Tale of Three Dogs

Hello Barkners, today is International Dog Day. In my opinion, at least in my house, every day is dog day, and I would have it no other way. For those who don’t have a dog, you don’t know what you are missing! Although I promised an update, I must delay (again). Chico_Seamus 023Needless to say, I am fine since I’m writing this, for a detailed account, you’ll have to wait.

I wish I could say I’ve had dogs all my life, but as a kid, I had a cat. He was a lovely grey short hair and as sweet as can be. We had him from the time I was six until the crazy blackout in 2003. When he crawled up into my lap and quietly slipped away. It wasn’t for a few years that I would consider getting another “pet” this time however I wanted a dog. I have always wanted a dog, it just wouldn’t be until my 20’s until I actually got one.dscf0602

If you know anything about me, I do my homework! I took great pains to just decide what breed I would want. I knew I wanted a dog dog, not a cute toy purse dog. I wasn’t active enough for a working dog, hound dogs could be noisy, although I do have a soft spot for beagles. Sporting dogs I know evoke an allergic response that renders me into a wheezing coughing mess. Herders are gorgeous dogs, but needed a lot and I mean a lot of time and activity to keep them IMG_0644.JPGstimulated, and I didn’t have tit to give. I finally came to the conclusion that I wanted a terrier. Typically a big dog in a little body and a sassy attitude to boot, I was sold! More specifically, I chose the West Highland White Terrier. I then proceeded to research reputable breeders. I would come to rescue later.

 

When I finally got the call that there were puppies available, IMG_0589.JPGwe drove to Scorybrek Kennels and met Terry. She held in her arms two little roly-poly polar bear puppies, brothers. They say a dog chooses it’s people. I can attest that statement is true. I say this because I originaly had my sights on the bigger puppy. He however, wanted nothing to do with me. His brother without hesitation, scooted up and began nipping at my fingers. I looked at him and knew. this was our boy! How could anyone resist that crooked eared little face. I thought because of that fault no one would want him, but I did. We picked him up three weeks later, Seamus Mac Ruff. Yes that was his name. It should have been Hamish to be accurate with his Scottish heritage, but it fit him, so it stayed.

IMG_2797He was a gagarious soul. He saw me through some of the toughest times of my life, a big burden for a little dog, but he never failed. That little white dog brought so many so much joy. Always cheerful and happy. As he aged, he became a little ornery, but still lovable and friendly. He couldn’t ever have a passer-by not stop and say hello. The whole neighbourhood knew him, young and old alike. Sadly as his health declined, we had to make one of the most difficult and painful decisions. We had to let him go. Deaf and mostly blind, when he couldn’t recognise us, we knew it was time. After almost 14 years together, the loss is profound. I write this through tears, because that hurt is still too fresh.

My emotions are buffered, thankfully because I have my Lacey and Finnegan. Without IMG_3638them, I would be a mess, but they need me. Here’s where rescue comes into play. I had to leave Seamus with my mother after I got married and moved to Patrick’s apartment, he was too old to go up and down 3 flights of stairs and didn’t get along with Patrick’s cats, having tried to eat them twice. So I missed him. In order to get my Westie fix, I would have to visit my dear friend who has two of her own and at the time four others and a foster. It was one fateful visit that I met Lacey. From the first time I laid eyes on her, I knew I loved her. We don’t know what she came from, but from her timidness and fear, we could surmise she was abused and abandoned. I could see that IMG_3193she wanted to greet me, all the others had, but she hesitated. I could see the conflict in her mind. The wanting  to move forward but being chained back by fear. So I waited, I let her come to me. By the end of my visit, she let me pat her belly while she slept, I knew she was ours.

We adopted her a week later. She has eaten garbage, a package of raw bacon and three uncooked burgers, and a couch. She shreds paper and tinfoil. Digs up the front garden. She barked and growed at every one that approached me, even Patrick as he came to bed, she was my protector. A roll she must have known well in her former life but un-needed now. It took her a year to trust Patrick, and I mean really trust IMG_4126him. You should see them now, it’s ridiculous how much she loves him. She was a dog you could not scold or hit, any hint of disapproval would evoke fear and a puddle on the floor. In the beginning, she feared everything, except Patrick and me. In the beginning, it was a precarious trust. Some would ask why I took on such a damaged soul. It was because I knew she was an unpolished gem. I knew it the moment I set eyes on her. So we invested, time, love, patience and hope that she would learn to love and trust. After three years the change is amazing, the payoff priceless. She’s a dog. Still a little timid in new environments, but 1000 times better than she was.

IMG_3711
IMG_3694A few months later I got a message containing a photo, it was
from my friend. The rescue was getting a Westie mix. He was so dirty and matted, they didn’t know what he was until he was shaved down and bathed. He was found wandering by a river in Ohio. Likely dumped. I could tell he had been someone’s pet, his dew claws had been removed and his recall skills were very good. He was an itchy patchy mess with a chronic ear infections, apparenly not worth someone’s time or effort. At the time he’s ears were so bad, they thought he might be deaf. I didn’t care, neither did Patrick. We knew as soon as we saw his picture, it was a done deal. We picked him up from transport, and it was love. On his intake sheet, itIMG_3792 said his name was Fabio, and that he was a snuggler. They were right about one thing, and it wasn’t his name. That changed immediately, but the snuggling, is heaven. He came to us so skinny I could feel every rib bone, his coat was thin and his feet bald from chewing, he scratched and itched, but he was so sweet. He fattened up right away and we got his ear infections under control, but the itching was a mystery. It’s all he did, bite and scratch for months, until we tried medication. Within hours, he was a different dog and no more itching. His personality masked by allergies now shone and he is quite the clown.

 

I can’t fathom ever throwing these guys on any animal away! The way these two love, unconditionally and without reserve, should serve as a lesson to us all. They are my therapists and comedians, my surrogate children (I know it’s not the same), and my joy. It doesn’t matter how crappy I feel, they cheer me up. I can’t imagine my life without them. So on this International Dog Day, I leave you with the lessons I have learned from my dogs.

  1. Love without hesitation.Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 8.47.42 PM
  2. Love fully and completely.
  3. Love unconditionally.
  4. Live in the moment.
  5. Take in every whiff of life.
  6. If it isn’t working, piss on it and move on.
  7. Every bad day can be turned around with a kiss.
  8. Never judge a book by it’s cover.
  9. Every now and then, it’s good to wiggle your butt.
  10. Taking a walk is good for the soul.
  11. Naps are underated.

IMG_2800Disarmingly goofy                                                                                                                                 Optimistically joyous                                                                                                                             Gregarious and loving                                                                                                                             Sympathetic and wonderful

AM

 

P.S. Adopt don’t shop. There are so many dogs who need a loving home. http://savemedogrescue.ca is a very good place to find one (or two).

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 6.00.08 PMIts Valentine’s Day (and Ash Wednesday – irony?!), I had planned to write about some of
the struggles of dating and cancer, but I am sick with the flu and my fever addled brain isn’t functioning as diligently as I’d like. So to avoid me writing nonsense, I will repost what I wrote last year and save that topic for my next post. If there are any specific questions you might have regarding dating and cancer, please send them to me and I will do my best to address them in the post. Until then, whether you are spending the day with your valentine or going solo, know that you are loved.

Be well xo

AM

On this St. Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share with you the story of how my husband and I met.

Now before I get to the meat and potatoes of the story, I must give you a little backgrounder. Before I got diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t date. Especially online dating. Like many, I had my reasons, but mainly, it was because I was so fracking busy I had no time to socialize with my friends, never mind strangers. So at that time, I figured, if something came around, it came around. My focus was my career. Of course, when I got sick, the main focus was on that, and getting better. So again, dating, not high on the priority list.

When I got sick again, I thought I was a goner. I figured it was time to get out there. I mean if I was going to die, I may as well have a little fun before kicking it. I decided to put my profile up on a few dating sites. I relegated myself to knowing I’d likely meet a few wackadoodles, because such is life. If that happened, I’d just politely thank and excuse myself and quickly extricate myself from the situation, pick up the tab and be gone, thank you very much. After all I have terminal lung cancer, I don’t have time to waste!

So here comes the good stuff.

I winked at Patrick and he winked back at me, at least that was how it was done on that particular site. I know cheesy!

Shortly after the wink, he sent me a message kindly asking if I would like his number. I of course said yes. I anticipated a call from him, but a week went by, then two, so I figured he had lost interest and didn’t think on it too much. Ok fail numero uno. No problem.

Then out of the blue, about a month later, I get a phone call and its Patrick. I almost didn’t answer because I was waiting to go into an appointment when he called, but he was so apologetic, I couldn’t resist. He said he had been thinking about calling all month, but he had been so swamped at work that he could never find the right time. He called because he had a few days off for Thanksgiving and his birthday and wanted to meet me. I offered to take him for coffee for his birthday. It was arranged that we’d meet at the Dark Horse Espresso Bar at 4 on his birthday.

 

 

As left my house to meet him, I   remember thinking “wouldn’t it be funny if we ended up on the same streetcar?!” It would since I was coming from the west end of the city and he was coming from the east. So when I approached the streetcars at Spadina Station, I texted him to let him know I was on my way. He replied, so am I. There was such a crowd waiting to get on streetcars that day, I decided to wait for the crowd to die down and I got on the next one. I got on and went to stand where I usually stand at the back of the car in front of the back doors.

Even though I had waited, it was still jam-packed. After the streetcar passed College, a bunch of people got off and there was some space. So I texted him again saying, “I just passed College, I’ll see you at Dark Horse.” He replied with “me too.” When I looked up from my phone I spotted a guy that met the description Patrick had given me. I chuckled to myself because he was literally 5 feet in front of me.

Upon my realization, I texted “Are you wearing a grey hat?”

“Yes?”

“I think you are on my streetcar.”

At which time he had moved directly in front of me, but had his back turned. I watched as he looked about the streetcar trying to find me. Just before our stop, I tapped him on the shoulder. He turned, looked at me and said “You’re short.” (Oh God…here we go) “I’m sorry, I just mean usually girls I’ve met are taller than me. You’re awesome!” (Ok, you get one…and you recovered well).

At Dark Horse the conversation came fast and easy. He made me laugh, I felt like we knew each other already. We talked so much, we shut down the shop. At this point, I didn’t want the date to end, so I said “hey, are you hungry, I am, we should grab a bite.”

“Yeah! Absolutely.” So we walked a short distance on Queen St. and stopped in at little bistro. Again, the conversation came easy and we ate and talked and ate and talked until it was time for them to close.

We had met at 4 that afternoon and now it was 11:30, but time flew by so fast! He walked me to the subway, but before we said our good byes he says, “My room mate is throwing me a birthday party. Do you want to come?” As much I really didn’t want to say good night, but I was going to Ottawa the next day for a conference and really did need to get home. The funny thing was, he should have been at that party way earlier on that evening. I guess he didn’t want the date to end either. We parted ways and I was of to Ottawa.

The next day sent me a text me to say what a good time he had and we chatted away the screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-12-34-23-pmwhole weekend and agreed to see each other again. When I got off the train three days later, he met me with snacks, because he knew I had been on a train for 5 hours and I might be hungry (Swoon). He then said he had dinner awaiting me.

As I wandered his apartment, I noticed the pictures he had of family, it was really nice. I knew that I liked him, I also knew I had a huge monkey on my back! I had been tormented all weekend and all though our date. I felt so deceptive by keeping my cancerous life from him. Did I wait to tell him, or do I break the news now so he’s not invested. From all I have seen, I need to do it sooner than later. He is too nice to get hurt.

After dinner, as we sat on the couch, I knew it was my opportunity (well it was nice meeting you), I took a deep breath and said, “I have something to tell you.”

“Oh, is everything alright?”

“Yes. But. Ok, how do I….It’s nothing that has to do with you, it actually me. I’m…I’m not an alien, but I am a mutant.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I’m a mutant, I have ALK rearranged stage 4 lung cancer. So I’d understand if you don’t want to see me again.” He took my hand and looked at me and said “My friend’s wife has cancer too, I think you guys would make great friends. I really like you, I’m not going anywhere.”

That’s how he stole my heart.screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-12-37-30-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-11-at-12-31-55-pm

Love on the 510 Spadina Street Car…the Story of Us

On this St. Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share with you the story of how my husband and I met.

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-1-04-01-pm
This is us 🙂
Now before I get to the meat and potatoes of the story, I must give you a little backgrounder. Before I got diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t date. Especially online dating. Like many, I had my reasons, but mainly, it was because I was so fracking busy I had no time to socialize with my friends, never mind strangers. So at that time, I figured, if something came around, it came around. My focus was my career. Of course, when I got sick, the main focus was on that, and getting better. So again, dating, not high on the priority list.

When I got sick again, I thought I was a goner. I figured it was time to get out there. I mean if I was going to die, I may as well have a little fun before kicking it. I decided to put my profile up on a few dating sites. I relegated myself to knowing I’d likely meet a few wackadoodles, because such is life. If that happened, I’d just politely thank and excuse myself and quickly extricate myself from the situation, pick up the tab and be gone, thank you very much. After all I have terminal lung cancer, I don’t have time to waste!

So here comes the good stuff.

I winked at Patrick and he winked back at me, at least that was how it was done on that particular site. I know cheesy!

Shortly after the wink, he sent me a message kindly asking if I would like his number. I of course said yes. I anticipated a call from him, but a week went by, then two, so I figured he had lost interest and didn’t think on it too much. Ok fail numero uno. No problem.

Then out of the blue, about a month later, I get a phone call and its Patrick. I almost didn’t answer because I was waiting to go into an appointment when he called, but he was so apologetic, I couldn’t resist. He said he had been thinking about calling all month, but he had been so swamped at work that he could never find the right time. He called because he had a few days off for Thanksgiving and his birthday and wanted to meet me. I offered to take him for coffee for his birthday. It was arranged that we’d meet at the Dark Horse Espresso Bar at 4 on his birthday.

As left my house to meet him, I remember thinking “wouldn’t it be funny if we ended up on the same streetcar?!” It would since I was coming from the west end of the city and he was coming form the east. So when I approached the streetcars at Spadina Station, I texted him to let him know I was on my way. He replied, so am I. There was such a crowd waiting to get on streetcars that day, I decided to wait for the crowd to die down and I got on the next one. I got on and went to stand where I usually stand at the back of the car in front of the back doors.

Even though I had waited, it was still jam-packed. After the streetcar passed College, a bunch of people got off and there was some space. So I texted him again saying, “I just passed College, I’ll see you at Dark Horse.” He replied with “me too.” When I looked up from my phone I spotted a guy that met the description Patrick had given me. I chuckled to myself because he was literally 5 feet in front of me.screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-12-44-24-pm

Upon my realization, I texted “Are you wearing a grey hat?”

“Yes?”

“I think you are on my streetcar.”

At which time he had moved directly in front of me, but had his back turned. I watched as he looked about the streetcar trying to find me. Just before our stop, I tapped him on the shoulder. He turned, looked at me and said “You’re short.” (Oh God…here we go) “I’m sorry, I just mean usually girls I’ve met are taller than me. You’re awesome!” (Ok, you get one…and you recovered well).

At Dark Horse the conversation came fast and easy. He made me laugh, I felt like we knew each other already. We talked so much, we shut down the shop. At this point, I didn’t want the date to end, so I said “hey, are you hungry, I am, we should grab a bite.”

“Yeah! Absolutely.” So we walked a short distance on Queen St. and stopped in at little bistro. Again, the conversation came easy and we ate and talked and ate and talked until it was time for them to close.

We had met at 4 that afternoon and now it was 11:30, but time flew by so fast! He walked me to the subway, but before we said our good byes he says, “My room mate is throwing me a birthday party. Do you want to come?” As much I really didn’t want to say good night, but I was going to Ottawa the next day for a conference and really did need to get home. The funny thing was, he should have been at that party way earlier on that evening. I guess he didn’t want the date to end either. We parted ways and I was of to Ottawa.

The next day sent me a text me to say what a good time he had and we chatted away the screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-12-34-23-pmwhole weekend and agreed to see each other again. When I got off the train three days later, he met me with snacks, because he knew I had been on a train for 5 hours and I might be hungry (Swoon). He then said he had dinner awaiting me.

As I wandered his apartment, I noticed the pictures he had of family, it was really nice. I knew that I liked him, I also knew I had a huge monkey on my back! I had been tormented all weekend and all though our date. I felt so deceptive by keeping my cancerous life from him. Did I wait to tell him, or do I break the news now so he’s not invested. From all I have seen, I need to do it sooner than later. He is too nice to get hurt.

After dinner, as we sat on the couch, I knew it was my opportunity (well it was nice meeting you), I took a deep breath and said, “I have something to tell you.”

“Oh, is everything alright?”

“Yes. But. Ok, how do I….It’s nothing that has to do with you, it actually me. I’m…I’m not an alien, but I am a mutant.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I’m a mutant, I have ALK rearranged stage 4 lung cancer. So I’d understand if you don’t want to see me again.” He took my hand and looked at me and said “My friend’s wife has cancer too, I think you guys would make great friends. I really like you, I’m not going anywhere.”

That’s how he stole my heart.screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-12-37-30-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-11-at-12-31-55-pm

However you spend your Valentine’s Day, I hope you are healthy and happy.

 

AM