intertext: (small mis'able dog)
Sunday, February 12th, 2012 06:39 pm
Robinson's death has hit me hard. Also, the general feeling of doglessness. I haven't been without a dog, except for when on holiday, for eighteen years. And only for brief periods in my whole life. And maybe I'm at the best of times a bit lonely, and a dog is a comforting Presence in one's life, even when it is old and infirm and sleeping most of the time.

So I did something a bit foolish. Yesterday, I went on the SPCA website, and there was a 4-month old pointer-terrier cross puppy who looked out at me and I kind of fell in love with. I stomped around yesterday and thought "no, it's too soon..." but this morning I thought, "ok, if it's still there..." and went down to see her. There was a couple ahead of me, but they decided against her. So I filled in my application. And the SPCA turned me down. For all the right reasons. This puppy has already had three homes and is already showing signs of separation anxiety. They want someone for her who ideally has another dog, and maybe in a family where someone will be home a lot. Also they were worried about my two cats, because this dog isn't proven to get along with cats. You know, and I know, that she probably would have been fine, and probably would have been a great fit. But they didn't know that, and I don't blame them. And as I told them, it's probably too soon anyway. But of course when I told them that I'd just lost another dog, I started crying. So I felt embarrassed for myself on top of everything else.

And now I feel even more bereft than I did before, because I'd realized how badly I want this hole in my heart to be filled, and how empty I feel now.
intertext: (Default)
Saturday, June 4th, 2011 10:03 am
Ate ten prawn shells last night. Of course, that means that stupid owner left them somewhere where dog could get them (and ate 10 spot prawns all by herself nom nom nom).

Anyway, dog doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects. He slept as soundly as only a deaf old dog can, and doesn't appear to have had any tummy upset.

intertext: (robinson)
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 06:25 pm
You have to drive him (two and a half blocks) to the dog park.
You are ecstatic when you realize that he's still breathing, though deeply asleep.
You use your mother's wheelchair lift to get him up and down the front steps of the house.
You have little pieces of yoga mat all around your house, to give him traction on your wood floor.
Your cat doesn't take him seriously.
intertext: (Default)
Monday, November 8th, 2010 06:02 pm
I am saddened to have to report that Robinson is taking Zoe's death very well indeed.

He has been downright perky, and seems more relaxed than he's been for a while.

Zoe was a darling, but she could be quite unpleasant to Robinson. As a friend of mine said, "They don't call them 'bitches' for nothing!"

Robinson is a sweet, unassuming, gentlemanly dog, and couldn't stand up to her. I think he's glad she's gone.

And he's been very attentive to me, as only a sweet dog very closely bonded to his person can be when his person is distressed. As I have been. I'd forgotten just how effing painful grief can be.

Zoe may have been a bitch, but I do miss her.

But Robinson and Tabitha are my creature comforts.

And you! Thank you for all the messages of condolence. They really mean a lot.
intertext: (small mis'able dog)
Sunday, November 7th, 2010 02:02 pm
Zoe Smiling

I made the decision this morning to take Zoe to be euthanized. I was going to say "the difficult decision," but it wasn't, really. She's been failing for some time, and went downhill very rapidly in the last couple of days. She was barely eating or drinking, had lost control of bladder and bowels, and was resisting being asked to get up even to pee, let alone for a walk. I could have let her sleep her days out in a diaper, but there didn't seem much point, especially when I could see she was in pain. So the deed is done. She went to sleep, gently, with her head in my lap and me telling her what a good wee girlie she was.

I only knew her for just over a year, but she was a sweet, darling dog, and I shall miss her greatly.
intertext: (my boys)
Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 06:28 pm
I can't believe that I never tried out the "movie" function on my little toy digital camera before now.

This could be the start of something big...

Anyway, here's my first official upload to YouTube: "Robinson comes when he's called"
It's really, really, short.

If you're lucky, I might upload "Robinson chases a ball" tomorrow.
I'm not sure whether or not I wish I had one of Cholmondeley. It would probably make me cry to watch it.
intertext: (maple leaf)
Saturday, October 6th, 2007 04:35 am
I played hooky from marking on Friday afternoon to take the d's and my camera out into the gorgeous Fall sunshine and for a walk at Mt Doug. I'm so glad I did, because rumour has it that the weather will be not so good for the w/end, which in a way I'm pleased about as it gives me a good excuse to stay in and mark papers.

The d's and I had a wonderful walk, though; I was so happy that Cholmondeley made it to the top of "mini Doug." He had to be helped up a couple of steep spots, and he was tired after, but I'll have a happy afternoon with him to remember.

Also, I live in a spectacularly beautiful place, as you will see behind the cut )
intertext: (my boys)
Monday, August 27th, 2007 03:52 pm
Sore, but nothing too serious, thank heavens.

When we went for our walk yesterday, Robinson suddenly started limping quite badly, and when we got home he was very quiet and sorry for himself. When I got home from my movie expedition, I found him lying on the floor not wanting to get up. He didn't eat his supper and was in quite obvious pain overnight (whimpering every time he had to move).

So off to the vet we went this morning, and he's spent the day being prodded, x-rayed and having a chiropractic alignment. The upshot is that although he shows some minor arthritic changes in his neck, he doesn't show any serious damage, and may in fact have had a pulled muscle. I've got some anti-inflammatory to give him as needed (I don't like using it, but it does help to ease the pain when necessary). He's also supposed to rest (ha ha) and will have another chiropractic treatment on Thursday.

Of course, my wallet (or credit card) is lighter by over $500 - so much for the new lens for my camera! - but it's worth it to know that he's okay.
intertext: (my boys)
Sunday, August 12th, 2007 07:59 pm
I spent a most enjoyable morning and part of the afternoon meeting [ profile] brinian and her beardie Brin at the Beardie Specialty show which just happened to be in Victoria this year. It was also a chance for me and "the boys" to catch up with "family" in the form of their breeder, his wife, daughter and sister and other acquaintances from the Beardie world. It was so great meeting [ profile] brinian and Brin-the-dog, and great that Brin-the-dog earned his Canadian Championship while I watched!

Dog shows are funny things. Anyone who has seen "Best in Show" has a sense of what it's all about. But it was lovely watching all the beautiful beardies.

Pic spam behind the cut )
intertext: (Default)
Friday, July 13th, 2007 08:25 pm
My darling Chums is fourteen years old today.

Read more... )
intertext: (my boys)
Sunday, June 17th, 2007 05:12 pm
I've spent the last several days pleasantly in early summer domestic pursuits. On Thursday, I went downtown to investigate a new produce market I had read about in the paper. More of a stall than a market per se, it nevertheless proved to be what could be a welcome addition to downtown. It is run by chefs, who volunteer their time, and all the profits go back to the farmers whose produce they are selling. They had wonderful fresh salad greens, new potatoes, peas, the first green beans, some morels, and some strawberries, though these were more or less gone by the time I got there. I filled a bag with goodies and had a lovely supper that night of fresh salad, morel omelet and new potatoes. Oh, and I also stopped in at an Italian gourmet cooking shop and bought some wonderful olive oil pressed with lime, which makes the best salad dressing.

Friday, I decided to take the D's and do some more veggie shopping in the peninsula, stopping at Island View Beach for the dogs to have a run on the way. I also stopped in at a garden center, with predictable results. On this forage, I came home with strawberries.

I have spent much of yesterday and today in the garden, planting my purchases. My upper bed, under the deck where it gets full sun, is now rehabilitated and finished - I've been planting it with things of brighter colours than those in my main perennial bed. I'm also making pots filled with things both edible and decorative, a mixture of calendula, arugula, coriander, nasturtiums and so on. These will be on my deck so that I can go and snip things when I'm cooking.

The boys snuffled around happily and lazed in the sun. I think I've finally nobbled Robinson, having found and patched the hole in the fence where he was getting out. At least he seemed content (and resigned) today to hang out in the garden with me. Tonight it's more of the market salad, which I shall mix with melon and dress with a nice mix of lime olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and a handful of chopped basil. This I shall serve with baked chicken breast and new potatoes. Yum.
intertext: (Paris lights)
Saturday, May 26th, 2007 11:23 am
Chien Parisien

Robert Altman's "Ready to Wear" notwithstanding, I have only seen one serious pile of dog poop in three weeks. I have seen a lot of dogs, though, and thought I should take the opportunity to make a few observations about them. The Parisians seem to like small dogs best. I would say 90% of those I've seen have been in the "toy" dog category. Miniature poodles, of course, shitzu types, terriers of various descriptions, though only the small ones, no airedales or wheatens. Lots of Yorkies.

What has surprised me is that I've seen more dogs in disrepair, more genuinely scruffy dogs, more really disreputable dogs here in three weeks than in a lifetime in Canada. For a city that prides itself on fashion and grooming, and whose people seem on the outside at least to be quite fastidious, noone seems to pay much attention to the condition of their dogs. This is not just dogs in some need of a haircut, but dogs who are half bald and have skin problems, dogs that look as if they are one solid matt, as well as dogs with just plain bad haircuts.

Yet the Parisians quite obviously adore their dogs and give them privileges we in Canada can only dream of. At Mont St Michel, the couple at the table next to me at the fancy restaurant brought their miniature poodle (name of Gadget, I found out later) in with them. Gadget mostly slept quietly under the table all evening, but once or twice popped out and gave a plaintive paw to his owners, and once came over to say good evening to me. I was of course delighted, but could only think of the coffee shop in Victoria that closed down because it encouraged people to bring dogs in to a space shared with those who were actually drinking coffee... heaven forbid. Meanwhile, in Paris there are dogs on the Metro, dogs in shops, dogs everywhere having nice walks on the streets. Heaven. Now if they could only get a decent haircut...
intertext: (maple leaf)
Sunday, April 15th, 2007 07:05 pm
Mill Hill Wildflowers

Today the sun was shining, so I took the opportunity to drive out to Mill Hill and explore. It was peak time for wildflowers. I saw:
shooting stars
calypso orchids
yellow violets
and other things that I'm not sure of the name of.

The dogs and I had a good hike, and I took lots of photos. Now they are snoozing as I write this, and I am very tired and my non bionic hip is aching slightly, but it was a good walk.
intertext: (small mis'able dog)
Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 09:48 pm
My friend Judith phoned me earlier this evening to tell me that her beardie, Henry, is very ill and not expected to live more than a few days. He's had a tumour on his lungs for some time, and it has finally caught up with him; he's not eating and is failing fast. Henry is Cholmondeley's brother, and they've known each other all their lives, almost. Judith and I met in the park one day, each with a beardie puppy, obviously the same age, and we quickly established that they were from the same litter; in fact, I had met Henry when I met Chums for the first time. When we started talking, it turned out that Judith and I had more in common than just our dogs, and we have become good friends. I also really like her husband, Bill.

I feel so sad - not just at the loss of a great dog, but because when I saw him last I didn't know it was going to be the last time I saw him. I wish I'd kissed him on the nose, or said goodbye properly. But how can you say goodbye "properly"? That's why we didn't meet last Saturday, when I spent the afternoon happily in the garden, because they were taking Henry to the vet - but they called me that evening and said they thought it was only an infection... but it wasn't.

And of course I know what they must be going through. I'm looking at my Chums and knowing that he's nearly fourteen and has been ill already this year and is getting thin and creaky.

oh, dogs.
intertext: (my boys)
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007 04:02 am
Happy Birthday, Robinson!

He's ten years old today: my sweet solitary blue. I know when I post in here I seem to write mostly about Cholmondeley, but I have a special, quiet place in my heart for Robinson. He really is the sweetest dog I've owned. He reminds me of a solemn little boy; if he were, he'd be a Christopher Robin type with tousled hair and gumboots, always off jumping in mud puddles and bringing home frogs in jam jars. He's not openly affectionate, or at least not as much as Chums, sparing with his licks and even with the wags of his tails. But because of this, you feel that he's sincere with his gestures of affection: he means it, and is not just conning you for biscuits as Cholmondeley will. When I bend over to give him a fresh bowl of water, he always lifts his nose to touch my face lightly, as if to say "thank you."

He can be as pushy as the next beardie, holding me to my daily routine of walks and expeditions to the garden. But if he ever gets shut outside by accident, he will just curl up, getting progressively more and more miserable, convinced that I no longer love him. He can be wicked; beardies are supposed to be escape artists, but Cholmondeley can be trusted outside on his own because he will never wander off. Not so Robinson - when in the garden he has to be watched, as he will jump the fence if he finds the opportunity and go off on an adventure on his own. On the other hand, he has never, in ten years, even thought about biting anyone, or even shown his teeth. The most he will do, when being coerced into a crate or put behind a barrier against his will, is a rather more forceful "HUFF" than usual.

Because of his quiet, undemonstrative nature, it's easy to think that he doesn't have strong feelings, My mum used to say that Robs didn't really interest himself in her at all, that he lived for my return home from work each day. Yet, it was he who more obviously grieved when she died. When I had to put them in kennels for the first time, after she died, Robinson wouldn't speak to me for days after I brought them home - he was so devastated first by her loss, then by my seeming abandonment. As a puppy, he chose me; the breeder had several candidates for "Robinson," but every time I went to visit the litter of puppies, if I sat down on the ground, I'd look down, and there would be the one who became "my" Robinson curled up by my side. Sometimes I think he would have preferred to be a working dog, that he dreams of real sheep and open spaces. But then I look down and see him curled by my side, and feel his soft nose nuzzling my hand, and I know he's right where he's meant to be.
intertext: (Default)
Sunday, April 1st, 2007 06:07 pm
After slothing this morning, reading the Globe and Mail (see previous post), the d's and I went for a brisk walk in Mt. Doug park. No camera this time, as it was cold and I didn't have a lot of time, but I saw many things that I would photograph if I had nano-camera things in my brain:
  • sun slanting through the forest

  • a robin perched on a tree in the sunshine, his red breast in full spring plumage gleaming in the patch of sunlight.
  • carpets of erythroniums, little pale lanterns on the forest floor

  • three trilliums

  • my dear dogs, snuffling and padding through the paths, looking back at me companionably, waving their tails gently

  • Speaking of dear dogs, my dear elder dog became temporarily lost, when I was walking downhill and very pleased to be able to go quickly and he got left behind. I suddenly realized he wasn't with me. Robinson, meanwhile, had run quite a long way up ahead, so I had to wait while I called him back, all the time imagining Cholmondeley careening off into the bush, never to be seen again. When I turned back, I met another couple of dog walkers, who told me they had seen a brown beardie "way back there" looking lost, and my heart sank. I told Robinson to "speak" and he barked happily (Chums is quite deaf, but does seem to be able to hear R. barking), then sent R up ahead with instructions to "find" Cholmondely. A few minutes passed, then Cholmondeley hove into sight, quite obviously lost and distressed, but Robinson caught up with him and brought him to me. The dear boy was thrilled to see me. I snapped his leash on him and he walked happily beside me the rest of the way back, looking up from time to time as if to reassure himself that I was there, at the end of the leash. Another nice thing to remember - his face looking up at me.

    This afternoon, I went downtown and met my friend mkb, over from Vancouver for a court case tomorrow. We poked around Munro's, then I went to a photo store and bought myself a gorillapod for my trip, then we had coffee and chatted.

    This evening, I have fresh halibut, leeks and left-over scalloped potatoes for supper and the new James Bond to watch. All in all, a very pleasant day. and only two weeks left of term... yay
    intertext: (deerskin)
    Friday, March 9th, 2007 09:08 am
    Interview questions: if you would like five questions, leave me a comment, and I shall oblige.
    Here are mine from [ profile] oursin:

    1. If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?
    I was surprised by how difficult this question was to answer, perhaps because I take dogs very seriously. It also depends on whether I answer what kind of dog I would like to be, or what kind of dog I would probably turn into if I became a dog overnight - ie what kind of dog is closest to me in personality. To answer the first question, ideally, I'd like to be like Ash, the elegant graceful dog you'll see in my Deerskin icon. Robin McKinley never actually identifies her as a breed except as a kind of sighthound, but the cover artist clearly sees her as a kind of Borzoi. Ash is also somewhat of an Ur dog - intelligent, loyal, devoted, perfect in every way. Sometimes I also fancy myself as a kind of jolly, cheerful scruffy mutt type of dog - independent, happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care. In some ways, that's the personality I wish I had. In truth... perhaps I'm not unlike my beardies. I have their herding instinct (maybe that's why I'm a teacher and was a good caregiver!), their basic cheeriness, but with workaholic tendencies, having intense loyalty, but with a slight bent to over-sensitivity, easily hurt. I'm not as decorative as they are, but few creatures are, only cats.

    2. What is your ideal garden like?
    Like a cross between the Secret Garden and Larkwhistle (Canadian reference) - I tried to find a good photo of Larkwhistle on the net but couldn't. It's a gorgeous 1 acre perennial garden mostly in pastels, a riot of fairly unchecked frothy flowers like roses and peonies and delphiniums and foxgloves. I guess really the classic "English cottage garden." I'd like something enclosed with high walls, with a door into it - that medieval "Roman de la Rose" mystical garden idea. My own garden is quite overlooked and there's not much I can do about it because my house and neighbours at both sides are at the top of a hill and the garden slopes downwards. My really tiresome neighbour is at the bottom, and she looks up the garden to see me doing things up the slope. Aesthetically, it's getting there, but I never have enough time to put into it. Perhaps for about one week in the year, it looks a bit the way I want it if I squint and the light is right.

    3. Is there a musical instrument that you don't play, but would like to?
    I always rather fancied playing the flute. And I took piano lessons as a child and would like to again. Also, I love guitar music and would like to be able to play just a little.

    4. What would you be doing if not teaching?
    Without hesitation, I'd be a feature actor in the RSC. And there's my one sincere regret in life and my big "road not taken," too. When I was at school, I was going to be an actor when I grew up, but I lost my nerve. Mostly it was about not being pretty enough. And I realize now that would have been enormously less of a factor in Britain than over here, and if I'd stuck to my guns and tried for RADA, which is what I wanted to do, I might have succeeded. But I had over-protective parents who were not keen for their young daughter to strike out for London on her own, and encouraged me to go to Uni instead, and I didn't think there was much point doing theatre at Uni, so I did Classics... and the rest is history, sort of. But teaching is wonderful; I don't regret that one bit, and it feeds the idealist in me in ways that acting wouldn't have done.

    5. Where would you like to visit that you haven't been already?
    Well, I'm going to Paris in May, so that partly answers your question, but it would almost be easier to say where I don't want to go! Caregiving has kept me Victoria-bound for so long that I have a lot of travelling to make up for, so I have a lot of trips planned in the future. High on my list, after Paris, are Venice, New Zealand, Japan, Patagonia, New York. I'd also like to see Eastern Canada, as I've never been further than Montreal.
    intertext: (my boys)
    Sunday, November 12th, 2006 11:08 am
    I just have to share Storm's Story, a YouTube video recording a year in the life of a beardie rescued after Hurricane Katrina. The shots of the dogs after the hurricane made me cry, but also very glad that I sent a large donation to the Humane Society to help with rescues. Storm is obviously a lucky dog; he looks so happy and loved. Beardies are the best!
    intertext: (my boys)
    Sunday, October 8th, 2006 04:30 pm
    The dogs and I went for walk today with them on leash and me really walking fast enough to be breathless. Probably only about 3 km return trip, but that's 2.9 km further than I could go three months ago. Go me!! We went down to the West Song waterway for the first time in so long I can't remember - my hip had been so bad that it was painful walking much distance and I was foregoing leash walks for places where the dogs could run and I could throw a ball for Robinson. It was grey and cloudy this morning, but the sun came out this afternoon and it was beautiful and we saw a seal and Canada geese and other dogs and it was lovely.

    I'll do my Thanksgiving post tomorrow, but I already know that one thing I'm thankful for is my new hip.