HOPE, JOY AND BETTERMENT

HOPE, JOY AND BETTERMENT

Not one person I have spoken to in the last three months has had a good past year and a half. It seems 2018 and 2019 are meant to be times of acceptance, tolerance, overcoming and enduring. You won’t find this insight in any almanac but I can personally vouch for it being accurate. To cope, some people are taking long vacations, some are changing occupations, homes or shopping with willful abandon while others are simply staying in bed. But, if you can’t afford or risk any of these, I have a suggestion that will lift your spirits and bring joy back into your life.

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PETER

PETER

Some dogs are sweet little secrets and Peter has been one of those. It’s time to share now though as he deserves the attention and understanding of many. This little boy, of slight build and frame, came to us five weeks ago. He was just ten weeks old yet he wore the hardships of his life in his eyes. Literally. Both eyes showed physical damage but only one had to be removed. Still, the light of his spirit shone through. He pranced about, head held high and only when the big dogs bowled over him in play, did he lie down and give in.

During the surgery to remove his eye, the vets found that his jaw was dislocated as well.

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IT'S OKAY, BECAUSE ...

IT'S OKAY, BECAUSE ...

It snowed just a few days ago. Then there was rain that, at times, turned to hail. The banks of snow remained hip high on April 19, but I didn’t care.  It’s been a year since family came and long held traditions like Easter were followed, but I accept that. Headaches, caused by a brain tumour, continue but I’m managing the pain. Much is made possible because of a charming distraction named Birch. Even as a starving, malnourished dog he didn’t have time for anger or resentment. He knew, even then, that the world held much more than the corner he had known in Attawapiskat. Birch set his course forward and he took us with him. He never questioned his decision to believe, he simply began.

Birch has become a proud, strong northern dog, without a care in the world. He bounds over

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FIZZ

FIZZ

Fizz is just ten weeks old, thought to be a puppy in most places we know. Where she comes from though she has already aged, found wisdom, witnessed more than she should and survived. Fizz is from Attawapiskat and she is suffering from rickets, an illness caused by malnutrition. Food that is not scarce, is expensive up north. Shelter is not guaranteed for anyone, let alone an unwanted puppy. People deal with their own hardship and those who don’t, do not invite another person’s problems to be their own. Some ignore out of choice, and some because there is no choice. And, in the midst of the human condition, an orphan puppy struggled to survive.
Northern dogs are brilliantly smart because they have to be. They are true and honest dogs because they live by instinct and their wits. Only the strong survive. They do not live as our dogs do. They are not bred for looks or raised in comfort. 
Street dogs and strays everywhere live with the same kind of precariousness, but northern dogs are more isolated than most. Still, there is nothing more grateful, than a rescued dog and Fizz is no exception. 

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BIRCH HAS A QUESTION

BIRCH HAS A QUESTION

Birch has a question. It isn’t h0w somebody could harm him they way they did or why he was starved, almost to death. He isn’t wondering how, when he looked up at his people with trust and loyalty, they were able to turn away with indifference and neglect. Birch isn’t even questioning whether to forgive the humans who let him down so terribly, for he already has. Birch simply questions why the tin, that holds the dried chicken strips he has come to love so much, is kept on a shelf, out of his reach. That, to him, is the real mind boggler. It would make so much more sense to keep it on a low shelf, with the lid off, so he could help himself without bothering others. Birch is considerate that way. He cannot, for the life of him, figure out why no one has thought of this before. Yes, that is Birch’s only question.

Birch learns quickly. He solved the problem of closed doors getting in his way by simply giving one good push while standing on his back legs and pushing with his front paws. Only rarely does he need to scratch or push repetitively to remove an obstacle from his path. He quickly forgave us for making him work so hard to get into the food pantry whenever he fancied a nibble. He was supposed to be gaining weight after all, and he was happy to be doing so much for himself.

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SHAMEFUL, WRONG, UNIMAGINABLE and WORTH HELPING PLEASE

SHAMEFUL, WRONG, UNIMAGINABLE and WORTH HELPING PLEASE

When there are stars out at night that are distinctly bright, I know one of my dogs is watching over me. Trillium has her own light tree just outside the front door that burns constantly in her memory. A small tree, just off to the side of our road, holds bells and crystals that represent the dogs we have loved and lost. Trumpet, Will and Mabel lend their strength and support always. Still, at this moment in time, none of the tender tributes, memories of other lives saved or warm noses nudging me gently will help right now. The anger, disbelief and horror I feel will not be quelled easily this time. Sixteen hundred dogs have not prepared me for the casual cruelty and complete disregard shown to this young dog I named Birch.  

Birch was flown out of Attawapiskat just hours before he would have been found dead amongst some rubbish piled behind a garage. All his ten months of life gave him was the misery of a shrunken stomach and shrivelled intestine. This pup knew only the suffering of starvation. He was not abandoned, he lived amongst a family and shared their home. He watched teenagers’ snack often and parents eat well. The family was not impoverished, they could have fed him, they just didn’t care to. Birch is a pretty boy so maybe he was kept simply as a trophy or a pleasing distraction. His protruding spine and exposed ribs did not diminish his appeal as he has a sweet disposition. The infection in both his eyes caused a squint that to most, would make him look needy. Not to the family that lived with him though, they were still able to ignore him. His sinus infection caused an unpleasant nasal drip so that may have given them reason to turn away from him. Birch would have tried to reach for food himself I am sure but when he rises to place his paws on a table or counter he simply slumps to the ground because he has no muscle mass in any part of his body.

The most disgusting neglect did not dishearten this dog though.

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