Meet Our 2018 Cover Calendar Winner
Polar Bear, Hero #1785, is one photogenic dog and his owner, Pablo Ertze, played up all of Polar Bear’s best features when submitting close to 300 photos of his hero to the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study 2017 Calendar.
The photos highlighted Polar Bear’s active lifestyle, and Pablo was able to capture many images of their amazing adventures together. Polar Bear, who has been enrolled in the study since August 2014, and Pablo make quite the study team, along with Polar Bear’s study veterinarian, Dr. Kathy Henderson with Alta Rancho Pet and Bird Hospital.
We recently got a chance to catch up with Polar Bear’s owner to learn a little bit more about them.
How did you become aware of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, and what made you decide to enroll Polar Bear?
We found out about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study through a touching Morris Animal Foundation sympathy card we received when our beloved Pooklook crossed over the rainbow bridge. About a month later, when Polar Bear came into our lives, we knew that Polar’s participation in this study would be a great way to honor Pooklook and all other dogs that have battled cancer. Being part of it is really the least we can do.
Can you share with us a little about your life with Polar Bear and the things you like to do together?
Polar, my wife and I live a simple quiet life, the three of us are a family and we love him unconditionally as our son. We try to be responsible parents and give him a wholesome, healthy and happy life. Fortunately, we’re able to provide him a balanced active lifestyle; mellow throughout the week and adventurous on weekends. What makes Polar happiest is being with his mom and dad; whether cuddling and couching through movie marathons, or out hiking with his dad and exploring nature.
Tell us about Polar Bear’s personality. Does he have a favorite game? Toys? What stories do you tell about him when chatting with friends?
Polar is such a sweet, gentle, chilled kiddo –somewhat independent. A friend once described him as “the laid-back sea turtle from the movie ‘Finding Nemo.’” There could be other dogs around (friendly or not), wildlife, fireworks, you name it –and he’ll just cruise by, he’s fearless and collected.
He’s so sensitive and in tune with our personalities –almost as if he has a ”mom/dad” switch. One second he could be in the middle of intense roughhouse play and wrestling with his dad, yet the next second he transforms into a tender cuddle bunny with just the gentlest slightest touch from his mom –sometimes, even if we’re in the middle of full-on ruckus, all she needs to do is sit next to him and he’ll do the switch.
As far as toys go . . . ay ay ay, let’s just say their fate proves unfortunate in a few minutes. The only toy that has ever survived his wrath is one of those black Kong Extreme –and its days are probably numbered as well.
How did they he get his name?
There’s actually a threefold reason for Polar Bear’s name. We wanted his name to begin with a “P” to remind us of Pooklook, also my wife has always loved polar bears, and finally when he was a baby his hairless belly was pretty dark –like the actual skin of a polar bear. It just made sense . . . until someone says “bye Polar” to him, hehe!
Do you have other pets? Tell us about them.
No other pets, just our kiddo.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, too. Things like career, hobbies, any volunteering that you like to do.
My wife and I are both industrial designers; luckily she works from home so Polar barely ever has to be alone. We very much enjoy trying to take him with us everywhere we go and to involve him in everything we do, as well as taking care of all of his hygiene and grooming needs since it strengthens our bond as a family.
After my brain tumor surgery, Polar demonstrated great temperament to be a therapy/assisting dog throughout every stage of my recovery. At that time I even considered properly training my therapy buddy in order to do volunteering work. However, after serious consideration, I know he’s happiest out there hiking and living outdoor adventures –in fact, I wouldn’t be doing any of it without him, his joy is my reason.
Tell us anything else that you would like to share with our little Golden Retriever Lifetime Study community.
We only hope that whether by sharing Polar’s life with this story or through photos on his Instagram page, our love for him might somehow inspire others.
By purchasing the calendar featuring our precious hero dogs, your donation will help us fund the groundbreaking Golden Retriever Lifetime Study — the largest and most comprehensive observational canine study in veterinary medicine in the United States. Order your 2018 study calendar.