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Abandoned pooch lives life of Riley

January 9th, 2006, 06:58 AM
A dog's life. It would of been nice if somebody nuetered Patches but other than that it's quite the story.
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Abandoned pooch lives life of Riley
Spaniel depends on strangers' kindness
He gets straw for bed, steak for supper
Jan. 9, 2006. 12:06 AM

MILNER RIDGE, Man.—For six years, Patches the pooch has lived on his own in an abandoned house, relying on the kindness of strangers.

The springer spaniel was left behind when his family pulled up stakes and left the house in a clearing in the woods of Milner Ridge, 75 kilometres east of Winnipeg.

Pitying passersby called the Winnipeg Humane Society, animal control and even the provincial veterinarian, but an investigation by those agencies discovered that despite his solitude, Patches is living the life of Riley.

He has two dog houses, water from an underground spring, three types of dog food that people bring him (in addition to a deer scraps from hunters), an old shack for shelter, a dense woods where he catches bush rabbits, and a community that loves him.

"If we have a steak dinner, we always leave a little meat on the bones for Patches," said Ernie Okrainec, 67, who drops off food every Sunday, and brought 12 bales of flax straw to make a bed for the dog.

Okrainec also brings treats on special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Other people drop off food and water on other days. Nearby residents decorate Patches' yard at Christmas and Halloween.

Neighbour Brian Zolinski said Patches is a friendly dog who always comes out to greet visitors and hardly ever barks.

People have tried to adopt him but without much success.

A well-intentioned family from Lac du Bonnet loaded him up in their vehicle once and started driving down the highway. But Patches went crazy, tearing apart their van. They quickly brought him back.

"He would have just come back anyway," said Okrainec.

There is a dogcatcher in the community but some residents had a little confab with him years ago concerning Patches.

"The dog isn't bothering anyone," explained Marlene Watson, chief administrator for the Rural Municipality of Lac du Bonnet.

Okrainec said Patches, who is now about 12 years old, will leave his own legacy behind when his time comes. About a year ago, a female dog of a different breed, who lives about five kilometres down the road, had a litter of eight pups.

Every one looked like Patches.

"The owner doesn't know how he did it," Okrainec said. "She says she keeps her dog tied up all the time."

Canadian Press

Rick C
January 10th, 2006, 10:30 AM
There's a longer story and a picture in the National Post on this today.

Interesting story. He doesn't seem to be lonely.

Rick C