CALL ME JACK

CALL ME JACK

Just Call Me Jack

Spring may be slow in coming and whining voices may be rising from northern Facebook pages again but life is grand with Jack. I’m falling behind in all I have to do but life is joyful with Jack. The damp weather causes migraines and my body aches but life is sweet with Jack.

Jack is a two-year-old Malamute cross who was raised in Attawapiskat for sledding purposes. He was supposed to be part of a team, a contributing member and a dog with a purpose – but he wasn’t. Jack failed sledding. This dog runs to his own drummer. He questioned why everyone was harnessed together when the independence of running free was so blissful. He couldn’t understand why they all went in the same direction when scattering allowed for random, fun filled chases. Jack was surrendered to us when it was determined he just could not conform.

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DEAR DIARY,

DEAR DIARY,

Dear Diary,

I haven’t written for a while because it’s been a hard few weeks. On top of all the regular stuff, the snow is so high the dogs are simply walking over the fence these days. One more task – shovel and/or chase.

We have a lot of dogs right now, which is good because it means we have saved a lot of lives, but our foster homes are full and we are at our limit.  There are nine dogs living in the house with us and while that’s happened before this time is different. Two are long-term care and one is most likely palliative care – again.

One of the dogs in foster care is eight years old and I guess people consider that aged because we haven’t had much interest in him. Where he is now, we have to pay a dog walker each day and that will soon become overly expensive. Two other dogs in foster care have been so traumatized by their life experiences that it will take a long time to love them better. There is a dog from Attawapiskat that is now in foster care in Timmins. He was attacked by a pack of dogs and his injuries will need time to heal. We have one pup and she came to us on Valentine’s day. She is the only surviving pup out of a litter of five and she is just four weeks old.

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JUST IN PASSING

JUST IN PASSING

We knew, from the beginning, that she was just passing through. This little girl had suffered terribly in life and her eight years in Mexico had been hard spent. No one knew it at the time but Kit was dying when she arrived here. It was clear she wasn’t well and the obvious concerns were treated but so much more lay, literally, below the surface.

Kit arrived in June and in July she was diagnosed with Diaphragmatic Hernia. The crooked scar on her side and dislocated rib led our vets to believe she was attacked by a large dog and held in its mouth while being brutally shaken. This caused her abdominal organs and intestines to be pushed into her chest, compressing her liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. Nothing functioned well and she breathed as if through a straw. The prognosis was to keep her happy for as long as we could.

 

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AND ANOTHER NEW YEAR

AND ANOTHER NEW YEAR

A new year has presented itself with new opportunities and possibilities. I long ago stopped expecting great change or betterment because a new had year rolled in though. The glitter ball in Times Square can drop to a frenzied countdown and people can gather to kiss and hug but still, just another day has gone by. I enjoy the ceremony of it all and always hold hope in my heart but I no longer have sudden expectations. 
Each year, day and moment is what we make it. The work, struggle, disappoint, promise and rewards remain and we work through them all - just as always. My attitude is not one of skepticism but one of acceptance. Contentment even. Maybe it is age, living in the bush or working with dogs but I like the balance and steadiness of simply living each day as it comes, no matter the date. 

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A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

We are having the best kind of Christmas as it is one of gratitude and sharing.

We are grateful that Kit (Kit-and-Kaboodle from a previous blog) is still with us and able to celebrate her first Canadian Christmas. Her health continues to be a concern and some nights I think I am losing her as she struggles to breathe. She looks over at me through her efforts and I softly encourage her to work through the spasm. It seems like a lot to ask of her but each time, so far, she has recovered. As she settles back into sleep I wonder if she suffers too much but then morning comes and she greets the new day with a dance.

We are also grateful that our darling bush dog, Stillwater, is with us still. She continues to confound me as some days life seems to be too much of a burden for her bones and limbs and other days, she hefts herself up the stairs for a second goodnight kiss. We don’t know her age because she came out of Mile 26 as an adult. Her teeth, a measure of age, were terrible and she clearly had given birth to many litters of pups so she ranged from three years old to eight easily. I have never questioned a dog’s own judgement of themselves but I doubt Stillwater will ever give in. Selfishly, I don’t want her to as I can’t imagine being without her. She is stunningly beautiful, gracious in every way, generous of spirit and her wisdom is greatly needed. Still, I will respect and protect her dignity and not allow her to suffer past the point where we can keep her comfortable.

 

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A SILENT TEAR AND WINGS OF THOUGHT

A SILENT TEAR AND WINGS OF THOUGHT

Tears fall in the moments of sadness but they are not complete. Our minds will wander through memories and a single tear will fall again.

The life of a dog may end, but relationships shared with them cannot. Each dog I have loved has given me something I very much needed. My little dog Trillium, for example, centered me and gave me a sense of balance. I drew strength from her. Ruth is my guide and I find my way through her. She has a light about her that is both kind and generous. Stillwater is steadfast. She reminds me daily that, no matter the hardships you face, you can move forward with joy in your heart. Will is simply a fine example of bliss.

I have mourned the loss of each dog that has left me but since the death of Trillium in June, I have felt vague and slightly lost. I needed a tangible way to keep her with me. I had an abstract idea of what that meant so I went searching. Nothing I found seemed to do her, or my other dogs, justice though. She was more than a paw print or a single line of rhyming words.

I needed something beautiful and meaningful to honour the dogs but nothing grim. Their memories were to be comforting and pleasing.

I express what I feel for the dogs through my writing but now I needed to find a way to express their memories in a visual and tactile way.

 

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