Hope

Hope (12/24/2000 - 04/12/2014)

Hope (12/24/2000 – 04/12/2014)

Two weeks ago we put our beloved Husky-German Shepherd dog, Hope, down. I know that most dog owners will make this claim about their dog, but she truly was the greatest dog ever. Even friends with their own wonderful dogs would argue she was the best. She rarely barked, when she did we all looked at her in confusion about the sound coming from her mouth. She never hurt anyone or anything, one time she was being attacked by a pit bull while we were walking and she just stood there, waiting for the other dog to lose interest and go away. Although we’ve known for a few months it was coming, it has taken awhile to process.

I remember the first day I met her. She was my brother’s dog and he was moving back to BC after spending a few years living in New Brunswick. They flew in from NB and my brother had her in a travelling cage, one which would later become her “house” where she got sent to on the rare occasion she was bad, when she was let out after the long flight she warmed up to each member of my family right away. We took her out to our truck and she jumped into the back like a pro, something she could do without even lowering the flatbed gate.

Having wanted a dog for years I was so excited to take her for a walk around our neighbourhood that evening. Being the responsible new dog owner I took baggies with me to clean up anything she wanted to leave along the way, something I was dreading and didn’t know how I would handle when the time came. I quickly learned that she doesn’t do that, she would never poop anywhere aside from her own backyard. Even when we went camping she wouldn’t poop for the first couple of days until it became absolutely necessary. She never did it within view of people. She was a lady after all.

We became walking buddies right away. We’d wander for hours and only once did she poop on our jaunts. I remember it clearly, we both looked at each other wondering what the hell just happened. I’m sure she was embarrassed that she would do something so horrible in public and I was embarrassed because I had nothing to clean it up with. So we walked away like nothing had happened.

It was in an abandoned lot, so I don’t feel too bad.

As she got older our walks became shorter. She’d still get really excited every time anyone said the W word, but her age would show when she got home. In pain and unable to do much for the rest of the day.

Aside from walks, Hope had three loves: chasing the ball, treats and my dad.

She had multiple balls hidden around the backyard, when she wanted to play she’d drop it at your feet and run after it after you threw it. Jumping so high to catch it, we’d worry she was going to land wrong and break her legs. She would follow my dad around as he cut the grass and drop the ball along his path, waiting for him to kick it and then bring it back to him. She was his shadow. And although she was technically my brother’s dog, she became my parents when my brother moved again and couldn’t take her with him. She remained loyal to Dave whenever he’d visit, but she understood my dad was the boss. She loved all of us unconditionally, but she listened to and wanted to please my dad the most.

hope and dad

This photo perfectly represents my dad and Hope. We were camping and he was going to the washroom across from our site, she was walking along behind him but knew she wasn’t allowed to leave the site. So when she got to the edge, she sat there and remained there until she saw him reemerge from the bathroom. At that point jumping to her feet and dancing around in circles, excited about the return of her best friend.

Hope gave everyone unconditional love. She loved everyone and you could see that she knew when something bad was happening or you were sad, because she would always come over to you and try to make it better. One of the things that sticks out in my mind the most about her is when I was at my parent’s house watching Toy Story 3 alone with her. The end, the scene with the toys in the incinerator and they all grab hands, just killed me. I was ugly crying, actually sobbing, and Hope looked at me from over at her blanket, concerned. Then stood up and came over and started to lick my hand, then did my most favourite thing in the world where she would snuggle up under my hand trying to get me to pet her. She was there for me and everyone else when we were sick, sad or just needed a friend. She couldn’t say anything but you knew she knew and understood. And loved you no matter what.

When my dad injured himself last December and was off work after knee surgery for a couple of months she would lick his surgery scars all the time. She would see him limping around and grabbing his knee in pain, would then limp over to him herself (with her bad hips and all) and “kiss” his scars better. Without prompting.

At one point, while camping with my brother, she was sprayed by a skunk. A smell that didn’t wash out for about a month. She earned the name Stinky from me, one that stuck with her because of the skunk incident as well as her bad breathe. This nickname then gave birth to multiple other nicknames: Stinks, Stinkenbaum (what I was told by my translate app was Stinky in German) as well as Hoffen, which was German for Hope (she was half German Shepherd, I figured she understood).

In the past couple of years she was no longer able to jump for the ball, even stairs were hard for her. While younger she’d run up and down the porch stares hundreds of times a day to chase the ball or to run after some squirrels that happened to be close to the yard. During a visit to the vet last fall he made it clear to us that she was older, 97 in human years, and wouldn’t have much longer.

We agonized for months about when we would know. While she couldn’t go for long walks anymore and stairs were a problem, she was still smiling and happy to see everyone. When I’d visit my parents she’d always be like her old self, my mom would remark that she would be hiding it from me and that it was not like this at all when I wasn’t around. It was just like her to look out for others, selflessly. Because of this I always joked that she was the reincarnation of my maternal grandmother. They had similar eyes and personality, Hope came into our lives a few years after she passed.

We decided to go to the vets on a Saturday afternoon so we could all be there, well my parents and I, my brother is not living in town and wouldn’t be able to be back for months. I went out to my parents in the morning and we spent most of the sunny Spring day with Hope. Each of us looking for distractions, but wanting to soak up every moment with her. Finally, an hour before it was time to go to the vet, the three of us sat on the front porch as she sat on the grass. We cried and she looked around the yard. I’m sure she knew what was happening and was just surveying her land.

All day we had been giving her treats and food. She was so well fed that last week. But when we got to the vet’s office and I gave her one last treat, one of her favourites, she just dropped it to the ground. When I tried again she dropped it again. It was like her way of saying she was done.

On April 12, 2014 at 3:37pm my baby girl and one of my best friends was put to rest. She was smiling her trademark smile until the very end. It was important to us to all be there, even though each one of us was in our own personal hell, I’m sure. She was there for us through so much and we needed to be there for her. I stroked her fur and reminder her how we loved her, that she was the best dog ever and irreplaceable. The life left her beautiful blue eyes and I knew she was gone before the vet could even tell us. She passed and we spent another few moments in the room alone with her. I rubbed her soft ears for the last time, gave her a kiss and whispered that I loved her.

I know I will never be able to replace her, but I would want to get another dog in the future. My parents refuse, saying that they would never find one as good as her and they couldn’t go through that again at the end. While I think this is true, because the end was truly painful and one of the worst experiences ever, I wouldn’t want to deny myself the pure and unconditional love that dogs give.

Hope passed away on a Saturday, by Monday I had already done this as a tribute to my girl:

tattoo

It says hope and Love, on my ankle to remember my walking buddy.

Hope smile

It’s a girl

Today I was walking my dog. We recently bought her a new collar and leash, in the past it was blue because it matched her eyes and went with it.

The new collar and leash is pink. Too many people were confusing her with being a boy, so we decided to follow gender stereotypes and get pink accessories.

I also hoped that with pink accessories people would stop walking far away from us when they saw us coming, I guess I thought that they believed that she was a boy and therefore a mean German Shepherd. FYI: this could not be further from the truth, but I digress.

Today I was stopping into the local Safeway and was tying her up to the bike rack, as I’ve done many times before, and a man saw how well behaved she was and we had this conversation:

Him: “Look how good he is, he must be well trained”
Me: “Yes, she is. But she’s done this hundreds of times before”
Him: “What a good boy”

Dude. Do you not hear me say she? Do you not see the pink? She’s not supporting breast cancer awareness month (we don’t do that in these parts).

I pushed it out of my mind until a bit later on our walk and thought it was rather shortsighted of me to assume that my dog should automatically be thought of as a girl because she wears pink. Up until recently she was a girl who wore blue. And I’m not one to care about gender stereotyping, if you’re a boy who wants to wear pink or a dress or whatever then more power to you.

Was I worried the guy thought my dog was gay? Because if Hope was a boy and preferred the boys, then that’s ok with me. In fact, I don’t even know for certain that she’s not a lesbian either. I’ve seen her around other lady dogs.

And then I felt bad for the rest of the walk. Because I’d love my dog or child no matter how they identify with gender or if they were gay or straight. And then I got a little concerned about myself because I was putting way too much thought into the whole thing.

Minnie

We met Minnie during our wait for the cable car in San Francisco. Her owner played the
trumpet as Lauren and I argued over what song he was playing (L said some Irish or
Scottish ditty called Greensleeves, like the good Catholic I am I knew it was What Child
Is This. We were both right). Minnie is a rabbit who hopped around and we enjoyed the
sign her owner displayed….

Click to enlarge

Her owner, Jim (aka @LoveClown), told us of her illness and that he’d need to pay $7,000 in vet fees or put her down.

It was either him or Lauren who commented he could get 7,000 more bunnies for that price… heartless.

I started following @loveclown on Twitter and he announced on August 19th that Minnie passed away.

I just hope he still doesn’t eat her.

RIP Minnie.

Best profile photo ever.


You know people who take really bad profile photo’s for their various social media pages? I think MySpace (sorry, My______) always had the worst, but you’ll find them on Facebook as well. Not so much Twitter (I like to think it’s because we’re a classier crowd over there).

Anyways, the bad picture is usually of some girl making her duck-face and posing for the camera in a shot that has her arm in the picture as it’s so obvious she took this herself, even though she’s trying to make her life look fabulous, but she’s really all made up for her own personal photo-shoot in her bedroom and/or bathroom. Or it’s of some guy taking a photo of themselves in their bathroom mirror, often lifting their shirt to reveal what’s supposed to be abs or making some sort of bicep with his arms.
Jordan Knight and (DJ) Pauly D demonstrate. Seriously, Google Pauly D/iPhone and you’ll  see he has quite the obsession with self photos in the mirror.

Anyone who has ever been guilty of taking one of those photos of themselves needs to bow down to that macaque monkey up there. He took that photo himself. His arm is not in the photo, clear smile, no biceps or abs or duck face to be seen and he is clearly happy and proud of himself. You know why? He stole that camera and took his portrait and now it’s on the internet.

Mission accomplished Mr. Macaque. We applaud you.

If you want to read the story behind his camera thievery and a few more of the shots he took (including an arm in photo shot), you can find the article here.

And here’s one more shot because he’s awesome.

When dogs attack

I’ve always defended pit bulls. I never believed that as a breed, they’re all vicious and willing to attack anything, I thought that it’s their owners teachings or lack of discipline. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, I just didn’t want to put the blame on the animal.

Yesterday, things changed. I  was walking my dog and as we were nearing home a pit bull came running across the street at us. I’ve seen this dog before, she lives in a house with a low chain-link fence that doesn’t do much to keep her in (obviously) and has barked at Hope and I in the past but her owner was always there to reel her in.

This time the owner was nowhere to be found. It ran across the street and started barking at Hope, then started jumping on her. Then she started to bite Hopes neck, like viciously bite her neck. Hope, being her normal calm and passive self just stood in shock before trying to wiggle away. I got the pit bull off of Hope and it started sniffing at her again and then tried to bite Hope’s neck again. At this point I was yelling at the dog and hoping that it’s owner’s would hear and come get her, but no. I kept kicking it away and trying to protect Hope, all the while making sure she wasn’t hurt.

I finally separated the two and started to get away when the dog came running up and biting again. A few cars drove by me and none stopped to help, despite me screaming. I finally started yelling “Help! Help!” when a neighbor came out and grabbed the dog. He seemed pretty friendly with it, he said he had seen it outside a few times before. Thankfully he offered to hold on to the pit bull while we got away.

Just as we neared our street the pit bull must of got away from the guy and again it ran up to us and jumped on Hope, biting at her neck again. I started kicking and yelling at it again, the guy came up again and grabbed the dog. Hope remained calm through the entire attack, only barking and biting at the dog once or twice while trying to get the dog off of her. We eventually got away and I reached for my phone and called 9-1-1.

Luckily Hope has massive amounts of fur, my procrastination of brushing her winter coat out probably saved her. She wasn’t injured, just scared. I was probably more afraid then her.

After it was over her neck was covered in the other dog’s saliva from where she repeatedly bit Hope. I felt horrible subjecting her to a bath afterwards, like she was being punished for the whole thing, but she couldn’t stay bathed in saliva.

I have to commend the RCMP who came quickly after I called them, the 9-1-1 operator gave bad instructions and I felt bad because the RCMP went questioning one of my neighbors who had dogs barking in their house. I don’t know if they caught the dog, but I’m happy that the RCMP and SPCA are now aware if anything happens in the future. I was also impressed that they do call-backs after you call 9-1-1. Even though I spoke to the operator and explained everything and told her we were alright, the Surrey RCMP called me to make sure I was ok. I imagine it’s protocol but it’s good to know that they have that in place in case someone was really hurt and their line was disconnected in an attack.

How could something attack this pacifist?

Here’s what else I learned,  you know the whole “mama bear” instinct that people are always talking about (forgive the Sarah Palin reference)? That we’ll put ourselves in harms way to protect those we love, particularly our children (Hope is my child, don’t laugh, I love her more than anything), I get it. Without thinking I kept protecting her, although this very pissed off pit bull could’ve come at me. I searched for blood constantly on Hope, because I knew if there was a drop from her I would have killed the pit bull.

I don’t know if all this means that I can put the blame directly on the pit bull. It could still be that the owner doesn’t discipline the dog but I can’t protect the breed anymore. It is a dangerous breed of dog and if the owner isn’t willing to take the time and effort to make sure it’s not going to attack than they shouldn’t have that kind of dog. But whose to know what kind of discipline is needed, or when it’s safe for those dogs to be left alone outside (with a pathetic chain link fence gating it in).

Evil is inherent in all breeds and humans are no different. There comes a point when you have to realize that when vicious attacks are more common by a particular breed, that maybe the breed isn’t safe for ownership by regular people in residential neighborhoods.

Seagull

Not the seagull on seagull I saw

I’d like today to go down in history as the day I saw one seagull standing up on top of another seagull.

While riding the Skytrain home I passed by Central City Mall and saw on the rooftop a seagull just hanging out on another seagull.

It wasn’t a mating thing. It wasn’t sexual. It was just one seagull, standing on another.

It was awesome.

And it made my otherwise boring and somewhat blah day.

Daily Dose of Cute

Having a bad day?

Go to Cute Roulette.

It’s a take on chat roulette, the website that lets you video chat with random people from the moment you log on. I’ve never tried that site but I’ve heard it’s full of lots of pervs and penises.

Cute roulette is not like that. It’s random you tube videos of cute animals, like the one below.

It’s one of the fastest ways to bring a smile to your face.