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

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I’m an adult

Today I was talking to a friend about how I recently finished my probation period at work and now have extended medical.

Like most people, I’ve taken the opportunity to take advantage of everything I can, including some things that I may have neglected during my unemployed (read: broke) period. Namely dental and eye care.

Here’s how I explained how I booked these doctor’s appointments to a friend:

“I made my optometrist appointment for a week and a half from now. I’ll wear my glasses every day until then so any gross stuff lingering on my eyes from my contacts will be gone by then. My dentist appointment is a month away, this way I can start flossing from now until then and fool them into thinking I’m a super-vigilant flosser.”

Please do not question this logic. It makes perfect sense in my brain. And I have proof from my last visit with the dentist that this works.

As for the idea that maybe I should just keep flossing after the visit, past experience tells me that this is not likely to happen.

Lessons I learned this year

– Don’t trust someone who doesn’t have long-term friendships or speaks of a lot of conflict with friends/family. Their track record won’t change for you

– How to write a good resume and cover letter

– Conflict is good. Getting through it makes a friendship stronger

– Blasting Celine Dion while driving in a car full of girls is surprisingly fun

– Listen. There could be a reason for someone’s actions or reactions, you have to be open to hearing that

– Honesty is the best policy

– Try. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried

– When someone 20 + years old tells you they’re “upgrading,” they’re finishing high school

– Proper urinal etiquette

– Speak up

– Network. Network. Network.

– Know how long to stay and when to go

– Know when it’s time to fight. And when it’s time for flight

Be good to one another

Why are women so bitchy to one another?

I had the opportunity last Monday to go to a special screening of Miss Representation care of the company I was working with for my practicum and Young Women in Business in Vancouver. I really enjoyed the documentary, it’s main focus was on how women are misrepresented in media, politics and business. The biggest take away from it was that women are the worst to each other, we judge each other the harshest, tear down each others successes and relish the failures.

I think it’s summed up best with the idea that we should focus less on what a woman is wearing and focus more on what she’s saying.

One of my personal pledges this year has been to focus more on the positives, celebrate people’s successes and try not to  be so critical. I’ve had some success and failures this year, but overall I think it’s proven to be a good learning experience as it should me just how much we focus on bringing others down to make ourselves feel better. This movie just drove the idea home.

To further illustrate the point, I had a horrible experience today that made me realize that us ladies have a far way to go if we’re going to change the way we act and react to each other.

I was in Safeway today and waiting in line for the self check-out. The way they’re set up two of them are kind of to the side and people walking by will automatically walk up to them as they free up instead of queuing like the rest of us. As I was next in line I saw a man leaving and I walked towards the free check-out just as a woman walking by swooped in. I politely called out “excuse me” and she looked at me, then I pointed to the line and told her that there was a wait. I wasn’t sarcastic, nor bitchy,  just informing her. She told me off. Then, when her turn came in line and she came up to the register next to mine as I was picking up my bag to leave, she said something about being there because she actually waited in line.

I walked away without saying anything else. I was dumbfounded. I partially wish I had told her to have a Merry Christmas or have a good day, but in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t because it would’ve been passive aggressive and this left me as the bigger person.

But the whole incident ruined my otherwise good day. There was no need for her to be nasty and I honestly think if I were a man she wouldn’t have been.

So I guess I’m just saying, be kind to one another ladies. There’s no need to bring each other down or be enemies, we should be championing each other.

If you’re interested in seeing Miss Representation, I recommend it. They’re planning on screening it in Vancouver again in the New Year, so keep your eyes open.

Here’s a few interesting articles on the movie and about women:

Miss Representation: Are You a Part of it? (via Huffington Post)
Women are our own worst enemies (via ragan.com)

Random information that I have no time (or energy) to blog about…

->After years of school and jobs that required me to sit in front of a computer all day, I would still go home and I could go on my laptop for things (social networking, email/message a friend, read gossip, search for a job). I’ve finally reached my limit. I stare at my computer all day at work and cannot be bothered to even turn my laptop on when I get home. This may also have something to do with my ‘A’ key falling off and being a complete pain in the ass to get back on.

->That last bullet was not an excuse for not blogging.

->I saw the Ottawa Senators at the Vancouver Pan Pacific last week. Waiting for them by their bus were 3 young girls and about 10 middle aged men… it was odd, to say the least.

->I’m considering starting a rating system for hockey teams. Based on looks a scale of 1 – 10. For starters, Canucks would be 10 (due to the overwhelming amount of good looking guys, plus my hometown bias). Bruins would be a 1, based on their Stanley Cup winning team. Those guys were unpleasant to look at last June, made even worse by ugly beards, at least the Canucks looked ok with facial hair. Based on what I saw at the Pan Pacific, the Senators were about a 7, I tried not to let their Movember ‘staches skew the rating.

->I saw the Winnipeg CFL team checking into the Hyatt. I think they’re the Bluebombers? I don’t care to look this up. By the way, what is a bluebomber anyways?

->I’m not actually stalking sports teams visiting Vancouver. I just happen to see them as I visit the various Starbucks around the city.

More than halfway

I’m almost 30.

30.

Three – oh.

Oddly enough, I’m not that concerned. Yet. I fully expect to be when I’m one or two months out, mostly for what I’ll do for the big day, but not overly concerned with being in my thirties.

There may be a few things I wish I did more of when I was younger (staying out later, gotten a little more drunker), but I feel calm and confident as I get older. I’m not so self obsessed and feel comfortable with who I am. Perhaps it comes from knowing who I am and having an attitude of acceptance and knowing that those who I care about accept me for who I am, and me them.

I don’t feel the need to justify my weekend on Facebook by posting photos of me drinking out of a bottle and acting like a sloppy drunk. Not to say it doesn’t still happen, but I don’t need to advertise or feel like if I don’t have awesome photos to post of my weekend that nothing happened.

Speaking of which, I don’t concern myself with posting a blog or tweet or status update on Friday or Saturday night, fearing people will know I’m at home by myself. Going out with my friends is fun, but sometimes after a long week I just need to stay in and catch up on my sleep. I know I really appreciated it this Friday.

I also recognize that while I might want to stay in on Saturday night too, going out with my friends is much more fun. Commute be damned.

I know who my friends are and what we can expect from each other. I accept their faults and they accept all of mine. We’re there when needed, even at the most inconvenient times.

No more of the petty early 20’s boy craziness. By that I mean we generally accept our friends opinions regarding they guys we date, friends aren’t blinded by love goggles and can tell you when something is up. We also realize how important those people are and we’ve learned not to make the same mistakes we made in our early 20’s when we’d forget our friends because we met some guy only to turn to them when we end up heartbroken. We don’t do that after our mid-twenties, and if someone does, we don’t take them back (so easily?).

Meaning that we respect ourselves. At least I do. I know what I deserve and what to put up with. I know what I want and how to go about getting it.. at least in most regards.

I’m ok with thirty. At least when I’m a little more than 5 months away from it.

Besides, I hear 30 is the new 20.

Traffic jam

I’ve been driving to work this week. It’s enjoyable because I get to be in my own little world and listen to my music loudly while singing (and rapping) along.

Problem is I take Highway #1 to work, it’s the easiest and provided there’s no traffic, the fastest. The thing is, there is never no traffic lately. Even when I’m heading home at night.

All year long they’ve been working on the highway. The whole stretch between Surrey and Vancouver. At the same time. It’s not like they’re doing it section by section, they have a bunch of crews working at the same time for the whole stretch.

My favorite thing is that they like to close down lanes for miles. For no apparent reason. They’ll just stick cones there and everyone deals with two lanes for miles while no crews work on the closed down lanes. Every once and awhile you’ll see a crew working, but it’s most often a section on the side of the road, not the lane.

Then they’ll have random signs telling you about upcoming lane closures that never actually happen. The actual lane closures kinda just come out of the blue and there may be a sign warning you of this 100 metres before the closure, leaving everyone to slam on their breaks and quickly merge.

The signs telling you about the millions of dollars being spent are our tax dollars at work. I’d much prefer if they’d say it like it is…

It’s a ridiculous waste of time done to screw with us. Or more specifically, me.