Saturday, April 11, 2015

Shamus






In the last winter before our faithful furry friend entered into twilight, he got to winter in Florida.
I like to think of this as his last hurrah. My mind will record it as a  simple request from a wonderful little dog who asked for nothing, and gave so much back.

 I  tell people the reason Mary wintered for 2 months in the sunny confines of Florida was because of Shamus: It was our boy's final and only thing he ever asked for: "Guy's, before I eat my last treat  on this planet , can I put in my a request to winter south and not have to do those morning walks in the biting cold, with snow,  ice and that dreaded SALT that goes between my paws."? That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

What can I write about  a dog that I have been the benefactor of his love for the 6 years I have known him?
A dog that has been Mary's faithful companion for the past 11 years.
A dog that was in our wedding party 4 1/2 years ago.
 A dog that has as many names as the Eskimos have for love.

Shamus (spelt this way because....)  was AKA Shamus McTavish (I loved to tell people that was his full name as he was a Irish/Scottish mix), McGavin (no idea, he got this one a lot? Magoo (again, his eye sight was bang on, so at a loss for the Mr. Magoo moniker). Pineapple
Upside Down Dog (Got this one when he slept on his back on the coach and slide down upside down, still asleep)
Probably a few more that escape me, but no doubt will reminisce with Mary and we will fondly find a few more.



Dogs, as we know, are the best! Friends beyond our bestest. Companions without any strings. Want for nothing and give so much!
Shamus was no exception. He lived to please us. Loved to give his love. He was only hurt when he thought he disappointed  us, which he never did.

He loved the sun, and loved to lay in it. He was a watcher of life and all it brought him. He was not a hunter or a fighter. He loved to watch the birds, squirrels, and all life as he lay on the deck, or sat by a window.

I taught him to chase squirrels when we first met. I swear he only did it to please me. It was so not his thing, but he did it when I asked him.
 He loved the water, being on a dock or in a boat was a treat. The Kayak rides were something he loved to do with Mary, as he took in life on the waterway.

He adopted Riley and Tazz with reluctance. Or they adopted him perhaps. Cats are different.
Really he just tolerated the two new fur balls as they tried to bath him as one of their own.
I walked him every day for 6 years in rain, sun, snow, sleet, ice storms.....only to take a break when he "asked" to go to Florida January 1 this year.

I will miss the morning walks, but will miss his serenity most of all.
Shamus, if you are reading this, and I figure you are, Thank you for teaching me to slow down and stop chasing squirrels.
 Enjoy the moment.
Lay in the sun like you did in the afternoons at home. I will watch that spot by the door on the rug where the sun came in daily late in the day, and smile as I will picture you in a slumbered warm peace. No, you won't be there anymore and I will try not to cry because your gone but as Dr, Suess wrote" Smile because it happened"Smile because of the memories you gave us each and every morning when you had breakfast with us. Yes, sitting at the table ladies and gentlemen.

I know you are on a dock somewhere now buddy, watching life in the sun go by and laying in the sun replaying the beautiful memories that we all made together. I know we replayed many of them yesterday with tears in eyes.

You won't be forgotten. Ever. You touched a lot of lives Magoo! Rest upside down Pineapple Dog. Enjoy the view Shamus McTavish.

I hope they have kayaks for you in heaven

Friday, August 17, 2012

Molly

I am not sure there is such a thing as a "perfect pet", but Molly was as close as you could get if "perfection" exists in cats.

Molly came into our lives by adoption. A batch of feral kittens a few weeks old were brought to our local animal shelter where she was kept in quarantine as feral kittens are.
Mary was elated at her looks and we filled out the papers and home she came. Shamus (our 8 year old shih tzu) and Riley ( our adopted same age as Molly Calico kitten) were not amused as you can imagine. A third animal in the house meant less attention for them, and quite possibly less food.
 But Molly asked for no  attention and fit into our little house just fine. She took to the blanket that she is pictured in above like a new born to a mother. Sucking the ends of it for hours at time while her little claws moved in rhythm to her pulse. She sucked that blanket up until a week or two ago.

Never fussy or troublesome, Molly was a watcher if you will. Watching all and studying, observing and learning.Curios to be sure, but a fearless curiosity that found her in the showers most morning to try and see what the fuss was, and why we went in there without her.

Riley liked to show that she was the boss. The Mother. The Alpha. Molly was fine with that and accepted life on life's terms. It was as if she thought "I am grateful for what I have and will happily accept what is given.".

Riley and Molly were the same size and age and quickly fell into roles.
Riley would clean Molly,  and Molly accepted.
Riley was the "Tom Boy" girl and Molly was "A Lady"
Riley used the litter box with no discretion and cared not who watched. Molly liked to use them in privacy.

Riley would eat first out of the "big bowl" for two and Molly watched and waited. Patience seemed to be her thing. One of many wonderful virtues she possessed.

Mary called her a "Beautiful soul", and that is what she was. Never hostile, angry, impatient or bothersome; she watched the world through her beautiful eyes and at loved what she saw I was sure.

Mornings were my favorite time as the two "girls" knew that before coffee, newspaper or any rituals were even started; I gave them a spoon or two of nice canned kitten food.
Kibble was their daily main, so the little bit of wet, warm (when little I poured a spot of warmed water) "beef and cheese" daily treat brought them both out of their slumber to their little bowls.

Molly would seem to "taste" hers, as she was never a big eater. She would spend 4 or 5 minutes enjoying about half of her wee bowl, while Riley would finish hers and them move her attention to Molly's leftovers and complete the task at hand.
Molly watched her eat, and her eyes said "go ahead sister, enjoy".
That was her personality. Nothing fazed her, nothing excited her, nothing scared. She accepted her life as a gift and gave us her gratitude in her love.

As the "girls" grew into "The Ladies" we offered them a glimpse of outdoors, allowing a lie down and a wander on our deck in the backyard. Riley of course, always (still does) abused the freedom and went fence hopping and tree climbing, while our girl Molly laid and watched. Oh how she loved to watch the world. For hours she would lie in the grass or on the deck and watch the birds, squirrels, chipmunks and life at the speed of life. Her eyes showed it all. Her wonder and love of the world.

One day Molly caught a mouse, or a chipmunk, we are not quite sure. She decided that it would make a good friend for her to play with. She brought her new, and terrified but alive, friend into the house and let "it loose". Molly seemed surprised that her playmate ran away, and looked at Mary and I with "those eyes" saying, "where did it go".

On days when life had dealt me a shit hand, and traffic, people, caca del toro was up to my deaf ears; all I had to do was walk in the door and Molly would walk over and get hoisted into my arms. The world was right as rain again.

Riley, Shamus, Mary and I seem to share similar traits: Anxious and stressed at times, worry about thunder, wonder and worry about the world.
Not Molly!
When she heard thunder, she had the serene look of accepting fact that perhaps "God was just playing with his/her toys in the attic." She never seemed anxious for food, or in a hurry to dart out or escape when an door provided that opportunity.
She lived and loved the world relaxed and content. Serene and with grace.

I wanted to be like her. I still do.

Never anxious, upset, scared, angry. I saved her picture on my phone for those times when sitting in traffic and dealing with the issues of the moment. All it took was one look at Molly to be reminded that life is wonderful, and gratitude is the best attitude.

When Molly needed "me" time, which was rare, she had the most amazing spots to hide in and sleep deep.
 I envied that, and admired her for it.

Molly, as I said, was always grateful for everything. She accepted the world with wonder and amazement in the hours she spent watching the outdoors. She was whistle trained (yes a kitten she was) and when I would whistle she would come for a treat, and loved the whole act.

She was not quite a year old last Monday when I noticed that she would not come anymore when I whistled.
She was lethargic and slept day and night in the same spot. Riley knew something was wrong and would "attack" and pounce on her as if to say "come on sister, get out of that funk"!

We had to put Molly to sleep yesterday as a result of her medical condition. I have had to put many animals to sleep in my time, and have lost more than my fair share of  loved ones in my life. But watching Molly close her eyes for the last time has left a gaping hole in my heart. She went to her last sleep as Mary and I stroked her beautiful coat with tears streaming down our faces.

Tears are streaming down my face as I attempt to finish this blog posting.

Molly taught me more about peace and contentment than any "human"could, and as much as she was Mary's girl, I secretly wished she was just mine. But Molly belonged to the world, and graced the lives of anyone who had the good fortune to meet her. We all loved her.
It is worth repeating as I wrote at the start of this: Molly accepted her life as a gift and gave us her gratitude in her love.

No one ever said life is fair, and I have to accept that the year that Molly graced our lives, was a year of love that we would never have had from a Kitten who Mary called her "Beautiful Soul".
I am content that Molly now has a beautiful view to watch her world from.

We will never forget you Molly!
To forget you is to forget life


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Of Paper And Pens

August is over, and the annual "back to school" frenzy that attacks those of us that have "bairn's. bambino's and/or brats" is well under way.

♬♪♩The autumn wind, ♪♬♫ came rolling in...♪♬♫.

But I digress.

The back to school Flyer's confuse me with "Notepads, Ipads, PC, Mac books, Ibooks, laptops, mainframes, calcubooks, Smart phones, IPhone, skypehones, Kobo readers, eyereaders, electronic notebooks....."

Note pads I always thought were a smaller version of a legal pad, and I am not so sure that I can find anyone in the "back to school" crowd that can define a "legal pad". How many of those under 15 out there can give me the measurements of a legal sheet of paper, or the localised North American standard sheet?

I still carry a "notebook" but not a $400 one that is WiFi, or has a key board. It is paper.
Made from a tree I suspect, but who knows. I like the whiteness of a note pad as well as the regal feel of a legal pad when I need to take important notes.
I love a good pen as well. The feel is just as important as the grace in which it skates across a page. I will spend as much time shopping a good pen every 3 or 4 years, as I do when I shop a household appliance.

I like the feel of a book as well. I struggle with an electronic reader. I understand the need and the functionality of having 300 books in one small hand held electronic device, but I love the book. I walk into our living/family room and feel secure (and smarter) just seeing the shelves and rows of books. We may not have read them all, but we do love the art of the browse, when desire strikes us.

I am no Luddite, and am not about to go on a crusade and picket Staples demanding that we all go back and learn how to use a pen and paper.
Spell check has saved my bacon on many a quick email, and I am grateful for it and all the other wonders that Mr Gates, and Mr Google hath wrought to make us better.
There are days when I yearn to see the student sitting in the back of a lecture hall, writing notes with a grand pen, and a glorious official looking yellow legal pad, in all of it's 8 1/2 x 14" glory.

I must be turning into the curmudgeon that I one day feared I would be.

So be it, just make sure spell check doesn't miss a beat on this post.

Warmest,


David





Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Love Is Better Than Anger


Jack Layton served Canadians!

Jack Layton died this past week. In his memory I want to post his last words that he left to world.

" My friends, Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic, and we'll change the world"

Today I got angry at one of those typical "little things" in life. A speed bump the size of an anthill to be sure. I went immediately and re-read Jack's gift of words to us this week, and decided that "Love is better than anger".

We were not sent here to live in a vacuum.
I think perhaps that on September 7, 2007 when I was on life support and put in coma, there was a reason I did not slip away.
While I have yet to figure out exactly why it was not my time, I do have some ideas.
The doctors who parked me in a coma to figure out why I was not responding to anything, and was indeed in a state of total arrest, were so convinced that "This is it", had all my family contacted and advised that I had less than 24 hours.
I kinda figure I was spared to tackle some issues on this planet. Issues with people and pets I think.
While we can't take the whole world's problems upon our shoulders, we can try to do what we can within our sphere of influence, and remain open to finding opportunities to serve.

Jack Layton beat cancer the first time he had it a few years ago.
He used that time to do good, fight a good fight and found so many opportunities to serve.

I beat death 4 years ago.
I am still finding ways and opportunities to serve, and to fight a good fight for the hearing impaired where I can, champion the underprivileged where I can, and step up to battle when I think it is the right thing to do.

But I have to remind myself, thanks to Jack, that Love is better than anger.
I also have to remind myself, when the world is against me, that Optimism is better than despair.

Let's change the world today.
OK?

Marriage and Parenthood

Some days are diamonds, some are stone. Yesterday was mix. The day ended in a rock avalanche.
I try to do the best I can, and I've made mistakes along this particular road in life.

I never asked to be a Dad, but it is part of my reason for being a lot of days more than I'd like to admit.

I did ask, in marriage, to be a Husband; and yes I have made mistakes along that road to be sure.

Mary has taught me a lot about parenting, and I am grateful for it, I was left as single Dad, the sole parent of a 14 year old, in the winter of 2009. I thought it would be pretty easy as the 14 year old boy at the time was good.
Decent.

I was not the best Father by any means at first, but I always tried to be there for him as after his Dad lost his health and his hearing
He then lost his Mom to cancer.
Tuff stuff for a young man!

Where I fall down is letting go. He is not 14, he is 17. I still carry that baggage of being the protective worry wart of a parent.

Some days it does more damage than good.
I need to do this not only as a caring parent, but as a caring person. There are so many times when I reach out to help others, that I neglect the immediate needs of some.And yes, this includes my loved ones.

When I strive to go good, to help, I do, on occasion, step on toes and hearts of people that mean the world to me. For me, it is not a case of if I lived the simple existence "Help no-one, just live life and do not give yourself to others."
I have to give.
I have to help others.
It is part of DNA!
For my son, I want to be there for him, to hear him, to cheer for him, to laugh or cry with him, to protect him with my life!

Where I fall down again and again, is needing to tell him things he does not want to hear.

I need to be a much better husband to Mary, in recognizing that life is about partnerships.
She is my life partner and will always be there for me. My son will move on in his life soon. Hopefully move on soon to explore the world of higher education; girlfriends; first apartment; first full time job; marriage etc.

But Mary will be with me in a rocking chair one day long after the boys have left.

I need to remember that!