Catching Up with a Cool Canine

By Judy Layne

Magicians amaze us with their tricks. Comedians keep us in stitches with laughter. Babies melt our hearts with their endearing ways. I caught up with the parents of a cool canine that does all three of these things! His name is Jasper and he’s an adorable Nova Scotia SPCA alumni.

Jasper came into the SPCA’s care as his previous family was moving and were devastated that they couldn’t take him with them. A handsome Retriever Duck-Toller cross, Jasper won the hearts of staff and volunteers at the Yarmouth SPCA. He was well-mannered, loved to play fetch and everyone believed he would be an excellent adventure buddy for some lucky family. And they were right!

In March, Mike and Melanie Rogers decided they were ready to adopt a furry family member. They were keeping an eye on the SPCA website, looking for their perfect match when they saw Jasper. It was love at first sight. They filled out an application and got the call for a meet-and-greet. The couple live in Halifax, but just knew they had to make the trip to Yarmouth to meet Jasper. They headed down the next day.

Mike shared “We were goners in the first 5 seconds when we met him. He gets this cute little squinty-eyed thing going when he gets excited and his tail wags like crazy. He was immediately comfortable coming up to us and, and although very excitable, it was in an affectionate and loving kind of way. Then he snuggled right up to us, which we absolutely loved.”

It’s been said that homeless pets often choose us instead of us choosing them. Jasper is a prime example. Mike explained “When Jasper came out of the back room to meet us, he was holding a leash in his mouth and came over to give it to us. You could swear he was saying ‘I choose you. Take me home!’ We knew we had found our partner in crime!”

Jasper adapted to his new family and home straightaway. Melanie related “We brought a little stuffed monkey with us to Yarmouth so Jasper would have something comforting for the ride home. He’s been carrying that little monkey around with him ever since and takes it everywhere he goes! He’s never had an accident and stays in our backyard with us around the firepit without having to be tied up. He has a bed he sleeps on in our room at night and another one that he hangs out on in my office during the day. He’s definitely carved out his own space and his favorite spots to soak up the sunshine.”

Jasper is an amazing adventure buddy. “He enjoys all kinds of adventures,” said Mike. “Maybe a little too much because in the car, he can’t sit still! He knows he’s off to do something fun or meet someone new. He loves hiking with us on the trails around our neighborhood. He’s also a civilized gentleman, happily hanging out with us at restaurant and pub patios, so we don’t have to leave him at home.”

But Jasper’s tricks and talents don’t end there. “Jasper is a true jock,” exclaimed Melanie. He enjoys catching a frisbee, but his favorite sport is volleyball. You get a volleyball out and he goes berserk! He likes you to toss it to him and then he bumps it over the net with his snout (don’t worry, we use this really light ball so it doesn’t hurt is nose).” Can you believe that Jasper has even learned to kayak with his loved ones? “We trained him to go kayaking with us, and he’s only jumped out once so far (no worries since he always wears his life jacket!)”

Jasper’s ways are so endearing. Melanie laughed “He constantly forgets that he knows how to swim. Retriever and Duck Toller-cross you say? Natural swimmer for sure, right? Nope, he gets in over his head and flops around like a fish out of water for the first 15-20 seconds until (once again) he goes ‘Oh yeah, I know how to swim!’” Jasper is also infatuated with ears – both human and dog! Mike said “My brother’s poor golden retriever Stanley (also a rescue) doesn’t like other dogs around his head and all Jasper wants to do is sniff and nibble at his ears,” said Mike. “Stanley spends the entire visit sticking his head behind furniture while Jasper tries to figure out ways to get at his ears!”

The couple say that Jasper is the best ‘treat’ they could ever hope to receive. “He is so loved and he brings tons of laughter to our house. He’s a bit of a goofball which makes him super-entertaining to watch. And he gets us out of the house, motivating us to exercise and be out with nature. We moved to Nova Scotia from Edmonton in 2019 once all our kids were out of the house, so it’s nice to have someone to care for again. (By the way, Jasper is waaaaaay easier to look after than a bunch of teenagers!).” It appears that everyone loves Jasper. Mike shared “When we go to visit my parents in PEI, Jasper gets greeted first (we are now an afterthought; in fact I’m not sure we’d be welcome if we didn’t bring him!). He has even spent the day at one of our friend’s office, and all her coworkers want to know when she gets to dog-sit Jasper again so they can have another ‘therapy’ day!”

The couple’s advice for people contemplating getting a pet? “If you are ready for a pet, we guarantee there is a pet out there ready for you! Please adopt; these animals need loving homes so badly. Even though we know we won the adoption lottery with Jasper (he’s pretty spectacular), every animal is special and they are all spectacular in their own unique and wonderful way.”


Prepare for cuteness.  Here are more of Jasper’s hilarious tricks. 

 Melanie shared “One of Jasper’s ‘tricks up his sleeve’ is what we like to call the ‘creep.’ We make him sit on the landing at the top of our stairs above us while we put our shoes on to go for a walk – otherwise, he keeps nosing our hands so we can’t tie our laces. Jasper will get his monkey and sit with it in his mouth at the top of the stairs. He will then ‘accidentally’ drop it down a stair, go down to get it, sit on that step, and then ‘accidentally’ drop it again until he is at the bottom of the stairs.”

 Jasper also collects sticks on his walks – the bigger the better. Mike said “It doesn’t phase him at all to drag along an 8 foot ‘tree’ for a solid 30 minutes. Sticks are very important to Jasper, like a status symbol or something.”



Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-mama to Gracie. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.