Why I think Pax is a true Bohemian
Since Pax came on the scene and flooded our lives with unbound and sometimes “untamed” happiness, some of you have been asking how different Pax and Skai are. This makes sense because even among siblings there are differences. I see this clearly between my sisters and I, and also with my late brother. We had the same parents, at least I believe so 🤣, but we all have very different personalities and lives.
After Skai died, and before we adopted Pax, I remember thinking it was highly unlikely that I would be this lucky for the second time. I somehow expected that our second dog would be the underdog but when Pax came into our lives, it was clear that I was wrong.
So, how different are these two dogs that have guided me through life for the past 19 years? Here is my comparison:
1. PHYSICAL BUILD AND CONSTITUTION
In many ways, Skai and Pax reflect the progression of my professional development and understanding of raw diet feeding and diet supplementation. Skai grew up on a raw diet without a consistent supplement schedule, because I developed and launched the essential supplements when he was 10 years old.
And while Skai was relatively healthy and lived for 16 years, he never was as strong and vigorous as Pax, who has received the FAB4 essentials from the day we brought him home.
The essentials made a big difference in Skai’s senior years, but he could never catch up with Pax who is more solid, has a richer and thicker coat, better digestion, and stronger muscles and back. He is also less prone to injuries, and if he pulls a muscle he recovers quickly.
The canine body is not unlike a tree. If they receive all the essential nutrients they need from the get-go, it makes a big difference in their lives. I often wish that I could turn back the clock and start all over again with Skai.
2. INTERACTION WITH OTHER DOGS
Skai was all about the rules and ethics of the dog world.🐶 He respected other dogs’ space but also expected others to do the same. If he felt other dogs were a bit out of control, he would try to herd them, or possibly even hold them by the lip to make them behave. He was a true Canadian 😉🇨🇦. It was not an aggressive move, he just wanted other dogs to behave in line with his Canadian/British roots. 🐾🇬🇧
To be fair, I think this trait formed because Skai spent most of his early days in my practice, where some not so well mannered dogs were coming and going all the time. I imagine it must have appeared chaotic and overwhelming to a dog that liked to have all his sheep in a row.
Skai loved his doggie friends, spending much time with his sister and other dogs he knew since he was a puppy. When it comes to other dogs, he was much more picky than Pax is. He liked some dogs, and others not so much.
Pax pretty much loves any dog that is willing to play or interact. He doesn’t judge, but recognizes when a dog is likely to be aggressive. He is the life of the party, excited to make new friends on walks, and wanting to say hello. He does have a bit of selective hearing when he meets other dogs and I try to recall him.
Because I no longer work out of a clinic, Pax’s puppyhood was much more stable and grounded, without the chaos and drama of a veterinary practice. If another dog flips out, he is surprised and baffled by their behaviour, but doesn't try to put them in line.
In contrast, Skai would pick the odd fight, and for some strange reason, he didn’t like the boisterous happy behaviour and posturing of labs. He had "a lab thing" going...
I have seen Pax defend himself only on one occasion, when a pushy dog tried to pick a fight with him. He stood up to him, and somehow dissipated the tension, calming down quickly. I never see him growl but he gets very emotional and even howls if we take him away from his favourite friends or “girlfriends”, as you can see in this video!
3. WORK ETHIC
Skai was a major workaholic, super obedient, loved instructions, commands, and being “bossed around!” Surprisingly, he also knew how to rest when at home, snoozing on the bed when I was working.
In contrast, Pax is a true “Bohemian”, let me explain. The word Bohemian is a latin version of the word Czech, and Bohemia stands for Czech Republic. Perhaps you have seen wine glasses or other goods Made in Bohemia. Now you know where they come from!
In fact, "Paxi" was born in Bohemia and he indeed lives up to his heritage. He is a more stubborn and freedom loving soul than Skai was. Happy, but not always listening when there is an opportunity to play and “party.” He is a true Bohemian, and even comes with proof of it because he has an EU doggy passport 🛂🐶.
To be fair, as he is maturing he is more willing to comply, especially when treats are involved. Plus, I love him to be a free-spirited dog!
The two dogs couldn’t be more different in that department! Skai loved sleeping on the bed, but wasn’t very cuddly. He didn’t like to be held or petted for very long, and had a very strong sense of his personal space. He would follow me from room to room, always close but never too close.
Pax on the other hand is a total cuddle bug. Since he was a puppy, he would love to be on his back, having his belly scratched and being smooched. He likes to be carried even at 55 lbs, and has the bad habit of wanting to jump up and kiss people when they come for a visit.
He howls when either my partner or I leave the house, as though we were never coming back.
That is a drawback, because unlike Skai who didn’t mind being alone, I think we have spoiled Pax just a bit.
The jury is still out on the topic of health, as Pax is still young but comparing Skai and Pax’s earlier years, they were quite different. Skai suffered from weak digestion and occasional bouts of diarrhea from the get go. He was easily chilled, and sought warmth, which makes sense because chilly dogs suffer from “lack of digestive fire". Skai also had a very sensitive back, perhaps because of his obsession with balls that I used to throw, because I didn’t know any better. Here is more info on the topic of the damage caused by obsessive play.
Skai taught me that diarrhea often relates to lumbar spine injuries from over-extension or slipping and sliding.
So far, Pax is more solid, strong, and recovers much faster than Skai did, which has been clear even this week. He is “a hot dog” and seeks out cool areas, has much better digestion, and an overall stronger constitution. However, he has a greater tendency to build up dental plaque and tartar than Skai did, but it is easy to address by following these dental care principles.
Pax is also a little more sensitive to pain and having his blood collected. Skai would just soldier on, Pax is a little bit of a baby.
As you may be aware, Skai was a designated service dog and Pax is now one too for my sleep walking, which means they can travel with me. Skai was super easygoing about flying, because he would just lie down and flip from side to side, even on a long haul flight. Pax started flying much earlier, and while he is always willing, sometimes he wants to play, roll around, or just stare at me for hours as if he were asking, “Are we there yet?”
Both of them were/are pretty good at travelling and put smiles on the faces of all the people they meet. They are also super well behaved in restaurants.
Here are a few pics from our travels.
Oh my, the girls! Both Skai and Pax were/are crazy about girls…especially when they talk in a high pitched excited voice. “Ahhh....he is sooo cuuute” You know what I mean. On such an occasion, Skai would politely sit beside them soaking up all the attention; while Pax, on the other hand, will leap 6 feet high to kiss them. It has been quite the training process to teach him that not everyone wants to be licked and kissed on the face.
Skai was a very obedient dog, which meant that if asked he would go into the water. He would also follow me when I went swimming, but would never jump into the water on his own. He just didn’t like to get wet.
Paxi is more like a Lab or a Golden Retriever! He is brave and daring, diving in and chasing the waves. Wherever there is water, he will be in it, wet, muddy, and very happy. He must have been an otter or a dolphin in his previous life!
As I am writing these lines, I realize that despite all the differences, Skai, Pax, and all other dogs are the same in their essence. They are concerned about us when we feel low, and content when they see us happy, and never judge us. They love the simple things in life, going for walks, joining us on adventures, and are always game. They also teach us countless lessons about how to be our best selves, which is especially important now.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM