Tag Archives: dogs

My Neck of the Woods: Chapter 6

594 Rang Sainte-Catherine, Saint-Victor, Quebec

May 2004 – February 2006

What can be said about the house at 594 Rang Sainte-Catherine? It was a fairly new building, but constructed using plans of an early Quebec settler’s house. Of course it had every modern facility. It was set on seventeen acres of woods and lawns, with tracks through the forest. The trees were mainly maples, firs, and pine. Outside the sitting room window was a large lake with trout. Near the lake was a maple syrup building where maple syrup could be processed once extracted from the trees.

We dug a large vegetable garden. What a productive garden it was! With the freezer full there was no need to buy vegetables over winter.

From the fallen pines Eric chopped up firewood for winter.

We bought a ride-on mower and mowed the substantial lawns and the tracks through the woods.

The wild life was fantastic. Herds of deer would pass through. An elk came to sniff the firewood. Radio warnings would be given of bears on the loose. The trout in the lake would crowd to the edge for food. How comfy it was to snuggle up in bed at night and hear packs of wolves out on a mission. It’s not the howling of wolves that causes the spine to tingle; it’s the wolves chattering. What are they talking about? Where are they going? What things are planned?

Doggie was getting old and more comfortable in his ways. We though he could do with a companion. We went to the animal rescue place and fell in love with the only dog that wasn’t barking at us, but was standing on his hind legs as if pleading to be taken. He had been the most abused dog that Animal Rescue had seen in years. Of course we took him. He was a big dog, and we called him Rusty. Doggie understood English; Rusty understood French. The two got on well. They both had free-range of the large property. Later, it was the deer hunting season and one evening Rusty didn’t return. We never saw him again. We think he may have been shot by hunters.

On weekends we would often go for a drive around the countryside. On this particular day we went to Thetford Mines. And there it was! A little puppy in the pet shop window!

We brought her home and called her Sedona. Doggie’s days were filled with teaching Sedona the tricks of being a dog. He would take her out in the snow way beyond the house, at a huge distance, and send her home on her own. It was fascinating to watch. The next day he would take her to the other side and do the same. He taught her to bark at squirrels up trees, and toss a ball, and even to eat the wild raspberries that grew in the woods. He taught her to lie in the snow with only the eyes showing.

The summers weren’t overly long, but were delightful. Winter would come with a vengeance. Usually there were at least three weeks at minus 40 Celsius. If you’re going to have a winter you might as well have one! Getting up at 4.30 am to snow-blow the driveway to get to work was a common activity. Once, a big storm came and the snow was piled higher that the garage door. It was far too much snow for our snow blower. Eric stopped the snow plough on the road as it passed. Do you reckon you could do our driveway? If the driver hadn’t been kind we’d still be there with shovels.

All things must end. I developed chronic heart disease. We would have to go to New Zealand for treatment. Eric resigned from work. We found homes each for Doggie and Sedona.  I can still see the little boy in Saint-Georges with Doggie on the lead taking “the big teddy bear” to show grandpa.

We sold our mower and snow-blower. We sold the furniture. We sold the good car, and kept the old car to take us to the train station in Quebec. The train would take us to Montreal where we’d catch a plane to Los Angeles. As it turned out we decided, once we were on our road, to drive to Montreal ourselves where we sold the car for $100!

The early morning was frozen. Our driveway was a sheet of ice. We slid down the drive in the car to the road like a skier. The last phone call at this delightful place had come in the middle of the night. It was a brother in New Zealand. It had been sudden. My mother had died.

1962. Interplanetary Cultural Exchange

(Today is the first of seven stories to celebrate Science Faction Weak).

Some of the more erudite among you may have heard of the literary genre of Science Fiction. If you haven’t – no matter. It is all made up stuff, which is why it is called Fiction. But this story here is Science FACTion. Those who regularly follow this blog know that it pulls no punches, takes no prisoners, and refuses stolidly to enter the airy-fairy world of make-believe.

This then, needless to say, is yet another true story proving once again that FACTion is stranger than FICTion.

Imagine the world-wide excitement when the Earth Government and the Government of our nearest inhabited planet, Loupchian, came to a mutual agreement; a scheme would be set up to allow for the interchange of students between the two planets. It would last about six months in each case. What a tremendous opportunity for artistic understanding! There was hardly a household on Planet Earth that didn’t want a LICK (Loupchian Interplanetary Cadet Kid).

The Loupchiens were a strange evolutionary line. They were like hairless dogs that walked around on two limbs and wore clothes. They were intelligent and showed an extraordinary facility for languages. Research had shown that it was a tiny insignificant event that had shoved the evolution of Homo sapiens in one direction and the Loupchiens into another. In fact, the Loupchian bipedal dog-look-alikes kept house pets that looked remarkably like homo sapiens. Except the homo sapiens pets were naked and dumb.

The exchange program went almost perfectly for a year. Thousands of LICKs were exchanged. Both sides became steeped in one another’s way of doing things. It was described as “a stunning bicultural enrichment”.

There were two things that rankled on Earth however. Those Earthings who returned could not be re-educated to stop bad habits they had picked up on the Loupchian Planet. The human boys would cock their legs to pee, and both sexes went around sniffing each other’s bottoms.

1115. Every dog has its day

God decided to call a meeting in Heaven for a semi-important announcement. God wanted to look averagely authoritative, so suggested having a pair of dogs to guard the steps on either side leading up to the throne. It would be like the stone Babylonian lions guarding the temple gates, although not so frightfully imposing.

St Michael the Archangel suggested using Afghan Hounds. They’re so majestic, what with their fine features and long hair.

Archangel Raphael suggested Bernese Mountain Dogs. They’re so big and imposing. They would lend authority and friendliness.

Archangel Gabriel had another idea. Why not a couple of Airedale Terriers? They have a wonderful playful streak that would delight everyone.

But God had other plans. The meeting was held. It turned out to be not that important. The assembly dispersed. But everyone was over the moon with excitement. Each one said the same thing: Did you notice that God chose MY dog to guard the steps to the throne?

1088. Woman in the park

Hello. Did I ever tell you? A few years ago I had the perfect household: five dogs, eight cats, and two humans. I had two border collies, a corgi, a schnauzer, and a chihuahua. The corgi thought it was a cat. It used to look after the baby kittens. Even lick them. The mother cat didn’t mind because she thought the corgi was a cat too.

When I married for a second time, quite late in life, my husband was off a farm and he had never had a pet dog, and that’s why I got him the two border collies. He adored them. These days it can get quite lonely without all these friends. That’s why I come for a walk in the park. What is your dog’s name?

Hello. Did I ever tell you? A few years ago I had the perfect household: five dogs, eight cats, and two humans. I had two border collies, a corgi, a schnauzer, and a chihuahua. The corgi thought it was a cat. It used to look after the baby kittens. Even lick them. The mother cat didn’t mind because she thought the corgi was a cat too.

When I married for a second time, quite late in life, my husband was off a farm and he had never had a pet dog, and that’s why I got him the two border collies. He adored them. These days it can get quite lonely without all these friends. That’s why I come for a walk in the park. What is your dog’s name?

Hello. Did I ever tell you…

1053. Microchipped

There’s one advantage being a vet. Let me tell you. I suspect my wife’s been playing up a bit when I work long hours. So I implanted one of those little radio transmitter things into her neck when she was asleep. The ones they use for dogs. She complained a bit about her neck being sore, so I looked and said it must be an insect bite. It’s easy to put in with a syringe.

They use these microchips on dogs, so if they stray or get stolen they can be tracked by satellite. So I did the implant and then I had to register her as a dog with the officials. I told them that the dog’s name was Chubby, it was a pure bred Rottweiler, I was the vet, and she was a bitch. They thought, my being a vet, that I was being technical when I said she was a bitch. But I wasn’t.

For a fee, the registry provides 24-hour, toll-free telephone service for the life of a pet. So I paid up, and I’ve tracked her a few times. So far this week she’s been to the supermarket three times and got Indian Takeaways once. She went to the Bargain Bin, to get some sugar, or so the Bargain Bin man told me when I called to ask.

I haven’t caught her doing anything wayward yet. You’d think she’d know by now that marriage is built on trust, so when I find out what she’s up to I’ll be telling her straight. Full blast.

Poems 27: Five bits of doggerel

(Over the years we’ve had five dogs. I know all pets are special, and the pets of others can become a little tedious. But since this month’s poetic form (for myself) is doggerel, I thought a tribute was in order!)

Doggie

I found my masters on my own –
A battered dog, I found a home.
I simply ran to where they lived.
For me to stay I’d give give give.
It worked!

Sedona

They got me as a tiny puppy
to keep old Doggie alert and huppy.
Doggie taught me all I know
like how to find my way in snow;
how to chase squirrels; climb a tree!
even taught me where to pee.
But most of all how to eat all the wild raspberries
(that grew in the woods)
and leave not a damn thing for anyone else.

Rusty

I was in a pound.
They were going to put me down.
I went to my new home and put on weight.
I was the only dog about that became bilingual,
understanding French and English.
And then a deer hunter came uninvited to my place
and shot me dead.
For fun.
C’est la vie.

Delia

I was allergic to everything – even food,
which is why I had such expensive tastes.
For eleven years I looked after everyone,
all day, every day,
especially the cow, the cat, and the goat.
Every now and then, all on my own,
I would bring home a wild turkey for all to have a feast.
One day we all went for a walk
(the cow didn’t come but everyone else did).
I came home, had a drink of water,
and died.

Bubble

I know men talk about my ears
And say they sprout a lot of hairs.
I really shouldn’t proudly boast:
For dogs, that’s cute; for men, that’s gross.

1005. Dogs

4dogs

I love all animals, but especially dogs. I seem to relate to dogs. That’s why I run an animals shelter. All sorts of dogs come in here; unwanted dogs and puppies abandoned by their callous owners. The local city council helps by giving money for the food. Thank goodness.

Of course, not every dog is a purebred. Some people want only a purebred, and other people don’t seem to mind. I must admit I’m a natural; I love every dog to bits!

You’ve no idea how many dogs come in here. There are dozens every month. I’m practically bursting at the seams. It’s almost impossible to find enough suitable people to take and care for them as household pets.

Only this morning this man came and said he wanted a dog. I said, there they all are. Pick one. And what did he do? He picked a girl dog. A girl is no good, I said, you wouldn’t understand her. You’ve no idea how a woman feels. You need to pick a boy dog. He said, but the boy dogs have all been operated on and I wouldn’t know how that feels either. Silly man. He left without taking a dog.

Then there was the toffee-nosed hoity-toity lady. She wanted a purebred. You could tell she wanted it so she could be la-de-da. I said, sorry madam, but there are simply no dogs currently available.

The little spotted dog is called “Measles”. A man selected him and said, “We’ll have to change the name”. Change the name! The dog is used to its name. There’s no way I would let him take it away to cruelly name-change.

So many people wanting dogs… Of course, I insist they do a basic two-week dog handling training before having a dog. And I like to personally inspect their yard to make sure it’s suitable for the breed of dog they want. Do they have children? Because if they do, bring them in so I can see if the children and dog are compatible. Also I insist a prospective owner visit five or six times first to test compatibility. It’s amazing how often people give up because they’re not suitable.

So many abandoned dogs! So few true dog lovers! Here comes a lady now. Goodness! She’s dropping off eleven unwanted puppies. Awwww! Aren’t they just sooooooo cute? I’ll have to give them names.

933. Dog lover

933dog

Sixteen year old Bernie didn’t just love dogs, he knew dogs. There can’t have been a dog in the town that Bernie at some stage hadn’t hugged. Be it a yapping Pekingese or a regal Irish Setter, each had been cuddled by Bernie.

And it was such a surprise too that he could be so tender. His father was in prison for goodness knows what and how many crimes. His mother had been in and out of prison, and in and out of the courtroom. Hopeless parents! But Bernie was a wonder! The bad kid turned good because he had a soft spot for dogs!

Bernie offered (for a small fee) to take business guard dogs for frequent runs. It was always great to have a guard dog watching over a factory or plant, but taking it for walks was a nuisance. Bernie’s offer to the businesses was a godsend. Often Bernie could be seen trotting along with a couple of Alsatians and a Rottweiler. Even a bunch of Pitbull Terriers!

“I don’t know what you’re doing to those dogs of mine,” said Harry, the manager of Carter and Carter, to Bernie. “I’ve got two Rottweilers on guard and the place has been broken into three times in the last two months.”

To listen to the story being read click HERE!