Leia is ruffly 30 pounds of Australian Miniature Shepherd and a welcomed guest in the Stiebel household. (Photo courtesy of Rick Stiebel)

Rickter Scale: Brushing off a royal visitor

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

  • Jan. 29, 2020 1:30 p.m.

The bride and I are humbled to share intimate details regarding our recent visit with royalty during the holidays.

Although we have been honoured with Princess Leia’s presence for a couple of nights at a time in the past, the week between Christmas and the first days of January marked her Royal Highness’s first extended stay.

Named after the princess of Star Wars, Leia is ruffly 30 pounds of Australian Miniature Shepherd, coloured in shades of cinnamon and caramel, with contrasting patches as white and fluffy as the towels stacked on a shelf in the bathroom of a five-star hotel.

Unfortunately, parts of the visit were spoiled by the rain that pounded the Island relentlessly during the holiday season, and because the bride was plagued by a nasty cold that kicked the snot out of our Kleenex budget. We did manage to squeeze in a few sessions for Leia to fetch the red rubber ball she never tires of retrieving, but much of the visit found the three of us parked on the couch watching TV, Leia sprawled with one paw across Joan’s leg to prevent any interruption in the cuddling continuum. Those sessions only ceased when she heard the fridge open or the rustle of the bag of Snausage treats, for which she would perform her routine of physical feats with an impatience approaching warp speed.

READ MORE: Rickter Scale

The feelings evoked by Leia whines when Joan left to consult with the pharmacist reinforced the notion that dogs indeed do have hearts that can be broken. The way Leia reacted upon the bride’s return was something to behold, her bum wriggling and wiggling so enthusiastically that her front legs slipped and slid across the floor.

If you’re thinking this column is just another “OK, so he likes the dog, I get it, enough, already,” stay tuned while I return to the topic of the television.

I have consulted with numerous owners of canines, and can assure you none of them have observed Leia’s particular quirk exhibited by their pooch.

Even when she’s dozing off, Leia reacts instantly to the sight or sound of any two or four-legged critter that appears upon our screen. That includes the little green lizard featured in Geico commercials and especially the bear that pokes his head through a kitchen window to pitch a brand of cough syrup. What begins with a deep ominous growl turns into yips and yaps faster than you can change the channel. She also becomes completely catatonic at the first glimpse of a feline, including cats in cartoons, forgoing the growl to launch into fits of barking that leave you amazed at how a dog that size can sound so ferocious.

I started mourning her departure the moment Joan took her home to her Mama, Rosie, a former workmate who has blessed us by adding our names to the list of babysitters eager to host the queen of whatever household she graces. Although I have loved dogs since Oscar the German Shepherd would wander over to our backyard when I was young, I now fully understand first-hand why they become such cherished members of so many families.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Athletes gear up for Pan Am XC Cup at Bear Mountain Saturday

This is the first time Canada is hosting the championships

Oak Bay’s first heritage conservation area is in the books

Councillor excited to see how HCA protects character of The Prospect

Petition aims to stop handyDART facility from being built in View Royal

‘Save Craigflower Creek’ has gathered over 1,000 signatures within a week

Saanich launches new tool to help residents learn about the budget

Tool launch will coincide with the Mar. 3 budget meeting

Nominations for Victoria municipal byelection are in

Victoria will elect one councillor

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read