Salmon Arm Observer and Eagle Valley News reporter Zachary Roman and his dog Appa nap on their kitchen floor after a long day. (Michaela Bell image)

Salmon Arm Observer and Eagle Valley News reporter Zachary Roman and his dog Appa nap on their kitchen floor after a long day. (Michaela Bell image)

Column: My new dog trains me just as much as I train him

The Roman Report by Zachary Roman

A couple weeks ago, my girlfriend and I fulfilled one of our biggest dreams.

We adopted a dog. A very big dog.

We’d been researching and preparing for quite a while, and were so happy to finally find a dog that was a good match for us.

We named our big boy Appa, after an adorable ‘Sky Bison’ from a nostalgic TV show we love. You can definitely see the resemblance.

Appa is a Great Pyrenees, and when we took him for a checkup at the veterinary clinic, he weighed in on the smaller side for his breed at a mere 102 pounds. It’s still quite a lot to handle when he gets excited and runs at full speed in the backyard. At times like those, I like to call him the polar express.

He’s two years old, and we got him from the wonderful folks down at the Kelowna branch of the BC SPCA.

Ever since we got Appa our lives have been a whirlwind, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

These days, we wake up at 5:45 a.m. to take Appa for about an hour-long walk or hike. I don’t think my girlfriend or I have ever had such a consistent sleep schedule, and most nights we’re out cold by 10 p.m. at the latest.

Never has our kitchen been so clean either. With Appa’s impressive height, his face can rest on top of the dinner table with ease, and the counter isn’t far away. Thankfully he isn’t really food motivated, and we’re sure to not feed him from the table. But hey, who wouldn’t eat half a breakfast sausage they found sitting unguarded in an empty room? I know I would. Leaving the dishes out while we watch TV is no longer an option, and this has resulted in a much cleaner kitchen space.

We’ve also never spent this much time outside every day. From our morning walks with Appa to some evening basic training and play with him in the backyard, we’re getting that sweet fresh air into us like never before. It feels great.

Right now, we’re in the process of arranging formal obedience training with a positive reinforcement trainer. Appa is incredibly smart, but I think he might be confused when we start to train him in a formal setting.

That’s because right now, he’s the one training us to be better people.

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Do you have something else we should report on? Email: zachary.roman@saobserver.net
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