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Nara the cheerful Celt

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Nicole McGarvey

Photo of Nara with her family Nicole and Noel McGarvey

Dressed in one of her many colorful bandanas, Nara with her family Nicole and Noel McGarvey enjoy a beautiful Colorado day hiking Guanella Pass.

Meet Nara McGarvey, a 6-year-old rescued mixed-breed canine. Nara was fortunate to find her fur-ever home on October 11, 2014 through Every Creature Counts, an animal rescue organization. Nara’s owners, Nicole and Noel McGarvey do not know Nara’s exact breed, but what they do know is that Nara is their furry four-legged baby that is full of joy.

Nara (pronounced “nawruh”) received her Celtic name from her joyful personality. Nara means “happy” and “cheerful” in Celtic. She can be found hiking the trails with a colorful yellow, pink or even camo bandana. She is enthusiastic, smart, a fast learner, attentive, playful and is always by her owner’s side ready to play and protect. With these traits, it is likely that Nara is a mix of Labrador and border collie.

Nara had the McGarveys at first bark. At 5 to 7 months old and crated alongside younger puppies, Nara was eager to get the attention of just one potential pet owner. On adoption day, the younger pups were the main attraction and Nara wanted in on the action. Nicole shared that Nara would bark to get anyone’s attention – including theirs. The McGarveys decided to visit her crate and learn more about this vocal pup. After a short walk they knew right away she was the perfect addition to their family. This immediate bond saved Nara a life of languish in a shelter due to her dark coloring.

Photo of Nara the dog.

Nara loves her daily walks to get the mail but enjoys them more in the snow. Not shy of the camera, Nara smiles will surely get her a Starbucks puppuccino and another shout out on Starbucks Instagram.

Black dog syndrome (BDS) or big black dog syndrome is a phenomenon in which black dogs are passed over for adoption in favor of lighter colored animals. BDS could be due to a stigma toward specific breeds of dogs. It could be that black dogs do not photograph well on shelter websites, or that some adopters feel large black dogs look aggressive, making it hard to read their facial expressions.

Nara – also called “Narabar,” “Narsky,” or “Nar Nar” – is far from aggressive. She has attended doggie school at Hobnob Pet Daycare the last six years and has made many furry friends and is popular with the daycare staff. They love how sweet Nara is and how she asks for hugs throughout the day. They say her eyes will pull you in as though she can see right into your soul.

A few of Nara’s favorite games to play with friends, staff and family include peek-a-boo where she covers her eyes with her paws and she loves to jump for snowballs. The McGarveys do not have children of their own, but consider Nara and their cat, Aspen, their children. Just like children, Nara shares a passion for outings at Elk Ridge Park and treats at Starbucks.

October 1 of each year is National Black Dog Day. Help break the stereotypes of black dogs and encourage the adoption of a dog in darker shades to save them from being euthanized or sheltered long term. For more information, visit



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