks were rough as Bear was 5 and quite alpha, and Sandy—after three years of street life—was alpha as well. Now we are past all that. Sandy has taught Bear to swim and Bear has introduced Sandy to the wonders of the hoof trimmings at the blacksmith shop. We are terrible dog trainers. Bear and Sandy are "free-range" and rule our lives. They bring great joy to us.