Thursday, April 28, 2005
Husband, Buttercup, Husbands friend, Leonard, Craig
Well, what a debacle. It poured rain as soon as I hit New Brunswick and it didn't stop until I arrived back in Northern New Brunswick a week later. God did not want us to have a good time. The vacation was awful on so many levels that it's going to take me weeks to recover. I'm lucky to have come back alive. Where should I start? It's normally a 22 hour drive from Halifax to Ontario and it took me 48 hours with the dogs. I had already planned on sleeping in the car instead of trying to find hotels with 4 dogs so that was okay - but I hadn't really planned on everything in the car getting WET because of it raining and us getting in and out of the car for pee breaks every few hours so that was gross.
I was very happy though that I didn't get lost ONCE on the way up - I have NO sense of direction - I get lost going to Dartmouth - so I was very proud of the fact that I was able to navigate my way with no problems at all. I wasn't so lucky on the way home however. I got lost 3 times just getting out of Toronto and then took a wrong turn at Riviere de Loupe and didn't notice until I was about 1/2 hour past Rimouski - so that added about 4 hours to my ride home. That sucked. Especially since as I was pulling into Moncton to get gas at 140 kms an hour onto the off ramp I put the brakes on and felt a "pop" and then nothing - no brakes. I had busted a brake line - so we're all lucky to be alive literally. Somehow I was able to stop the car from 140 kms an hour to nothing without crashing it and pull into the gas station. I called a tow truck and there started an adventure that ended with me meeting a British couple at the Moncton airport after I was unable to rent a car or find a hotel room in Moncton because of the dogs because the garage wouldn't look at my car that night (I had taken it to the garage at 8:45pm) - they were at the airport to buy plane tickets for later in the week and they saw me standing there absolutely stranded with all these dogs crying and a puppy howling (I'll get to the puppy in a second!) and they just picked me up and took complete care of me! They took Charlie, Daisy and the puppy to a kennel that they take their yorkie to - Wagging Tail Inn and then took me and Buttercup to their house for the night. It was the best B&B I've ever been to! haha! They were super! It was the best part of my vacation - and the most relaxing - so the potentially worst thing turned out to the best best part! Isn't it neat how things happen like that?
Only in Atlantic Canada could you find people at an airport who would actually be the people they make themselves out to be and be actually genuinely nice people. It was awesome. I hope their kindness is repaid back to them 10 fold somehow.
The next day my car was fixed - my kind benefactors drove me to pick up Daisy, the puppy and Charlie back to the garage and we were on our way back home. And that was the end of the vacation so I could get home and recuperate.
But back to the Ontario bit. My main goal had been to drive up and deliver Leonard to her Dad which I did and that went really well - Leonard recognized him and was overjoyed to see him. I did a bit of shopping and had just about the worst migraine of my life - I probably threw up about 30 times. It was awful.
Then I went to supper with my sister, her husband and my beloved 81 year old uncle who I had just spent the afternoon with and taken some amazing pictures of. He breeds blue tick coonhounds and I love him dearly. I've only seen him a few times in my life and I know I've lost out immensely by not being around him. The couple times I have seen him have meant more than anyone can know. At supper I had my digital camera out and was proudly showing the pictures I had taken of my uncle that afternoon of him and his dogs because they were so beautiful and how I was going to treasure them forever and my brother-in-law started fooling with my camera and then he looked at me and said that he had just deleted all the pictures on my camera.
I was devastated. More than that, I was crushed. Absolutely. I couldn't believe it. I take a lot of pictures of everything because I need them in order to remember things. I had a brain injury a couple years ago and since then I have memory problems. I take pictures to help my memory. Without those pictures of that afternoon with my uncle - then that time is now gone for me. It is impossible to articulate how you can feel about having an entire period of your life erased - unintentially - but erased nonetheless. The thing about taking pictures yourself is that when you take the picture the person you're taking the picture of is looking at YOU. That can't be replaced.
Oh well, one good thing about my memory problem is that I also can't hold on to bad feelings, so the vacations over, my memory's are gone, but so are the bad feelings. It's like it's all never happened. It's good for some things anyway!
Are you wondering about the puppy that was crying in the airport? I went up with 4 dogs to Ontario and came back with 5! I got a call while I was up there that 2 eight week old pit bull puppies needed to get from Belleville Ontario to their new homes in Fredericton and Windsor Nova Scotia so from some crazy reason I said yes. Oy! I'd forgotten what puppies were like! That was an adventure all in itself. But they both went to their new homes and they both arrived healthy and happy so it worked out. All pit bulls born after a certain date have to get out of Ontario before the end of August or be killed - so they definitely had to get out. Their new owners definitely saved their lives because they would've definitely died in Ontario. Stupid province.
Okay - now on to the dog parks in Ontario. It's kind of interesting. We only got to a few in Toronto and it was raining like hell when we went to High Park and it was deserted and I can understand why - whatever they put down on the trails in High Park is absolutely disgusting when it's wet. It sticks to you like the worst dirt/mud imaginable. Oh it was gross. So I can understand why no one would want to go there when it's raining. I absolutely did NOT like High Park - there were VEHICLES driving through it! It seemed like every trail we went on had a road at the top of the hill - and the dogs were always a little ahead of me - so they were always in danger of being hit by a car because I didn't know where we were at any given moment. That scared the crap out of me. Maybe if I knew the trail system it wouldn't be so bad. It seemed to be a combination of Point Pleasant Park with Seaview Park thrown in the middle - but I never did find "Dog Hill". Which was one of my main goals in going to Toronto - to go to the fabled "Dog Hill" - but I didn't find it. The rain and the mud and the CARS in the park got the better of me. Point Pleasant Park does not have any vehicles except for the park cops and the workers. I was scared shitless by that actually.
What I thought was REALLY neat about Toronto though was the idea of their vibrant park community. The idea that all the little parks throughout all the neighbourhoods having all the regular dogs in the area going to the parks in their local boroughs there everyday.
In Halifax people who exercise their dogs regularly tend to go to the 2 offical "off leash" park - Point Pleasant Park and Seaview Park - every day. They travel great distances in order to exercise their dogs at these parks. It seems like in Toronto that people utitlize the green spaces in their own neighbourhoods and take ownership of those spaces - which is thought was REALLY neat.
In my ex-husbands neighbourhood for instance the park even has a huge website. It's called "Friends of Dufferins Grove Park" and they have a section of the website just dedicated to the dogs.
I think that is a super neat idea! Imagine if all the green spaces of Halifax were actually used! We have lots of little parks that get no use at all. All they do is collect garbage that's blown in from the streets around them. But imagine if they did actually get used by dog owners in the area as unofficial off-leash play areas and were taken care of by those owners. Sort of "squatted on" by them. What if we built up our own "vibrant community" there?
They aren't ball fields or play areas - they are sort of grey areas in the city by-laws. It's an idea to ponder.......
Oh yeah - the picture above was grabbed from the view finder of the video camera that I took - we didn't get to be bad ANYWHERE because of the rain. Now THAT sucked!
The killer dog, Daisy
Daisy is not an easy dog to own. That is for sure. She is a dominant dog and I'm always being called to task for her behaviour - but she is by no means a dangerous dog. One of the problems with the city I live in and am continually fighting against is the fact that other dog owners have no capacity for normal dog-dog interaction and sometimes it makes me literally sick to my stomach. Tonight I was called the reason why dog owners are given a bad reputation. I just looked at the guy. I wanted to say to him - "you have no idea". 2 minutes earlier he had just attempted to punch Daisy while he was dangling his basselope by the neck 2 feet in the air because Daisy had done her nightly Seaview duty of running up to them at full speed talking to them at full blast like only Daisy can. Quite typical dog park behaviour actually. It just happened to be coming out of a 70 pound black and tan dog. It was also coming out of a 15 pound terri-poo right behind her but no one seemed to mind that. (Buttercup).
If the current trends continue it won't matter - the pinheads of the world will win and dogs like Daisy - dogs that look like Daisy anyway - won't exist anymore. The Sue Sternberg world will win out and only dogs under 35 pounds will be born. Anything else will be banned - so the behaviours will still all exist, but the nastiness and scariness of the size of the dogs will be gone. Won't that be a lovely world? No rotties, no pit bulls, then no german shepherds, saint bernards, collies, bouviers, labrador retrievers, or anything else over 35 pounds. Nothing scary to run up to your little dogs that make you want to punch them and tell their owners that they are what is ruining the world and making it bad for everyone.
It makes me fucking sick. I'd like to refer once again to some wonderful dog park guidelines that I've referred to before - one is from Waterloo Ontario - a leash free park called "Dogerloo" that talks about just what happened tonight specifically if Mr Pinhead happens to come upon this - which I'm sure he won't - unless my best friend Carla once again clues in and finds who he is and tells him who I am - but that page is at http://www.dogerloo.com/guidelines.htm and then there's also the pamphlet I made up specifically for Seaview based on the Goodpooch.com's wonderful website which is at http://dogkisser.blogspot.com/2004/06/pamphlet-i-made-for-seaview-park.html
Idiot's of the world, unite.
Monday, April 18, 2005
They say that only 20% of dogs die in the homes they go to as puppies. There were 12 puppies in the litter that Charlie and Leonard were born with. I'd say that their back yard bred litter are pretty much following the statistics perfectly.
My friend Tara saw the above ad in the window at the Companion Animal Hospital this past Saturday over in Cole Harbour. At the top it reads "six year old sheltie/lab mix neutered male free to good home. Please call Cheryl at 434-1369. It is undoubtably a litter mate of Charlie, Leonard, Philip, Conrad, and Solie's. And I'd be willing to bet money that his name is Zorro. I met him once with his owner's down at Point Pleasant Park - they said they lived in Cole Harbour and they took him most often to Bisset Park. He looked exactly like Leonard in the face and he was in between Leonard and Charlie in size. He was like Leonard in temperament - jumpy and skittish. So that will make Charlie, Solie, Philip, Zorro, their mother, an unknown female who were with Charlie and Solie - 50% at least - of the dogs have gone through the rescue system at least once so far. And Leonard's been bounced back and forth between "Mom and Dad" - and she's going back to "Dad" tomorrow - which is where she belongs, actually.
So if you're looking for a nice dog - you should call Cheryl at 434-1369 - if you go get him I'll give you a really nice dog quilt and some yummy liver when I get back from Toronto - and you'll also get a nice built in dog-family because I'd already consider him a member of my family and I'd love to stay in touch!
Friday, April 15, 2005
On Tuesday me and the dogs are driving from Halifax up to Toronto. A couple months ago I contacted the ex-husband to see if his life was in a place where he might like to take Leonard back. Leonard was originally his dog - and he said that he thought it was - so we're driving up to deliver her to him. She's a super high strung dog and I'm pretty sure that putting her on a plane would kill her. And it's a good excuse to take a vacation.
She's never seemed to adapt very well to all the dogs coming and going that I've fostered and when Philip left a couple months ago it was like that was the last straw - she's just been implacably unhappy since then. She always stays by herself and won't come out and play with us in the living room at all. She just seems desperately lonely like as if she wants to have her own person that she doesn't have to share at all. And she has always seemed as if she's never gotten over missing the husband. That's someting that me and my animal communicator friend have always agreed on. It's like she's always looking for him. Waiting. And yet he never comes. So she's had this inconsolable sadness about her. So now he's agreed to take her back and hopefully she can be happy again. I've just had this shang-ri-la vision for her of them in a dog park in Ontario of him throwing the chuck-it for her and her running blissfully after the ball. Because that's all she's ever cared about. Him, and balls. And now she'll have both. It'll be sweet if that is actually what she's been waiting for all these years.
So we're going to go up and I'll drop Leonard off and then have a vacation - I'm calling it a road trip to see how many places we can be bad in. We're just going to drive around for 2 weeks and see what's going on everywhere. I'm really interested to see what people's reactions are to the dogs in different places and if they're different than here in Halifax. Especially since BSL's been passed in Ontario - I'm pretty sure that we're going to get a lot of hassle in Ontario. I'm taking a video camera with me so it's all going to be video-taped.
So there won't be any posts for 2 weeks starting on Tuesday April 19th - and if you live in Ontario watch out for a silver Honda Civic Hatchback with Nova Scotia licence plates that's got a couple black dogs and a froo froo barking like crazy. You should probably stay away because I'll be totally lost and most likely in the wrong lane!
Thursday, April 14, 2005
These are 2 dogs who if they lived in Ontario would be dead right now. Lucy - the white dog is a pit bull puppy who was taken to be killed when she was about 6 weeks old but was saved and Lexi's an am-staff mix - they're both sweet, happy, dog-friendly well socialized dogs who go to the dog park every day and love to play! And THANK DOG they live in HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA!!!
An awesome picture of Leonard's eyes don't you think?
What is that flash of white that just went by me......
Nellie is about 17 years old and still comes to Seaview twice a day and yodels on top of the hill. And stares at me the whole time she's there waiting for some liver to drop out of my pockets...
Friday, April 8, 2005
Seals from HSUS site
In my regular list of emails today I got my weekly Peta spam and in there was an appeal from Anna Nicole Smith to please stop that 'bloody seal hunt that's killing all those poor defenceless baby seals'. That's almost as bad as having that MacGyver guy going to PEI a few weeks ago to check out what they're doing to the baby seals. But I clicked on the link and watched the IFAW video attached to Anna Nicole's most adolescent plea and I suddenly realized that the seal killing IS just as horrible as the factory farming horror that's affected so many of us to the point that our lives have been changed on a moment to moment basis. That video is compelling and really should be watched. That, in addition to Rebecca Aldworth's article about watching the one seal die - that article really reminded me about downed cows and watching them die in parking lots and how people who find them feel so helpless in watching them die.
It's all so horrible and all so useless and all so unnecessary.
Another thing about the seal hunt that's bothering me that I've only seen written in one spot is the fact that there's 3 million seals and supposedly there's this huge cull going on because they're eating all the cod. In nature if they were eating all the cod so that there were none then there wouldn't be 3 millions seals! The system would self-correct itself. So obviously they must be eating something other than cod that is as equally plentiful as themselves - so to be killing them to bring up the cod stocks is faulty logic.
But then at the same time I'm ashamed to be among members of the animal rights community when they're doing things like calling fishermen at their home and threatening them. I belong to a Yahoo email group that were talking very freely about what they were doing and where they got the phone numbers from and what they were saying and they were very happy to be doing it and felt very righteous to be doing it. When they started doing that I was sure they were going too far and I was ashamed. And then there's articles like the one in the Toronto Star that talks about how much of a money maker that the seal hunt is for animal rights organizations and I think that's very wrong too. That makes way more money than any money the fishermen make by the slaughter of the animals. If the hunt stops the animal rights organizations will suffer the most! What will they do then?
I'm willing to bet everything that I own that Anna Nicole owns leather products and eats meat. And the makeup that she wears has been tested on animals - and that she's had some botox injected into some parts of her face somewhere. But at the bottom of that page is a little video that is very compelling that has nothing to do with her that has made me see things differently today. Despite Anna Nicole and despite Rebecca being paid by the HSUS and despite it being filmed by the IFAW. It shows sentient beings that I've actually seen swimming alive and sunning themselves and seen dead and seen my dogs rolling on with unconditional glee on the beach - running for their lives from men with pointy sticks - and most of them not being successful. And like Oprah says - "Once you've seen that, you can't deny that it doesn't happen".
Daisy having a good roll on a dead seal at Conrad's beach in Feb 2005
I think now I'll get back to talking about dogs again though...