Sylvia Spring: Heady

There have been three wonderful dogs in life of documentary film maker Sylvia Spring. “The first, Boozer, a mutt, was our family dog. He was a clown and a great source of entertainment. Boozer was blamed for all family farts and got laughed at when he struggled with the sticky toffee we kept feeding him. He was a dog-dog in small town Ontario during the 1950s when dogs were allowed to wander around the neighbourhood off leash. Boozer had no training whatever and was a great garbage eater and beggar. He had us well trained. When he died of old age we all mourned him (but secretly sighed with relief).”

Sylvia’s second dog, Heady Toke, was another mutt, part spaniel, a dog of the 60′s and 1970s. Heady lived a nomadic life with Sylvia in Vancouver and Galiano Island, B.C., Toronto and Galt, Ontario, and Paris, France. “She was very smart, in control, and an extremely determined dog. While I lived in Paris I had to leave town suddenly and left Heady with a friend who took her about ten kilometers outside of the city. Heady got free and took off. A few days later when I returned, my frantic friend was telling me that she’d lost Heady when my phone rang and it was a fellow I had visited once who lived in the heart of Paris in a huge old building. He’d found Heady sitting outside his apartment door three days after she went missing. Somehow Heady had found her way back to Paris, to the correct quartier, to the building, past the concierge and to his door on the 10th floor!!! I lived in Paris for a year & half and she pulled that trick several other times and always found either me or a friend we had visited!!! Heady died of old age on Galiano Island, British Columbia, having escaped dog sitters and travelled the length of the island to find me!”

“My third dog is Nellie McClung, a brown & white Border Collie, a dog of the 1990′s. She is the first dog I’ve ever trained. Very smart, she learned quickly, joined a fly-ball team and excelled. My partner and I ride our bikes with her off leash and proudly show off her “obedience”. When we moved to Manhattan for a couple of years poor Nellie went into culture shock. No yard, high rise living, yappy little attack dogs in elevators, on leash all the time. We were arrested for being off leash in Central Park and had to go to court to plead our Canadian innocence in front of a judge who laughed and said maybe Nellie should become a “border guard”. Now we are back in Canada and Nellie has her own woods and free range deer and bears to monitor in Wakefield, Quebec.”

“What I’ve learned from my life with dogs is that there are no untrainable dogs, only untrainable people.”

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