Local canine educator Carla Boe

Local canine educator Carla Boe

Lots to know about dog ownership

It’s hard to go a day in the Cowichan Lake area without seeing a dog or two, with an amazing number of residents calling canines their friends.

It’s hard to go a day in the Cowichan Lake area without seeing a dog or two, with an amazing number of residents calling canines their friends.

What is unique, though, is seeing one woman walking five well-behaved dogs at a time. This is the case with Cowichan Lake area animal enthusiast Carla Boe.

This is just one of the remarkable things about Boe and her canine compatriots.

Another is that three of her five dogs are Swedish vallhunds; Frodo, Annie and Mikkael. This is remarkable because the breed, which was at one time popular amongst vikings, is quite rare.

“I just love them,” she said, of the breed. “They’re intelligent, they’re a working breed, their metabolisms are slow, they’re great guard dogs; they’re big dogs in a small package.”

Another remarkable thing about Boe and her link with canines is her encyclopedic knowledge of everything there is to do with dogs; health, nutrition, training  – she knows it all.

Having lived with dogs, and been learning about them for 64 years, Boe is now sharing her knowledge with the public, through classes she’s teaching with Cowichan Lake Recreation.

“I would like people to become better informed pet owners,” she said.

The following are some of the many things Boe would like more pet owners to be aware of:

• A proper dog harness can go a long way.

When a dog is distracted, a simple dog collar attached to a leash may hurt the canine.

Owners could be strangling their dogs and they will still pull away, she cautioned.

• Nutrition is quite important.

“You really are what you eat,” she said. “You can cut your vet fees way down.”

Although wheat and corn are in many commercially-sold dog foods, Boe cautions against their ingestion.

“If you see wheat or corn, forget it!” she said. “The digestion system is not set up to digest grains.”

Boe whips up her own concoction for her dogs that includes things like canned salmon, raw beef, chicken necks and backs, yogurt, rice, cantaloupe, broccoli, coleslaw, pumpkin, and other things.

On the topic of pumpkin, Boe said, “It’s fibre and it fills the dog up.”

• Early vaccinations are important, but there’s no sense in buying into all of the specialized ones, Boe said.

“It’s a cash cow for vets,” she said. Look into what diseases are prevalent in your area. If there are no cases of something on Vancouver Island, for example, there’s no sense in getting your pet vaccinated against it.

Boe has two classes planned for the near future, including ones in Youbou and Lake Cowichan.

For more on the classes, contact Cowichan Lake Recreation at 749-6742.